Let’s Be Clear, Shall We?

Recently the incident on October 21st where the Northwest Flight 188 overflew its destination airport (Minneapolis) while its flight crew were apparently using their laptop computers was in the news again.

Shortly after the incident the FAA was faulted for failing to notify the military in a timely manner about the problem with the flight so military fighter jets never got airborne to intercept the plane.  (My emphasis)

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday evening, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said air-traffic controllers “should have notified [the military] more quickly that the plane was not responding.” Local controllers apparently became so focused on trying to re-establish contact that they failed to alert higher-level FAA managers about the problem

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Another Glimpse into the FAA “Safety Culture”

I just had another long talk with my FAA supervisor that once again highlighted how little the FAA is committed to safety and improving the air traffic system.

We started talking about some relatively new procedures that have resulted in a lot of confusion and resulting operational errors and deviations (air traffic system errors).  An operational error is when two or more airplanes get too close, and a deviation is when an aircraft enters another controller’s protected airspace illegally.

The air traffic system has a lot of potential for human error (it’s a fact that there are human beings in the system making critical decisions and human beings make mistakes).  However, the redundancy built into the system (usually) is intended …

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