Panic in the Tower, Chaos in the Sky

From INews – The Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network:

Colorado air traffic safety concerns soar

Near mid-air collisions in Colorado may be triple FAA’s public disclosures

Image courtesy of INews

I-News has analyzed 10 years’ worth of federal air safety reports and found that Colorado’s air traffic controllers reported more serious safety concerns last year than they had in the previous five years combined.

We then compared these reports – which are made to NASA – with data from the Federal Aviation Administration. We found the number of near mid-air collisions in Colorado since 2000 may be as much as three times higher than the FAA publicly reports. FAA officials say the NASA reports – which are anonymous – are not as precise as their own.

The near misses and dangerous decisions are sometimes blamed on inexperienced trainees or overtaxed veterans, according to the NASA reports. Concern is likely to mount as a

Air Safety Plummeting?

wave of controller retirements is expected to peak in Colorado next year.

Search and read the actual NASA air safety reports for yourself: NASA Safety Database

If you have a Colorado air traffic safety story to share, add your comment below or contact

Great, so the FAA has been (let’s use a nice word) ‘fibbing’ about how many ‘serious’ (as in could have caused a crash with loss of life) safety incidents there have been the past few years.

So maybe St. Reagan’s firing of air traffic controllers wasn’t such a great idea.

With lots of experienced controllers gone, (obviously) less-skilled ones were hired and after little time on the job were called ‘experts’ – when they clearly weren’t.

Now these wannabe Mavericks are teaching other controllers and the incidence of near-misses and near-disasters is soaring.

Golly. Letting the market control things sure doesn’t seem to be working out for the consumer. At least from the safety standpoint – and after all, isn’t that the bottom line? Getting there alive?

  4 comments for “Panic in the Tower, Chaos in the Sky

  1. March 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Glad to see the Times-Call finally caught up: – also glad that FRL can help lead the way to better informing the public.

  2. Safety Minded
    March 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

    The report fails to mention the DOT office of Inspector General’s devastating assessment of the contractor currently training air traffic controllers. In six months following the “award” in 2008, Raytheon incurred nearly double the costs it bid for the entire year, reduced training hours siginificantly and produced questionable results. IG’s words, not mine. Please read the report.

    Doesn’t anyone think that a correlation may exist between training and performance?

    Errors aren’t skyrocketting because of gimmicky reporting systems, or because of “waves” of new retirements. Self-reported errors are not included in FAA’s official statistics (see Halsey, Washington Post, January ’11). And retirements so far have not been in significant numbers.

    Yet, operational errors are up 81%, according to a recent USA Today headline.

  3. Gregory Iwan
    March 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Raytheon’s objectives center on one thing alone: scandalously high profits. If the transportation system suffers, tough. Oh, and Raytheon isn’t interested in payin’ no stinkin’ taxes, so don’t even think about it!

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