Testimony Claimed to be Misleading

Tue, Apr 22, 2008 — David Evans


Just days after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee accused him of providing “inaccurate and misleading testimony” at a 3 April 2008 hearing, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Nicholas Sabatini, was again in hot water.

On 10 April 2008 Sabatini told the Senate Aviation Subcommittee that the FAA was “seeking input” from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) on revamping policies for tower controllers issuing taxi clearances to aircraft. There’s only one problem with Sabatini’s testimony, according to NATCA, the controllers’ union: the FAA offered NATCA the opportunity to provide input AFTER a special panel was convened to discuss the taxi clearance issue.

“This is like offering table scraps to the dog while the dishes are being cleaned but claiming the dog was invited to dinner,” asserted NATCA President Patrick Forrey.

Forrey asserted this was the latest example of the FAA snubbing controllers on virtually everything that happens regarding new or revised procedures and equipment.

“The FAA has received bipartisan criticism from Congress for not involving us in both modernization and in matters of changing procedures and practices designed to make the system safer,” Forrey said. “It’s been three years now since the FAA abruptly and unwisely ended a successful initiative, in which we sent controllers to serve as technical liaisons on dozens of modernization projects and new procedures. It’s long past time for the FAA to re-start this program. These relationships are critically important, because when controllers are not involved, safety problems occur.”

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