Date of Award

Fall 10-1994

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aeronautical Science


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Marvin L. Smith

Committee Member

Donald Hunt

Committee Member

William Mason


The purpose of this study was to assess the opinions, beliefs, and perspectives of former air traffic controllers who were terminated from employment with the Federal Aviation Administration for participating in the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike of 1981. The study examines the perceptions of the former controllers to determine their feelings toward the justification for going on strike over 13 years ago. This is relevant in light of recent events including the lifting of the ban against rehiring PATCO controllers by the Clinton Administration.

The data collected for this study were obtained with an opinionnaire mailed via a newsletter to former controllers who were members of the PATCO union. It was expected that a majority of the controllers would feel their actions of 1981 were justified. This feeling, however, would be mitigated by the fact that the controllers were terminated for their actions and sacrificed their careers with the decision to strike.