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Air traffic control error numbers double

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posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:24 AM
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Air traffic control error numbers double


online.wsj.com

In a time of unparalleled aviation safety in the United States, reports of mistakes by air traffic controllers have nearly doubled — a seeming contradiction that has safety experts puzzled.

The latest incident — the near midair collision of an American Airlines jet with 259 people aboard and two Air Force transport planes southeast of New York City, has raised eyebrows in Congress and led to questions about a nonpunitive culture of error reporting in air-traffic control facilities.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.slate.com
www.reuters.com
www.washingtonpost.com
edit on 2/11/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:24 AM
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Don't panic though!!!

It's just a new way of reporting that doesn't punish air traffic controllers for reporting incidents.


Babbitt said the rise in the number of errors is because of a new safety program that protects controllers from punishment for errors they voluntarily report The program is aimed at increasing error reporting so trends can be spotted and new training methods, changes in procedures or other actions can be taken. It is modeled after a successful error-reporting program for airline pilots.

The program, which started in 2008 and was fully phased in last year, is receiving about 250 reports a week. But safety experts note that those reports generally aren't counted in FAA's official error tally.




This is a follow-up to the Washington Post report in late December, "Errors by air traffic controllers set record" (see Additional News Links).


The air traffic controllers in the Washington region, who direct more than 1.5 million flights, have made a record number of mistakes this year, triggering cockpit collision warning systems dozens of times.

Interesting reading too is the analysis, "Is Flying Becoming More Dangerous?" from Slate. (See Additional News Links.)


Later that day, the FAA press officer sent me a statement the FAA had prepared in response to the Post stories. The gist was that any increase in errors was attributable to the FAA's transition in fiscal year 2010 "to a non-punitive error reporting system." Before the switchover, air traffic controllers didn't always report their errors to their superiors because they feared reprisal. Under the new system, there was no reprisal when an air traffic controller reported a boo-boo that his boss failed to notice. Granted such absolution, air traffic controllers were reporting more boo-boos.

In addition, the FAA is running into some roadblocks on the new system being installed. (See Additional News Links.)


The Federal Aviation Administration has already spent $1.8 billion on the system aimed at providing faster routes and safely packing more planes into the high-altitude cruising phase of flight.

Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel said it could take between three to six years and up to $500 million more to finish the project managed by the FAA and its contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.

So though flying is probably not any more or less dangerous this year over last, now we know more about just how dangerous it might be. Not a bad thing if it identifies trends and prevents errors.

Listen to Air Traffic Control Live

Air traffic control has got to be one of the most stressful jobs imaginable. Huge responsibility—all those lives literally in your hands every day.

Overview of Air Traffic Control


online.wsj.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 2/11/2011 by ~Lucidity because: added video



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:31 AM
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It should get real interesting in about a year because the technical side (the ones that maintain the equipment that air traffic controllers use) just instituted a similar program.

I for one, am very happy to see it happen. Try working for a workforce that believes they are owed their money not because of their work, but because they are federal employees.

On another note though, as we see flights increase, better technology implemented; which will enable more flights in a smaller space no less, more automation and increased demand, air travel is still highly safe in comparison to the distance traveled and persons moved.



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:31 AM
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Still the safest way to travel, but there must be alot of near misses.

The public are better of not knowing in this sort of thing, and ignorance is bliss.



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:33 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 

Right...is this the program I linked to and excerpted from that's running over budget and behind schedule?

And I agree...flying is still much safer than driving! Though I've been on too many flights where there were some very scary near hits and situations. You never forget those.
edit on 2/11/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:37 AM
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Well, if TSA groping wasn't enough to keep someone off the planes maybe this will be.


coming within 50 to 100 feet of each other while taking off
way tooo close

controllers sometimes watch movies and play with electronic devices during nighttime shifts when traffic is slower
online.wsj.com...

As you said though, the known errors have increased due to new reporting, so it's not an equal comparison to earlier years.



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:54 AM
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Plane crashed yesterday in cork, Ireland www.rte.ie...
It is said that the aircraft itself had no recent technical issues and underwent a routine maintenance check last week.
6 were confirmed dead.



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 05:55 AM
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reply to post by BenIndaSun
 

Way too close indeed, but when you consider how much traffic there is, it's a pretty good safety record. Check out this simulation of global air traffic over a 24-hour period. Mind boggling how many planes are in the air.



At least watching movies and playing games keeps them awake and alert?

reply to post by Wildeagle
 

Ugh...hate to hear that. Sounds as if they don't have the first clue as to what happened.


edit on 2/11/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2011 @ 01:59 PM
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Eeek!



posted on Feb, 12 2011 @ 05:38 AM
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reply to post by ~Lucidity
 


No, that is the NEXGEN programs being implemented. Basically the FAA is trying to catch up with technology. Radars used are 40 years old (ASR-8 and 9...ARSR 1/2, GRR and GRTS - radios). They are playing catch up, as does any government agency.

Those programs are behind schedule and have cost overruns, although in the end they require less maintenance but more money to contracted companies. Its a catch-22.

The program I was speaking of was where us maintainers of such equipment are given a non-retributive avenue to call out inadequacies without fear of consequences....redundant and backwards if you ask me. But that is government for ya.

Personally, I would like to see the maintenance go private, but that is a different discussion



posted on Feb, 12 2011 @ 05:39 AM
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reply to post by ~Lucidity
 


Bah...I have access to the last 24-hours of air traffic, but its on an internal network. The amount of traffic is indeed mind boggling and most people don't realize how many planes are occupying a given airspace. Especially near airports in the terminal environment.



posted on Feb, 12 2011 @ 05:50 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 

Ah, okay. Well this seems to be a step in that direction all around. Fear of reprisal should never stand in the way of safety. Unfortunately it's all too common in all sectors when managers and employees are appraised and measured on the wrong things. Gotta make those numbers look good! Changing the measurements seems like small thing but can make all the difference.



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