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Aviation Conspiracy: FAA Calls Controller Whistleblowers "Rogue Employees!!!
The graphic (website) version of this newsletter can be accessed at:
Quote of the Week: "That is like saying the problem at Abu Ghraib is that
someone had a camera," Air Traffic Controller's union official responding to
the FAA saying that the New York controllers who are reporting separation
violations of planes are the problem and not the FAA's policy of hiding
these safety violations
Aviation Conspiracy Newsletter
#317.............................................. ..March 27, 2005 Past
newsletters can be accessed at:
http://pages.prodigy.net/rockaway/ACNewsmenu.htm The PASSUR airport flight
tracking system at http://www.passur.com/sites.htm (you must have Java
installed to view it) Bill Mulcahy
FAA Calls Controller Whistleblowers "Rogue Employees!!!
As Bill Sees It: (Editorial) Will FAA Management's Efforts To Push New York
Controllers To Violate Safety Rules Ever Be Revealed? This is like watching
a mafia organization going after it's stoolpigeons. The battle between the
FAA's management and the whistle-blowing air traffic controllers is still
going strong with the controllers still accurately reporting violations of
plane separation rules; apparently for the first time in years!!! This has
the FAA managers going crazy because it it exposes their whole past effort
to pressure the air traffic controllers to underreport safety rule
violations!!! The FAA management spokespeople are trying to downplay the
seriousness of violations by saying most are "not serious!" This is a
typical FAA bureaucratic smokescreen by an agency that is reducing safety
distances between aircraft in order to increase U.S. airport's capacity. A
safety violation is a violation, and all should be considered serious. Why
Isn't This Scandal Being Investigated By The DOT Inspector General's Office?
The amazing thing is that the FAA management is not saying that the 117
violations are lies, but the truth they don't want revealed!!! This is proof
that they have been influencing (aka bribing) controllers with overtime (and
no doubt other perks) to violate FAA plane separation safety rules at N.Y.
City airports!!! Now, as their past partners-in-crime, the air traffic
controllers, are no longer falsifying violation reports and actually
reporting airspace violations, FAA management is going after THEM!!! I
guess FAA bosses thought that the controllers were not going to suddenly
start reporting near collisions after they have been underreporting them for
years. Where is the Dept. of Transportation's Inspector General Meade
(picture on left) in all of this? Obviously, he is not about to buck his
corrupt bosses and expose how deep this systemic corruption goes. FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey doesn't have to worry about losing her job
though. She has a five-year tenure. I wonder if there is any provision in
her contract for dismissal for promoting criminal activity?
N.Y. Senator "Chuck" Schumer Inserts Himself Into Plane Separation
Controversy: Speaking of corruption, a story this week said that New York's
senator "Chuck" Schumer commented on the controversy. Instead of calling for
an investigation into why controllers have been underreporting safety
violations in the past, Schumer demanded that "the warring parties sort it
out or risk disaster." This is the kind of response I would expect from
someone who I believe regularly lobbies the FAA to get them to avoid having
planes fly over wealthy, politically-connected communities (like Lawrence,
Long Island) by flying over poorer minority communities (like Rockaway).
Schumer will do anything to look like he is concerned about safety while in
reality he is more concerned about influencing aircraft routing policies
over specially "chosen" communities.
FAA Orders Inspection Of Airbus Rudders After One Falls Off: More problems
with the Airbus rudders as a 28-foot rudder recently "fell off" a Air
Transat Airbus A310 over the Caribbean. With the Boeing/Airbus war heating
up, with each side accusing each other of illegally being subsidized by
government, could the sabotage of planes start becoming a factor? It was
only a few years ago that the second worst U.S. aviation crash was caused by
an Airbus tail falling off over Rockaway, New York City.
FAA Downplays Seriousness Of Plane Separation Safety Violations!!! Aircraft
coming in to land at New York's major airports have come closer together
than FAA standards allow 117 times in recent weeks, an astonishing increase
that is more than four times the number reported in all of last year, a
federal investigation has found. However, FAA officials say the numbers do
not mean the the skies are any less safe. Instead, they say they believe
aircraft have been flying slightly closer together than they are supposed to
for some time. The agency said the increase came to light during an internal
probe sparked by what it called minor mistakes being reported by disgruntled
employees to protest reduced overtime. "What we believe we have is a rogue
group of employees engaged in a shakedown," FAA spokesman Greg Martin said
of disgruntled controllers, noting that New York Tracon burned through $4.6
million in overtime last year, far more than any comparable facility.
"There's no methadone treatment for withdrawing overtime or limiting
overtime." Ruth Marlin, an official with the controllers' union in
Washington, said it appeared the FAA was complaining that errors were
reported. "That is like saying the problem at Abu Ghraib is that someone had
a camera," she said.
Embarrassed FAA Bureaucrats Investigate Illegal Alien Plane Mechanics: The
Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how five people arrested on
immigration charges qualified for licensing tests for the FAA's high-level
repair licenses. FAA administrators are looking into documents used by the
five in seeking the right to test for Airframe and Powerplant certification,
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The A&P license allows mechanics to
work on the more complex parts of a plane. "To our knowledge, they all
passed the written, oral and practical tests," said Bergen, who works at the
FAA's Atlanta regional office. Federal agents detained 27 workers at TIMCO,
24 of whom are charged with being in the United States illegally. Most came
from labor contractors who provide TIMCO with temporary workers. TIMCO was
not implicated, agents said. Meanwhile, an official with one of TIMCO's
labor contractors had a hearing Wednesday on criminal charges stemming from
the arrests and was denied bail. Jorge Ruiz-Alonso, 60, a Venezuelan, is
accused of helping an illegal immigrant get work at TIMCO using fake green
and Social Security cards.
