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FAA romance led to $970 million contract award, 3,300-percent increase in air traffic control errors

A recent spike in air traffic control errors is likely attributable to a change in the Federal Aviation Administration’s chosen contractor for training air traffic controllers, The Daily Caller has learned. That change was likely the result of an government contracting shuffle orchestrated by an FAA official and her lover — a former FAA official who worked for Raytheon at the time the contract was awarded. Raytheon won the contract, worth nearly $1 billion ( さらに...

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I like the old saying, "The FAA is not happy until we are not happy".
dmanuel 0
As serious as this is, it is not the entire story. The substantial training actually takes place at the operational facility. While it is very important that the trainee reports with a solid background in ATC, it is the operational controllers who are tasked with taking this raw material and molding it into professional controller. It appears that a few facilities may have adopted the old computer term ‘garbage in – garbage out’. The FAA should have culled out the chaff and only provided these facilities with the cream of the crop. No matter how great the trainers are, they cannot make lemonade out of manure. Some facilities may have thrown in the towel, in an effort to fill empty slots and allowed mediocre personal to masquerade as controllers. I am sure any of you, who fly in the system as often as I do, have happened upon some of them. As depressing as it is to know my life and those of my passengers are in their hands, I am buoyed by the other end of the spectrum. By that, I am referring to those facilities that refuse to compromise their reputation by allowing substandard CPC’s (the official internal term for controllers) to staff a position. I won’t speak about the bad facilities (we know who they are) but will rejoice in the professionalism still afforded by the folks at places like PIT, HTS, PNS, CKB, JST and dozens more. Sure there are problems, but the class is not half empty, it was just designed for the wrong volume.
What is your standard of professionalism to proclaim that only several dozen facilities have professional CPCs? It doesn't matter if you've flown in the system everyday and all over the country for decades, you still have only worked with a fraction of the workforce. The truth is, every facility has controllers who aren't as proficient as their colleagues, but that doesn't make them substandard or dangerous. To state that you think a facility has a 'reputation' to protect is equally absurd as stating facilities are throwing in the towel on training just to fill slots. Plain and simple, if a trainee or CPC cannot handle it 'professionally,' they are not working traffic. The workload at PIT, HTS, CKB etc. is nothing. You want to see professional CPCs, head to Socal or NY approach where freqs. are active 58 seconds out of a minute. The U.S.A. provides you with the safest airspace in the world.
ATCguy1 0
So, in order to be a 'professional' controller one must work at a level 12 or higher facility? I've worked at busy facilities and agree that a high workload can make someone a better controller. However, I've also been to others, such as a level 7 or 8, where the volume of traffic is lower, but the complexity can be much higher. I feel that each facility, whether it be tower or radar, busy or slow, can produce quality CPC's.

5342G 0
Unless things have changed the FAA does not control any airspace above FL600, (60,000ft).
Where did the information in the article get the idea that enroute centers control goes
up to 100,000 feet.
If this fact is wrong how correctis some of the other information in the article?
Casey Duke 0
Is this really how industry and government work together? Wow. First LightSquared, now this. Well point me to someone important in DC in need of a good bangin so I can pave my drvieway with gold.
preacher1 0
Old Buddy, it sure does stink. What is sad is that there was not enough oversight to prevent that type of thing, which wouldn't be looked at twice in private industry. Whether it's the most legit thing in the world or not, it sure as hell has a bad smell. Looking at the comments here, it appears there will be varying opinions for a long time to come. Sad part of it is that just everybody up there seems to be like a hog feeding at a trough and everybody trying to get their share and to hell with the rest. Gives new meaning to the old saying "ROOT HOG OR DIE"
racinron 0
Boy, am I glad I retired from ATC 11 years ago. I guess I'll have to really keep my ears open when I am in the cockpit now more than ever. There are ATC schools where students gain actual experience and CTO's before graduation. I would think the FAA would be grabbing up these people as soon as they graduate.
dmanuel 0
Gee, some folks are a bit touchy. My intention was to focus on the positive aspects of ATC rather than the banner headline that implied the sky was falling because of a 3300 percent increase in errors. I wanted to put into perspective that there are great controllers out there and they should not be painted by the negative perspective in this article. I strongly disagree with your assessment that only level 5 facilities generate the best controllers. In my opinion, these type facilities generally scare away the non-professional pilots, use lots of canned procedures and spread the workload out over a greater number of controllers. Generally facilities like (but not limited to) those I mentioned have to give more assistance to occasional pilots and mix in heavy iron pilots. When one is in IMC, one hopes their controller is not merely adequate.
Ron, the FAA does not recognize a CTO obtained at what they call a "trade school" (Advanced ATC, Link, etc.) as having any special value. They prefer CTI endorsements from CTI schools. The CTI program was recently internally evaluated, and you can read the report on


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