Monday, April 18, 2011

Can’t Stop Sleeping



I’m always amazed at which issues grab the Public’s attention -- which issues get “hot”. I’m still getting a large amount of calls, emails and comments (both here and on Facebook) about the issue. When you think about the other issues that are out there -- an inexperienced workforce, ERAM, holes in 737s (What? Only Southwest flies 737s?) -- it makes you wonder. But okay, if this is the issue that people want to talk about -- so be it.

There’s only one problem. You can’t do anything about it. You can’t stop sleeping. You can order somebody not to sleep but it doesn’t make anybody less sleepy. The only cure is sleep and that means somebody else has to staff the position. That takes air traffic controllers --that you don’t have. And you don’t have any way of getting them in less than 2-3 years.

Here’s an idea for you. Have Randy Babbitt run across the Potomac to the Aerospace Industries Association of America and tell Marion Blakey he wants the FAA’s workforce back.

”During Congressional testimony February 11, 2009, NATCA President Pat Forrey testified that 3,356 controllers left the active work force in the two years after the work rules were imposed by Blakey, and "Since the implementation of the imposed work rules, the FAA lost more than 46,000 years of air traffic control experience through retirements alone. Nearly one third (27 percent) of air traffic controllers in the FAA have less than five years experience, and 40 air traffic control facilities have more than half of its workforce composed of individuals with less than five years experience."”

Hey, we tried to tell you.

Don Brown
April 18, 2011

1 comment:

fsu2rule said...

I am a controller from Mississippi. There is a huge story behind the controller fatigue issue but no media seems interested in the truth.I have been a controller for 33 years and will soon retire. The schedules that are being discussed and criticized have been in place for 30 years. To say controllers desire this is a stretch. The compressed schedule basically does this: Your work week is 3,2,10,8,6. This is a typical non mid schedule. Your first day back starts at 3 and your last day you get off at 2. Still 2 days off. Now, here are the facts. In 2006 the FAA cut controller pay 30% and froze that pay for 4 years. The already aging workforce (56 mandatory retirement) began retiring in record numbers. The contract was fixed last year in order to put a finger in the dam. Still less pay than 2006. The union was working with the FAA about the fatigue problem, but both sides had a problem. To fix the staffing crisis controllers began having to work 10 hour days and 6 day work weeks. In order to reverse the schedule to implement the NTSB recommendations in would make it illegal for a controller to work overtime because it would put them past their maximum 6 days of work in a row. So, the 6 day work week is needed to staff facilities with MINIMUM coverage. The FAA doesn’t want to admit they have a staffing crisis and the union doesn’t want to make Obama and Lahood look bad. At my facility we have 12 certified controllers and 10 trainees with 3 more by August. We should have 23 certified controllers. It takes 2 to 3 years to be certified to work alone. No media has come close to getting this story right. One Fox news commentator wondered if this being a stressful job was a myth and maybe we are really bored. Go to the FAA school then enter training and let me know if you think we are bored. That is absurd. If there isn’t a staffing problem then why are we working 6 day work weeks and 10 hour days? Why are they not implementing the number one recommendation of reversing the schedule? They can’t make it work. 9 hours will make 0 difference.Now Obama's wife's plane gets too close to another. The FAA wants us to work more airplanes(combined sectors, no data, TRACONS combined to tower cabs)with less controllers.