While asking the question in chat How do we get controllers on the site? @egid suggested there may be FAA or union restrictions on participating in Q&A. That would be sad since pilots and controllers communicating with each other improves safety and efficiency... but certainly doesn't mean it isn't true.

Does anyone know of specific restrictions placed on controllers by the FAA or NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association) which would prevent them from answering questions on this site?

I realize this blurs the line slightly between the main site and meta, but I'm asking about legal reasons, not speculation about why we haven't attracted any controllers yet (that I'm aware of).


3 Answers 3


I am not aware of any legal limitation for air trafic controllers to speak out on a public website, but there could be one.

StuckMic.com is however an ATC forum in which FAA ATCo's seem to participate actively. This leads me to believe that they are allowed to speak out on a public website. There are very likely restrictions on what they can share.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ StuckMic.com requires a logged in account to view threads, so not completely public. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Chen
    Jan 26, 2014 at 0:51

The full FAA regulations covering controllers can be found at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/ATC.pdf.

Looking through the table of contents (page 25 onwards), I couldn't find anything related.

I also searched the document for the phrases: forum, internet, online, discuss - nothing relevant was found.

Furthermore, the ATCA (Air Traffic Control Association) has been running annual conferences on air traffic control for 58 years, where they obviously discuss ATC; and they also have members of the FAA on the committee.

I've searched Google too, and can't find anything relevant.

  • $\begingroup$ The 7110.65 covers ATC procedures. Social media posting, etc, is covered under various other policies and laws, such as the FAA's Human Resource Policy Manual, the NATCA/FAA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Hatch Act, etc. You would not expect to find anything regarding social media in the 7110.65 in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Feb 9, 2021 at 0:04

In conventional forums (i.e. in person), the FAA even organizes interactions with controllers. Here is an example of a Pilot-Controller forum for Livermore Airport, in Northern California, organised by the FAASTeam team.


A search for the term "controller" indicates that such interactions are common: https://www.faasafety.gov/SPANS/events/EventList.aspx

I have seen similar presentations involving controllers which are web-based, and which are followed by Q&A sessions with participants.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I've been to those sorts of sessions before. I don't think they directly translate to interacting on web forums, but ultimately I think the answer is probably that they can participate, but that not many are participating here. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2016 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen controllers on web forums, but never in an official capacity. They've always identified with something like "I am a controller, and from my work experience XYZ..." $\endgroup$
    – CJBS
    Apr 12, 2016 at 18:54

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