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Is Your Air-Traffic Controller Competent?

John Rowland

Posted on August 25, 2018 13:53

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High-minded diversity has its place. But when the flying public's safety and well-being are compromised through sacrificed merit and competency standards, it's stupid, insane and unacceptable.

You board a flight, take your seat, and as you taxi for takeoff, the captain comes on the PA saying: "Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot, thank you for flying with us today. Our flight time today should be about 4 hours. Oh, just wanted to let you know that I failed math and science and have been out of work for the last 3 years, but I'm gonna try to fly this bird anyway."

Are you perhaps just a little nervous?

If not about your pilot, then how about your air-traffic controller; the person on the ground who makes sure your plane doesn't run into anything, making sure you take off and land safely.

Suppose a plane you're on is in the air, having a mayday moment. What's the first thing you want your pilot to say to the ground control operator? "What's your skin color?"

Former USMC Willie Shields doesn't fly. When people ask him why, he says, "I know too much; I'm a former FAA air-traffic controller."

Shields has documented fraud and abuse at the Federal Aviation Administration dating back to around 1981, shortly after President Reagan's summary firing of the air-traffic controllers. Shields points out that at least back then it was understood that the replacements needed to be accomplished, skilled people; this included "pilots and experienced military air-traffic controllers." That was the good news.

The bad news was that the FAA then "stopped reporting aviation incidents, including near mid-air collisions and runway incursions," attempting to make the system "look like perfection."

Starting in 2014, the Obama Administration doubled down on this deceit with respect to hiring practice standards of air-traffic controllers: merit-based recruitment was out the window (a fitting metaphor for any passenger flying on a commercial jet); in were various "diversity goals"; preferences and set-asides for multiple identity groups based on race and sexual orientation, not on expertise.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta had announced plans to “transform” the FAA into “a more diverse and inclusive workplace . . .”

Air-traffic controller applicants were suddenly awarded extra points in hiring if they had a lower science aptitude or had been out of work for 3 years; these preferences actually crowded out well-qualified, licensed pilots.

So the FAA was actively searching for unqualified air-traffic controllers. Bureaucrats at the FAA haven't really mentioned or tried to justify any of this publicly -- they've simply stayed silent.

Until now.

According to Steven Bradbury, General Counsel for the Department of Transportation, new air-traffic controller trainees will fortunately not be subject to some of these silly biographical questions -- only aptitude tests.

But all of this nonsense aside, our skies have been generally safe. We all want this. Let's keep it that way.

The flying public's protection and well-being is one area that is beyond politics; safety first, safety last.

John Rowland

Posted on August 25, 2018 13:53

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Source: Daily Mail
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