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Astronauts Speak Out Against ATC Privatization
September 5, 2017 — Four retired astronauts have joined the thousands of aviators who are speaking out against the proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system, as shown in a new video released by the International Council of Air Shows.
The group – which includes Gemini and Apollo mission commanders Jim Lovell and Thomas Stafford, as well as Space Shuttle flight commanders Robert “Hoot” Gibson and Ken Cockrell – have more than a combined 3,000 hours in space flight and tens of thousands of hours piloting aircraft ranging from general aviation airplanes to military jets.
“We know better than most that our national airspace is precious and our freedom to use it now hangs by a thread,” said Gen. Stafford, a veteran of the Gemini 6 and Gemini 9 missions, and commander of the Apollo 10 mission in 1969.
Each astronaut also urged aviators to speak out against H.R. 2997, the House legislation that includes language that would move air traffic services from FAA control to a corporation controlled by airline and commercial aviation interests that would have no oversight by the FAA or Congress. They join more than 140 general aviation organizations that oppose privatization, with specific reasons and ramifications listed at www.ATCNotForSale.com. That website also include a direct method to contact individual legislators to express opposition to the measure.