"We Simply Cannot Afford To Wait... For the FAA To Act"
Ben Chandler introduced a bill Wednesday that calls for an
independent review of the Federal Aviation Administration's
aviation safety-related research programs -- in particular, those
programs related to air traffic control and runway safety.
The FAA Aviation Safety Research Assessment Act of 2007 was
introduced in response to aviation safety issues that have been
emphasized recently, by an apparent increase in the number of
reported aircraft near-collisions in the past month. Just this
week, New York City reported five in-flight near-collisions in May,
and the San Francisco International Airport reported a
near-collision on its runway the same month, as ANN reported.
"The Comair crash last year made it clear that improved safety
measures for air traffic controllers and pilots are desperately
needed in airports throughout the United States," Chandler told the
Louisville Courier-Journal. "Considering the recent report, it is
even more crucial that we act immediately to implement these much
needed safety improvements."
While the FAA promised to adopt new rules that would make
technology used to prevent runway accidents more affordable for
airlines, they are still lagging behind on the implementation of
these rules. This technology, if made available, could decrease the
number of near-accidents that occur each year. Thirty-one "serious
close calls" were reported in 2006.
"It is unacceptable that so many incursions are still taking
place, even after the Comair crash at our own Blue Grass Airport,"
said Chandler. "We must do all we can to ensure that proper safety
measures are implemented as soon as possible so that we can prevent
similar tragedies from happening again."
Currently, the FAA is conducting research that could prevent
accidents, such as the impact of controller workloads, avoiding
runway incursions, and other human factors. The bill calls for an
assessment of these aviation safety-related research programs to
ensure they are operating effectively and in a timely manner.
The independent assessment would be made by a committee of the
National Academies' National Research Council.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a large
number of their recommendations to the FAA remain in "unacceptable
action" status, including preventing runway incursions, improving
audio and data recorders, requiring video recorders on aircraft,
reducing accidents caused by human fatigue, and improving crew
resource management for air taxi operations.
"We simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the FAA to act.
The FAA must be held accountable on their promises to bring added
safety measures and equipment to airports across the nation,"