FAA Bizarro World Follow-up

As a follow-up to my FAA rant from February 25th my first day back at work after my weekend the supervisor I wrote about didn’t look at me or speak to me all night.

I wrote it off to him simply being crabby and having a bad day.  However, I did discover from a controller coming in on the mid-shift (the overnight shift) that other controllers in the area had already been talking about the incident.

I was a bit surprised, but word does tend to travel quickly amongst the controllers when something like that happens.  Because of the rotating shifts we work, we don’t often see controllers working certain days off, but there is a bit of overlap on …

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FAA and Another Big Stick

I’ve kind of fallen behind on my blogging again even though I did/do have some things I wanted to write about.

I don’t normally blog about work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an air traffic controller; there are a lot of web sites that do that full time.

But a day ago something happened at work that I need to get off my chest.  (This is a long one, so you might want to grab a drink now before you settle in and start reading…)

I had a disagreement with my supervisor at work over something that happened on Monday.  My supervisor is also the training supervisor, and he was sitting plugged in for an on-the-job-training (OJT) session …

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Day Tripping and FAA Amateur Hour

I don’t normally go for cute kid videos, but this one includes some post-dentist  “day-tripper” action that I enjoyed a lot.

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On a personal note it was reiterated again what a bunch of amateurs work in FAA administration/information technology.

That fact is highlighted by videos such as this and this.

I (as well as many of my air traffic colleagues) admittedly have a great deal of intolerance for incompetence in FAA management and administration as air traffic controllers get zero leeway to make mistakes in their jobs.

And if air traffic controllers make mistakes while working the situation is scrutinized in great detail afterwards (Monday morning quarterbacking by office people or to quote a friend, “Use …

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FAA Amateur Hour

It was recently reiterated again what a bunch of amateurs work in FAA administration/information technology.

That fact is highlighted by videos such as this and this.

I (as well as many of my air traffic colleagues) admittedly have a great deal of intolerance for incompetence in FAA management and administration as air traffic controllers get zero leeway to make mistakes in their jobs.

And if air traffic controllers make mistakes while working the situation is scrutinized in great detail afterwards (Monday morning quarterbacking by office people or to quote a friend, “Use your best judgment; you’ll be second-guessed later), whereas other people in the same agency are allowed to routinely make grievous errors with little or no consequence.  How …

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Merry Christmas to Me From Uncle Sammy

It’s nice to know I’m a valued member of the organization I work for…

It’s another Christmas where almost every other government employee (and all the managers where I work) got a raise except for me and many of my air traffic controller coworkers (except for the newly hired/lower paid “B” scale air traffic controllers whose base pay was cut dramatically from the older “A” scale).

One of them wrote this blog entry that summarizes the situation nicely.

Allegedly the pay freezes and “B” scale for new hires were needed to fund NextGen, the name given to a pie in the sky system to overhaul the entire air traffic system; parts of which haven’t even been specifically defined yet.…

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Magical Mystical NextGen and ADS-B

FAA air traffic controllers been seeing all sorts of videos at work about the FAA’s much touted NextGen air traffic system and ADS-B, apparently to get air traffic controllers excited about the new technology.

We’re beginning our training for ERAM, which is a computer system replacement that will have the capability to use all the whiz-bang features of NextGen, should they ever come to fruition.  The schedule for ERAM however has already slipped due to development delays.

I finally starting looking into the details of ADS-B, a cornerstone of NextGen.  ADS-B is designed to replace radar.  Radar is the primary system air traffic controllers use to determine aircraft position (and keep the aircraft separated by the required distances).…

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FAA Medical Mayhem

I had been putting off going to the doctor to talk to him about a chronic, recurring medical problem I have had off and on for years now.  I finally made an appointment on Friday, because I also had picked up an earache that didn’t seem to be getting better.  So I decided to get both problems addressed at the same time.

The doctor told me I had some fluid buildup in my ear, for which he prescribed an antibiotic.  For the other problem he gave me a prescription for a drug very similar to what I had taken years ago for the same problem.

When I tried to get the prescription for the latter filled, I found that my …

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The Shame of It All…

I’ve been employed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for just shy of 20 years.  I’ve been a fully certified air traffic controller for over 17 years.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the FAA (as well as the second year air traffic controllers have been working without a contract).

And I have never been as embarrassed of the agency I work for as I am as I write this…

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And if you think that was bad, I couldn’t watch the entire video below either.  The speaker at the beginning is Ventris Gibson, a bigwig at FAA Headquarters in Washington.  According to her bio:

Ventris C. Gibson was appointed as the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Assistant Administrator for

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Hey, It’s Official: I’m a (Privileged) Air Traffic Controller!

I’ve been employed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for over 19 years.

It takes several years of training to become an air traffic controller. The training includes classroom, simulation and on the job training.

When I finished all my training back in 1991 they gave me a pink cardstock card (FAA Form 7220-1; every FAA form has a number and the FAA has LOTS of forms!) with my facility rating. Tower controllers called these pink cards “cab cards”.

To center controllers like me, the cards really didn’t mean much, and we didn’t use them for anything. Like a lot of my co-workers, I carried mine around along with my identification badge for years. Since it was only made out …

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My Brush With a News Item

I talked to the Airbus Industries A380 (actually a A388 apparently) today while at work as an air traffic controller.

We don’t normally generate paper flight progress strips on aircraft anymore at high altitudes since URET was installed at the air traffic control centers, but I got one as a souvenir.

(Note the high quality of the printout as well – the horizontal breaks in the printing are really there! It’s thermal paper by the way.)

Air traffic controllers are required to call the aircraft “Super” in all radio communications, to differentiate it because the wake turbulence vortices it generates are even greater than aircraft in the “heavy” category, such as the Boeing B747. Not surprisingly FAA controllers are still …

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