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Chet Kisling papers

Identifier: L2005-17

Scope and Content of the Papers

Printed material, primarily clippings, as well as correspondence, notes, and legal documents, make up the papers of air traffic controller and PATCO member Chet Kisling. The papers document the period of the PATCO strike as well as Kisling's pursuit of employment as an air traffic controller over the following years. The bulk of the papers consist of a collection of newspaper clippings documenting the strike. Legal documents, correspondence, and notes relate to the case heard in Atlanta by the Merit Systems Protection Board, Former Air Traffic Controllers: Tommy Barbee, et al. v. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Notes and correspondence by Chet and Patsy Kisling document their efforts to secure assistance from their Congressional representatives, particularly Representative Newt Gingrich. Correspondence and newsletters from PATCO's national office, as well as the Atlanta-based Local 101 and the PATCO South regional office, make up a small part of the papers. Newsletters from the organization PATCO Lives, 1984-1991, document the effort of some fired air traffic controllers to pursue their cause. A small amount of printed material shows the interest of other unions and attorneys in the PATCO action.


  • Creation: 1978-1996
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1981 - 1982


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

Biographical Note

Chester William (Chet) Kisling was born in 1943 in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated Hapeville (Georgia) High School and attended Massey Business College and Georgia State University. Kisling began his career as an air traffic controller in 1968. Working at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton, Georgia, he reached the rank of Air Traffic Control Specialist. Kisling joined the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) in 1973 but was not an active member of the union. When PATCO went on strike against the Federal Aviation Administration in 1981 in violation of federal law, Kisling did not actively strike but supported his fellow controllers by his absence from work. President Ronald Reagan ordered that the more than 11,000 striking and absent controllers be fired and prohibited from being hired in any Federal position. Kisling participated with six colleagues as an appellant in a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board hearing in 1982 (Tommy Barbee, et al. v. Federal Aviation Administration) and closely followed efforts in 1986 to make the fired controllers eligible for rehiring, which finally occurred in 1993.

Chet Kisling and his wife, Patricia (Patsy), had two sons. They lived in Jonesboro, Georgia, when he worked at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center.


0.83 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Chet Kisling (born 1943) worked as an air traffic controller at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton, Georgia. A member of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), he was fired after the organization's 1981 strike, along with 11,000 other U.S. controllers. The bulk of his papers consist of clippings, documentation of the lawsuit he was party to regarding his dismissal, and correspondence.


The papers were arranged into subject files during processing.


Chet Kisling donated his papers to Phillip LaPorte, Labor Studies Program, Georgia State University.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Phillip LaPorte, August 31, 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by William Hardesty at the file level, May 2006. Organized into subject files during processing.

Chet Kisling:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
May 24, 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)