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Whistleblower quitting over 'FAA's inaction'

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posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 12:14 PM
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She twice reported near misses and cover-ups among air traffic controllers at D/FW International Airport and both times, she was proved right.

But now one of the highest profile whistleblowers in the Federal Aviation Administration is quitting, saying she just can't take it anymore.

Her move is leading some to question whether what has been called an agency in crisis can be fixed.

After decades as an air traffic controller, Anne Whiteman says she can no longer stand the inaction, retaliation and punishment she's suffered for being a whistleblower.

Whiteman started pointing out problems at D/FW's air traffic control system 12 years ago, such as aircraft flying too close.

"I wanted it fixed in house because I didn't want the public to know what was going on," she said.

Because she reported mistakes and named names, she became the target of recrimination.

She says she was isolated at work and her equipment was sabotaged. The aircraft she controlled were put in danger by other controllers to make her look bad.

"Nobody cared. They wanted to get rid of me. They being the FAA as a whole," she said.

She was demoted from air traffic control to the control tower. She was physically assaulted at work and on national TV, told of a threat against her life.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel in 2005 backed up her safety concerns.

"It substantiated all of my claims. They weren't reporting losses of separation. Aircraft were coming dangerously close to each other," she said.

But nothing happened. Despite the investigation, D/FW was named the air control facility of the year for 2006, a title which was eventually revoked.

Her concern grew, when she and other whistleblowers saw controllers continuing to make mistakes and blaming them on pilots.

Those charges were confirmed in a second Office of Special Counsel investigation.

Meanwhile, unfounded accusations against Whiteman by her supervisors continued.

"Narcotic prescription drug abuse. And of course, there was no substance to it. They charged me with time and attendance fraud. They said that I used my travel credit care fraudulently," she said.

Whiteman is at home for good. She resigned last week, after being offered and then refused a new position. She is wholly cynical about the FAA.

"They don't want you to be part of the solution. They want you to go away - so they won," she said.

The FAA declined to be interviewed about the investigations at D/FW or Whiteman's case.

In a statement, it said: "FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt, is reaching out to whistleblowers throughout the agency to assure them that FAA no longer considers what they bring forward as complaints but rather as contributions."

FAA administrator Babbit has been in office since May. Whiteman e-mailed him shortly after he took office about her ongoing concerns for the agency. He did not respond.


SOURCE:wfaa.com

There are a couple parts here that scare the hell out of me...

First: She says she was isolated at work and her equipment was sabotaged. The aircraft she controlled were put in danger by other controllers to make her look bad.

Second: If the FAA is trying to keep a couple near misses quiet, it make you think of what other situations they keep under the radar.


[edit on 14-9-2009 by TrainDispatcher]




posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 12:54 PM
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reply to post by TrainDispatcher
 


TrainDispatcher, if this woman (or any individual) really wanted to be a "whistleblower", and this story isn't just being blown out of proportion, there is the 'ASRS' form, which is administrated by NASA.

Their motto? Confidential. Voluntary. Non-punitive.

asrs.arc.nasa.gov...

It can be used by pilots, air traffic controllers, cabin crewmembers, anyone in the Aviation Industry.


The Aviation Safety Reporting System, or ASRS, is a voluntary system that allows pilots and other airplane crew members to confidentially report near misses and close calls in the interest of improving air safety. The confidential and independent nature of the ASRS is key to its success, since reporters do not have to worry about any possible negative consequences of coming forward with safety problems. The ASRS is run by NASA, a neutral party, since it has no power in enforcement. The success of the system serves as a positive example that is often used as a model by other industries seeking to make improvements in safety.

en.wikipedia.org...


Also, from the NBAA:

The goal of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is to improve aviation safety by providing a venue where pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, mechanics, ground personnel, and others involved in aviation operations can share information about unsafe situations that they have encountered or observed. Reports sent to the ASRS are held in strict confidence.

While the primary benefit is safety improvement, ASRS can also provide protection from certain FAA enforcement actions. If a pilot files an ASRS report within 10 days of a suspected violation, it is possible to avoid fines and the suspension of a pilot certificate. To receive this immunity, the following conditions must be met:

The violation in question must be inadvertent and not deliberate.

The violation cannot involve a criminal offense, accident, or action that demonstrates a lack of qualification or competency.

In the five years prior to the date of the incident being reported, the individual cannot have had a violation.

The individual is able to demonstrate that within 10 days of the incident a written report was made to NASA (either electronically or by mail). NBAA recommends the report be sent via certified mail with return receipt or overnight delivery with receipt confirmation in order to have proof if needed.

Use caution when completing the ASRS report. Text from the report and the identifying strip could lead the Agency to believe the issue was deliberate and not inadvertent.



When a report is made to ASRS, all identifying information about the submitter is removed before the report is posted. While the submission of an ASRS report can provide immunity, the FAA will maintain a record of the FAA sanction (i.e. suspension or civil penalty). For a period of five (5) years, the airman’s record will still note the violation and length of suspension that would have been imposed had the pilot not filed an ASRS report.



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 12:56 PM
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The FAA is no more governmental than the Fed.

These are corporate mentality leaders, looking to become permanently entitled players in the industry.

Problems lie with the leadership - it ALWAYS has.



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by TrainDispatcher
 


Also, this line jumps out at me....



Whiteman started pointing out problems at D/FW's air traffic control system 12 years ago, such as aircraft flying too close.


Seems a little bit fishy, perhaps she (Ms. Whiteman) is embellishing a bit.

TWELVE years?!??!! And it's now just becoming a 'story'??

I don't recall as I type this if the article from WFAA said what positons she has worked in ATC...she talks about airplanes too close.

Does she mean horizontally? Vertically? In VFR or IFR meteorological conditions? (In clear weather, pilots can be given a traffic advisory, and if it's "in sight", then collision avoidance and separation falls to the pilots, and the controller can divert attention elsewhere).

If she worked in LOCAL control, then she was directing traffic visually, fromthe Tower. In the TRACON it's on Radar. If she can't hack it, she can be assigned to GROUND CONTROL, or CLEARANCE DELIVERY jobs...but even on ground control a person who isn't very good can really screw things up.....





[edit on 14 September 2009 by weedwhacker]



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by weedwhacker
 





"I wanted it fixed in house because I didn't want the public to know what was going on," she said.

Because she reported mistakes and named names, she became the target of recrimination.


Trying to get it fixed in house was her mistake perhaps.

I think I would go first to my supervisor and make the reports. And we don't know that she didn't report to ASRS. It takes a lot of courage to come out, give your name. This seems to have happened after nothing was done to correct the problem.



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