Sunday, April 06, 2008

Management: Fair Warning

Oh, the never-ending joys of retirement. I know you might not have a lot of time to watch Chairman James Oberstar’s hearings on FAA oversight but I do. I’ve spent much of today watching them -- even after I spent much of the previous two days on the road listening to them. (Pity my long-suffering wife.)

I don’t spend much time talking to FAA management on my blog. And I do my best not to taunt them. I don’t suppose I am able to hide my dislike of the bad managers...but I try not to taunt them. So please, don’t take this as taunting. Take it as a warning. A fair warning.

I expect the links on the internet to change so I am providing instructions on how to find a particular clip I’ve been watching on CSPAN. Currently, the clips are on the front page. Go to CSPAN and look for the “Recent Programs” section. Look for ”House Transportation & Infrastructure Cmte. Hearing on FAA Oversight - Panels 3 & 4 (April 3, 2008) “ and click on it. Click on the “Watch” button beside “Panels 3 & 4”. It’s a Real Audio file and that application should start up. (You can get the program for free at if you don’t already have it installed.) You can (of course) watch the whole thing if you have plenty of time. But for those with limited time I suggest fast-fowarding to 2 hour 14 minute mark, where Congressman DeFazio starts another round of questions.

If you’re an FAA manager, you need to ask yourself a question. Do these guys sound like they’re kidding around ? When Chairman Oberstar talks about all this going “to the top” and says that the only “salvation” the previous panel full of managers will have is their “faulty memory” -- because they were testifying under oath -- do you think he’s kidding ? When Congressman DeFazio mentions the “little jail” they used to have at the Capitol, I think he actually was kidding. But only about using the jail at the Capitol. I think he’s seriously contemplating a different jail.

This week, this month or maybe this year, the hearings are about FAA aircraft inspectors. I feel certain that sometime soon this Committee’s attention will turn to the air traffic control side of the FAA’s house. When it does, I can guarantee you that air traffic controllers will be standing in line for an opportunity to testify -- under oath -- in one of these hearings. I can also guarantee you that some of us have been taking notes and keeping documentation.

Upper-FAA management threw their supervisor -- Doug Gawadzinski -- to the wolves. I hope there isn’t any doubt in any FAA manager’s mind that the same can’t happen to them when the spotlight starts falling on the Air Traffic side of the FAA.

Oversight of the FAA has returned to Washington. It is long overdue. Fair warning.

Don Brown
April 6, 2008

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