NATCA Wants Weather Radios Back In Towers

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The FAA should lift its ban on weather radios in air traffic control towers, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said on Tuesday. According to the controllers union, the radios provide warnings about severe weather and tornadoes that are not available otherwise. The radios were banned under new work rules imposed on the union when their last contract expired. "It's really just amazing to me that we have to even continue to ask this from an agency that says it is committed to aviation safety. It's such a no-brainer," NATCA President Patrick Forrey said in a news release. "Don't believe it when the FAA tells you we have every possible weather tool at our fingertips. There is no tool available to tower controllers that can detect a tornado within a thunderstorm. We must have either a weather radio or access to the Emergency Alert System to get the latest weather bulletins." NATCA cited several incidents when tornadoes have strayed close to airports but controllers had no way of knowing their location. An FAA representative told the Orlando Sentinel the radios aren't necessary, and controllers can keep one in the break room if they want to.