Aramis Penton has worked as a flight instructor and pilot for close to 50 years. He says he relies heavily on air traffic controllers every time he takes flight.
"I feel pretty good when I'm flying up there and I have them watching me and helping me to watch the air," said Penton.
But right now controllers are watching a lot more than that: their future.
Many of them are worried the Federal Aviation Administration will impose a contract that'll cut wages giving controllers little incentive to keep working.
"If the FAA imposes the contract on us, which are very large wage cuts, increased working hours, reduced benefits, there's gonna be a massive wave of retirement," said Air Traffic Controller Mark Hall.
The FAA predicts a wave of retirements more than 20 years after President Reagan fired their predecessors for staging an illegal strike.
The FAA says controllers are already compensate, and instead of raises, government dollars could be better spent on things such as technology.
Safety inspectors are saying, "Taxpayers need to ask where they want their hard-earned tax dollars to go, a safer, more advanced system ensuring their safety or toward another union contract that hides costs and jeopardizes a next generation air traffic system.”
With contract talks between the FAA and the air traffic controllers association going no where, the dispute has been turned over to congress which has 60 days to settle the dispute.