Monday, April 25, 2011

N201HF Crash 4-25-11

I’m really short of time today so just one thought before I start the day. On the first page of the preliminary NTSB accident report on N201HF, this line jumped out at me.

”According to information provided by representatives from Lockheed Martin (LM) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),...”

I’m not used to seeing Lockheed’s name in these reports. But Lockheed took over the Flight Service Stations from the FAA so they are giving weather briefings and filing flight plans. The first thought that came to mind is, do Lockheed employees have the same personnel rules that public employees have? I seriously doubt it. When an FAA staffer makes a tape (I guess it’s a CD now) of the conversations between briefers, controllers and pilots they place their name on the audio with words to the effect of, “I certify that this is a true and accurate recording of the events that took place on...”

Would those words, uttered by a corporate contractor, carry the same weight for you?

There are all sorts of legal niceties I can think of. I just wonder how they are all handled? What are the requirements placed on Lockheed for recording briefings? Is it a requirement to have dual, state-of-the-art recorders or can a single, broken-down-whatever satisfy the requirements of the contract? If a Lockheed employee has to testify in court, who pays for that? The U.S. Government steps in to represent and take responsibility for its employees. How does that work for Lockheed?

I’m sure the folks in charge of this contract thought all this through before they contracted out FSS to Lockheed. I’m just wondering how well they thought it out.

Don Brown
April 25, 2011

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