Fri, Apr 25, 2008
New FAA Trend Monitors Overall Performance, Not Individual
The FAA has seen what critics term a 'philosophical' shift in
its maintenance of the nation's air trafrfic control
infrastructure. Instead of focusing attention on 45,000 individual
pieces of air traffic control equipment, the new trend is to
evaluate overall system performance.
The Associated Press reports that shift has its fans, but also
FAA officials say the change is aimed at making agency
inspectors more efficient, and is made possible by the fact that
modern radar and other communications equipment is more
Sid McGuirk is a former air traffic controller and FAA manager
who now serves as coordinator of the air traffic management program
at Embry-Riddle. He says the new FAA policy makes sense to save
taxpayers money and, "I see no degradation of safety with this
Among those on the other side of the argument is Tom Brantley,
president of Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the union
that represents the technicians and inspectors who work for the
FAA. He says problems are often fixed during planned outages after
being caught during preventative checks, checks the FAA wants to
"Down the road, this will lead to major (flight) disruptions,"
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed a
grievance against the FAA earlier this month for failing to brief,
and then bargain, with its members over the changes. The complaint
asks that the FAA immediately stop implementing the new policy.
A NATCA spokesman acknowledged to the AP, however, "the only way
they will stop is with public outcry or congressional action."
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