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FAA system failure raises safety concerns

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The system that failed is the behind-the-scenes communication network the Federal Aviation Administration uses to track flight times and paths, The New York Times reported.

Without it, The Times reported, airlines were forced to fax flight plans to the FAA, and then air-traffic controllers had to type the flight plans into the FAA computer manually.

Those flight plans usually include hundreds of numbers and letters, as well as the kind of aircraft, place of departure, and precise en route flight plan – checkpoints, altitudes, and more, The Times said.

A bad circuit board was blamed for the glitch, the Los Angeles Times reported. And while federal officials emphasized that passenger safety was never an issue – radars, radios and other critical systems continued to work – the failure raises yet more troubling questions about the FAA’s technology situation.

“The aviation agency’s data processing system has a variety of problems,” The New York Times said. “While it was hailed as a marvel when it was introduced decades ago, much of it is written in obsolete computer language and the agency has been slow to provide updates.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta was hit especially hard, with AirTran cancelling 30 flights and Delta Air Lines cancelling 54. Hundreds more were delayed, the Los Angeles newspaper said.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

(MM)

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    Regrettably but predictably, this week’s FAA recidivist inability to maintain its own flight-control equipment has already been mischaracterized by special interests seeking to further their own political agendas – including mischaracterization by New York Senator Charles Schumer.

    The self-dealing touts would have you believe that the solution to FAA management incompetence is to throw US$35,000,000,000 more of YOUR dollars at the problem in the form of an ill-conceived 2009 FAA Reauthorization Bill (S. 1451/HR 915). By their logic, because 1,000 monkeys have trouble writing “Hamlet” on Smith Corona typewriters, we should buy each monkey a Gateway 700XL instead.

    FAA’s failure is the failure of humans. Corrupted humans. Not corrupted files. The failures include an FAA ‘Administrator’ named Randy Babbitt – college drop-out and dim political hack. A ‘COO’ UAL plant named Hank Krakowski who led a fellow stunt-pilot to his death in Illinois in 1999. A drama major-now-‘Redesign Project Manager’ named Steven Ray Kelley who helped snuff out 6 innocent lives in a mid-air 2-plane crash over New Jersey in 1985.

    Yet other humans have let us down, too. Almost a full year after an Administration change, the remainder of the federal government has still failed to effect the timely thorough Oberstar-urged ‘Top-To-Bottom’ clean-out of inept vampiric FAA personnel still lurking the halls of 800 Independence. These residual aeromercantile malefactors are vestiges of the failed Marion Blakey/Bobby Sturgell era of revolving-door cozy relationship between agency and industry. After Thursday’s NADIN debacle, the American people are once again reminded that the “regulator” and the “regulated” are still one – and that they still suck. Now they want to use their own incompetence as the pretextual basis to suck-out US$35 Billion more of your American dollars. That’s THEIR bail-out. That’s THEIR stimulus.

    We were promised change. Yet our current landscape is populated by invisible federal judicial appointments at standstill, medical panels providing harmful misinformation regarding cancer screenings, banking regulators who cannot explain why bonus-babies are high-fiving each other on Wall Street, slip-of-the-tongue law enforcement officials promising terrorist death-penalties before the trial commences, and Sturgell-hangover FAA personnel who can do nothing but fulfill their infamous Tombstone Agency culture by mishandling systems and technology thereby risking the death of innocent Americans. We again urge Congress and the federal government to terminate S. 1451, say ABSOLUTELY NO! to the requested US$35 Billion Dollars of wasted FAA Reauthorization money, and fire feckless FAA management en masse. Let Randy Babbitt and his pack of fellow agency imposters now step aside in favor of responsible professionals who can actually regulate professionalism, and who can actually remember where they left the keys to the tech-room!