Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wasting Talent

When I was still writing for AVweb I had an article published about the wealth of talents possessed by air traffic controllers. That talent never ceases to amaze me. My point was that these individuals have been incredibly successful in a wide range of fields. This is most evident in NATCA’s success. And they’re doing it all for free -- as volunteers. Imagine what they could do for the FAA (and the taxpayers) if the FAA would stop making enemies of them and started making motivated employees. All it would really take is to get out of the way and let them work.

Nothing makes this point better than a few videos created by Paul Williams. Paul is an air traffic controller at Washington Center (Facility ID -- ZDC.) ZDC is one of the toughest facilities in the country (which makes it one of the toughest in the world.) It’s not enough that Paul can handle that. In his spare time he runs a web site and creates videos. Take a look at this one.

America’s Air Traffic Controllers

Pretty impressive huh ? That is what Paul does just for fun.

Now, take that creative energy -- that sense of pride that you can just feel in his work -- and let the FAA mess it up. This is what you get.

FAA: Runway Incursions

Quite a difference, eh ?

In a nutshell, that is what is going on in the FAA today. The house of the FAA is crumbling all around us and this Administration is busy slapping a new coat of paint on it. It’s more than just mere neglect. Even as they’re busy painting the outside -- on the inside -- they’re busy with hammer and chisel, breaking up the very foundation of the greatest air traffic system the world has ever known.

Selling off the FSS stations is merely the most obvious sign of taking the system apart, piece by piece. And as for that new coat of paint, they’ve just changed the way they count Operational Errors. Look for that statistic to improve too, in the near future. It won’t be any safer but it’ll look better.

Don Brown
July 3, 2007

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