Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are You as Sick
of This as I Am?


The FAA staffing crisis is very real, and is very bad. Anyone who does not want to believe that can keep their head buried in the sand until two airliners meet tragically in the sky. I hope this issue never gets to that point, but these releases from NATCA are not hogwash, and offer a look at a broken system that the MSM is just now picking up.

These NATCA controllers are not the janitors that clean the TRACON at night, they are the only men and women in this country with actual hands-on experience with this problem. Anyone – ANYONE – who chooses to ignore their pleas for help can be considered an accomplice to whatever happens if the staffing levels are not immediately increased to NATCA's recommended levels.

Here is just a taste from today's inbox:
Air traffic controllers at both the Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center, who have seen a large rate of attrition and a rise in unsafe incidents in the skies, today have declared a staffing emergency and are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation to act immediately to stem the loss of veteran controllers. This marks the sixth major area of the country where NATCA has declared a staffing emergency. In the past two weeks, NATCA highlighted serious staffing and safety concerns in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Southern California.
Anyone have the balls to ignore THAT? What part of "staffing emergency" does Washington D.C. not understand? Maybe this will help convince them:
At the NorCal Tracon (NCT), there are just 130 veteran, fully trained controllers left on staff working air traffic today. NATCA believes that 196 is the appropriate safe staffing level for this facility. NCT is responsible for all airline, commercial, business and general aviation in airspace around Sacramento International Airport, the three major Bay Area airports and 60 other smaller airports. And at Oakland Center (ZOA), the facility currently has 164 fully trained and certified controllers on board, and there are 94 trainees on staff, which has made for a ratio of "Controller-to-trainee" in excess of the FAA’s stated goal for training. Just three years ago, the national ratio for certified controllers to trainees was over 12-to-1. Today, at ZOA, it is less than 2-to-1.
After two terms under the thumb of this GOP administration, our country is broken in more ways then just financially, unless if you're a fat CEO at a company that sells anything to the Pentagon or brews gasoline for thirsty SUVs. Then you're literally rolling in piles of fresh $1,000,000 bills licking a fine 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac off the supple stomachs of scantily-clad hookers. Yes, life is sweet for those one percenters, but the other 99 percent of us are hanging on by our fingernails, hoping W doesn't do to us what he's done to NATCA's controllers.

I have had it today with this administration, and this chart will show you why.