The FAA is updating training and procedures for handling the
loss of two-way communication with aircraft and how other agencies
are notified, after a detailed review of air traffic contact with
Northwest Airlines Flight 188 on October 21, 2009.
The FAA also has taken steps to ensure more accurate preliminary
information about air traffic events can be provided to top
officials more quickly.
"We work closely with other aviation partners every day to make
sure we all have a common understanding of what's happening in the
sky," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Sharing information
quickly is essential, and we're making improvements to ensure all
of our employees understand what to do and when to do it."
The air traffic review determined that the FAA notified other
agencies about the loss of radio contact with Northwest Flight 188
one hour and nine minutes after the last communication with the
pilots. Eight minutes after the FAA informed other agencies via the
Domestic Events Network teleconference line, air traffic
controllers reestablished contact with the Northwest pilots.
The FAA expects to review changes in training and procedures by
the end of January 2010 and to improve the incident notification
process by the end of this month. The improvements are expected
Ensure that air traffic controllers have the knowledge, skills
and tools necessary to know which aircraft are in communications
with air traffic control and can readily identify when
communications have been interrupted.
Ensure that coordination with other agencies about "no radio"
events and other aviation security events is handled effectively
Ensure more accurate preliminary investigations and more timely
dissemination of information internally.