Saturday, January 03, 2009

Well Done, Peter



From today's headlines:

FAA reaches settlement with whistle-blower

"The FAA agreed Dec. 4 to return Peter Nesbitt to air traffic control duties and transfer him to Austin, Texas, at the same salary, and to pay his relocation and legal expenses, said Leslie Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints."

Some of you may recognize Peter's name from my blog. If you would like to refresh your memory, you can start here. In short, Peter cared enough to bring a safety problem to the FAA's attention. He cared enough to keep pushing until the FAA got tired of him and tried to silence him. When that didn't stop him, the FAA retaliated. That didn't work either.

Having been in Peter's shoes, I can testify to the emotional and physical toll these efforts take on an individual. It is not an easy thing to stand up to your boss, the FAA and the U.S government. No one makes the decision to put their career on the line lightly. I was somewhat more protected than Peter due to my public exposure as a columnist on AVweb. And the Bush/Blakey/Sturgell Administration was nastier than any Administration I ever had to fight.

"FAA eventually agreed to new procedures at Memphis that space aircraft farther apart."

That last sentence in the article tells you what you need to know. Peter was right. The FAA was wrong. And if you are John Q. Public, you owe one of your public servants a great, big "thank you".

Don Brown
January 3, 2009

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