Botched and Botched Again

Last Wednesday evening a Northwest Airbus 320 jet airliner from San Diego to Minneapolis (Flight NWA188) went for over an hour without talking to air traffic controllers (NORDO) and subsequently overflew its destination by 150 miles before its pilots became aware.

(This is the second big newsworthy incident for Northwest airlines: in 1990 a Northwest crew flew a B727 jet carrying 91 passengers from Fargo to Minneapolis while intoxicated.)

Initial reports said that the flight was out of radio contact for over 75 minutes, but the FAA letters revoking both pilots’ licenses said that they had been out of contact for 91 minutes.

For a few days immediately afterwards it was a mystery as to what the …

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FAA Software Testing and its New Safety Culture

The most frustrating thing about working for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an air traffic controller is dealing with the organization itself and its nonsensical attitude and policies.

We just had another team meeting at work.  Team meetings are held occasionally by the supervisor with his working crews theoretically to discuss items of import but they usually tend to digress into rant sessions from frustrated air traffic controllers (whose concerns are routinely ignored).

FAA management is forcing controllers to watch their “Leading Edge” series of videos (which controllers view as wasted propaganda), wherein FAA managers talk about how great the latest “new” FAA programs are and how they’re going to change the organization for the better.

The only problem …

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