FAA Orders Inspection Of Airbus Plane Rudders: WASHINGTON - U.S. airlines
will be ordered to inspect the rudders of certain Airbus jets after an
incident in which most of the rudder fell off an A310 in flight. The Federal
Aviation Administration directive, to be issued Monday, affects A310s and
A300-600s. American Airlines and FedEx are the only U.S. airlines that fly
those models. They have 112 of the planes. A plane operated by
Canadian-based Air Transat lost nearly all of the rudder - the vertical
moving part at the back of the tail fin - soon after leaving Cuba for Quebec
on March 6. The pilot was able to control the aircraft and returned to
Varadero, Cuba. None of the 270 passengers and crew was injured. The FAA
directive follows a similar order by French civil aviation authorities on
March 18. European aircraft maker Airbus SAS also asked airlines to inspect
the planes last week out of what it called "an abundance of caution."
European Union To Finally Levy A Tax On Aviation Fuel To Reduce INCREASING
Air Pollution? LONDON-Paris £27. London-Amsterdam £28. Can such low air
fares last? Not for long if some European government ministers get their
way. While the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3 per cent
from 1990 to 2002, emissions from its international air traffic soared by
almost 70 per cent. In February, German and French ministers suggested
imposing a tax of up to ¬300 per tonne of aviation fuel. Airlines are taking
note. "The industry must unite to develop an effective strategy to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions," Rod Eddington, chief executive of British
Airways, said on 17 March at a summit on Aviation and the Environment in
Geneva, Switzerland. The strategies being mooted include an emissions
trading scheme, which would allow airlines to buy and sell permits for the
CO2 they produce. British Airways' chief executive Rod Eddington has urged
the global aviation industry to work together to reduce its impact on
climate change or face the risk of additional. taxation.
New York's Mayor Bloomberg Stiffs Community Out Of Airport Noise Money
Bribe: With several projects in the pipeline for their area, residents in
southeast Queens have complained in recent weeks that they have been left
off advisory boards making recommendations on planned work. The boards
include elected officials who are respected by the community, but Gloria
Black, the chairwoman of Jamaica's Community Board 12, said Tuesday that
positions must be created for those directly affected. The latest
controversy began last week, when residents attending an airport meeting
last week realized they had been left off a board charged with recommending
how $100 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for
community projects should be spent. For some, it marked the second time in
two weeks that one of their own had not been selected to weigh in on
important neighborhood issues. "That blows my mind," Community Board 12
Chairwoman Gloria Black said at the meeting March 15, referring to the
Community Advisory Board. The board was selected by Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
and it includes City Council members whose districts abut JFK or LaGuardia
airports, with the notable exception of controversial Councilman Allan
Jennings (D-Jamaica). Editor's Note: This just goes to show a little of the
slimy politics that go with airport pollution. Billionaire Bloomberg
recently started a campaign to fight New Yorker's number one
complaint....noise. There was one noise source that was omitted...airport
Important Aviation News Stories This Week
Seeking solution in FAA dispute
BY SYLVIA ADCOCK
STAFF WRITER N.Y. Newsday
March 25, 2005
Sen. Charles Schumer yesterday called on Transportation Secretary Norman
Mineta to intervene in the increasingly acrimonious dispute between the FAA
and air traffic controllers in New York.
The situation - a short-staffed facility, a bitter dispute over how many
people to call in on overtime, and increasing air traffic - "could be a
recipe for disaster," Schumer, a New York Democrat, said yesterday.
advCFC('American052205',12,(1000*60*60*24*30)); Schumer's comments came
three days after the FAA said it had learned of 117 errors at the New York
Terminal Radar Approach Control, or Tracon, since January.
The dispute began after the FAA changed overtime procedures in January and
the number of "operational errors" - when planes come too close - spiked.
Controllers at the Tracon in Westbury guide planes in and out of New York
In unusually harsh language, the FAA said employees were involved in a
"shakedown" over overtime; the controllers union said the agency isn't
willing to spend money on safety.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said yesterday that only a small percentage of
the errors found so far were high-risk. But investigators have found that
some of the errors, while not involving the risk of a collision, were
putting so-called "heavy" jets too close to smaller jets, creating a danger
from wake turbulence. In general, planes that are landing or departing New
York airports need to be 3 miles apart, and even further when one is
following a large jet such as the Boeing 747.
Mandatory retraining of air traffic controllers at the Tracon began this
week, focusing on the wake turbulence issue.
The FAA is a branch of the DOT, so Mineta is not an impartial bystander. But
Schumer said Mineta is "regarded as a fair-minded person."
A spokesman for Mineta said the secretary is monitoring the situation.
Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers'
Association, said the union would welcome a mediator. "We want to work
together; we feel like we can correct the problems. We believe the FAA
should start focusing on the facts at hand... This is a dangerously
Meanwhile, four more errors at the Tracon were reported Wednesday night.
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