- Published: September 09, 2022
On a sunlit Tuesday morning 21 years ago, the men and women of PASS were on the job as usual, working for the American public. What transpired that day changed our nation and the aviation industry forever. In the days, weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) employees represented by PASS went above and beyond their usual selfless dedication to their work.
PASS National President Dave Spero was at work in Oklahoma on 9/11. “I witnessed the remarkable professionalism of my co-workers and air traffic controllers to secure facilities and bring aircraft in safely,” he said.
Over 4,000 planes were grounded and those in the air directed to the closest airport. PASS members and bargaining unit employees staffed phones to address pilot, mechanic and public concerns and monitored airports and facilities 24 hours a day, coordinating mandates from the White House, Department of Transportation and the FAA. At the request of DoD, these dedicated public servants staffed long-range radars throughout the country and worked with the Air Force to provide additional radar surveillance, data and voice communication capability to the military.
Aviation safety inspectors worked with the FBI to review procedures for how foreign nationals gain access to U.S. aircraft, receive pilot training and perform maintenance on U.S. aircraft. Records examiners performed quick and extensive reviews of pilot certificates, resulting in the identification of the terrorists responsible for the attacks.
“In what was an unprecedented mobilization effort, PASS members stepped up to support the defense of their country and safety of the National Airspace System,” said President Spero. “They are prepared every day to do their jobs and to respond to any national emergency.”
As we pause to remember the 3,000 people killed, and more than 6,000 injured that day, PASS vows to their families to never forget the sacrifices made that day and to honor those who lost their lives. The union’s commitment to aviation safety will never waver.