View Full Version : I'm from the FAA and I'm here to help.

Brian Abraham
6th Aug 2008, 07:30
From Avweb today.

Controllers As Airspace Police?

If you've ever missed a turn, set the altitude bug incorrectly or committed any of thousands of sins that air traffic controllers routinely catch and help correct every day without much fuss, those days are apparently over. The FAA has apparently ordered controllers to violate pilots for any and all errors and has threatened to discipline them if they don't file the reports. While the FAA says it's just enforcing rules already in place, the head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association say it's yet another burden an already-overworked workforce that will pit controllers against pilots. "We are not the FAA police! The FAA's and controller's mission is to provide the safe and efficient movement of live air traffic," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey. "The fact that the FAA is now disciplining controllers for not 'policing' pilot actions as they relate to flight regulations is indicative of the tyrannical and oppressive culture the FAA has created." The FAA, as might be suspected, has a different view.

In an email to AVweb, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said it's alway been controllers' jobs to report pilot infractions and she stressed there has been no change in FAA policy in this regard. However, in a quote from an unnamed senior staff member in the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) it's clear that reporting infractions is now being stressed. "The bottom line is there has been no change in ATC requirements just reinforcing the reporting piece," Brown quoted one of the ATO managers as saying. For the record, controllers are supposed to write up errors and supply supporting evidence to the FSDO manager and the decision to sanction pilots is made there. Make sure those clearances and readbacks are clear ... .

6th Aug 2008, 09:36
It´s not about reporting each other, much more ATCprocedures in the US are sometimes not really standarized. Pls have a look at the nothern EUR countries. They have a defined standard and not (sorry but thats my opinion) a cowboy mentality taking everything cool and easy.
Best example RWY incursions at LAX or insufficient seperation in SFO.

Why shoud I fly a visual just to take the responibility on my shoulders.
Sorry folks, but you schould do somthing in the states. You are not alone in the world...

Now start beating meeeee:eek:

6th Aug 2008, 12:40
The FAA has apparently ordered controllers to violate pilots for any and all errors

Oh my! I'm going to the US this month for training, I hope I don't mess up and get violated by ATC!!! :eek:

6th Aug 2008, 13:59
I was warned by my company yesterday: the FAA has decreed that just turning onto the wrong taxiway is now considered an "incursion".....

And as for the LAX incidents, most of them seem to involve foreign carriers, so :p

Pugilistic Animus
6th Aug 2008, 14:23
Beware of 91.13 also---the FAA and when controllers make mistakes :ugh:???

And I just love the new Trainees like the one that recently was 'Holding me short'--in the non-movement area so that I can await passing "traffic taxying" on a COMPLETELY SEPARATE route until I confirmed at which ramp I was----- and said "where's that citation"?--only one of many new annoyances---

And the shape of the US airlines---Never!!!--Charter- or Fun

FAA--this is Ridiculous--- I agree---they only make good pilot training books--

Bruce Wayne
6th Aug 2008, 14:45
Earlier this year the FAA was heavily critisized by a congressional committee over lax enforcement concerning maintenance of a couple of operators.

So the FAA needs a show of tough line of enforcement. The result enforcement over *pilot* voilation.

The paperwork trail that will accompany this kind of enforcemnt will be huge and stretch the FAA further in light of..

Congress delays decision on FAA funding again

August 1, 2008

With the days before Congress’ summer vacation rapidly dwindling, the FAA funding conundrum continued last month. In late June, Congress bought itself three more months when it extended the agency’s current funding and programs until September 30. Lawmakers now have extended aviation funding and taxes five times since they initially expired on Sept. 30, 2007.

they're going to need more funding to cover the enforcement.

Double Zero
6th Aug 2008, 14:52
Anyone can make a little mistake - getting ' violated ' by some ATC type for it seems a bit 'stiff ' !

Then again it might attract a different type of pilot, who normally has to pay good money for that sort of thing.

Bruce Wayne
6th Aug 2008, 15:04
Anyone can make a little mistake - getting ' violated ' by some ATC type for it seems a bit 'stiff ' !

Then again it might attract a different type of pilot, who normally has to pay good money for that sort of thing.

only if it involves whips, chains and a ball gag! :uhoh:

6th Aug 2008, 15:05
Dear Double Zero,
Was worth reading all the others just to get to your post. If you didn't mean it the way I read it it was still worth it.:D:E

6th Aug 2008, 15:40
I wonder how many senior managers/leaders at the FAA have been sacked for totally screwing up the US aviation system for the past 15 years.

This is just another example of petty bureaucracy responding to bad publicity by diverting blame onto someone else. The US system is in a shambles and none of the politicians, republican or democrat, have lifted a finger to fix it.

7th Aug 2008, 18:08
FAA moto: We are not happy until your not happy.

8th Aug 2008, 20:42

I'd like to advance the theory that the FAA's recent action has nothing to do with safety and probably little (if anything) to do with the recent Congressional hearings. It's all about putting the FAA's controllers between a rock and a hard place.

1) Violate pilots -- lose your public and professional support.

2) Don't violate pilots -- lose your job.

The first offense for failing to report a deviation (according to union people that I trust to know) carries a possible penalty of 30 days without pay -- up to termination. The second violation is termination -- period.

Unless the aviation industry sees through this and stops it before it gets started -- there will be a war between pilots and controllers that will be very difficult to stop. Everyone will get hurt.

John Carr (ex-NATCA president) appealed to the controllers to refuse to participate in this madness today on his blog -- "The Main Bang." I agree but we're both retired and it would be a tough job to convince controllers to risk their jobs even if we weren't.

For those that don't know, the FAA imposed their work rules on U.S. controllers over 700 days ago. NATCA (the U.S. controller's union) is in an incredibly weak position at the moment. They don't have a contract. They can barely protect their jobs much less a pilot's license.

I urge you to fight against this injustice too. Standing on the sidelines doesn't seem like it would be a smart option.

Please, don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. This could get ugly.

Don Brown

8th Aug 2008, 21:20
It sounds like what's needed is a couple of "cock-up" days, where a bunch of pilots can pre-arrange 'mistakes' with every ATC on duty and fail to get reported so that every ATC would be suspended at the same time.

8th Aug 2008, 22:55
I have never understood why the FAA has always been so intent on violations. Sure, rules need to be obeyed, and flying is no exception, but does it really help?

In Europe the authorities have a much more pragmatic approach to things. They accept mistakes are going to be made, just like modern CRM accepts mistakes are a part of human nature. Punishment - or fear of punishment - is not the way to get the number of mistakes down. Clearly this philosophy has not trickled down to the FAA headquarters.

Fines would be one thing. Not pleasant, for sure, but not as detrimental to ones career as an FAA violation on your flying record. I have seen too many people get stuck in low time flying jobs in the US because the airlines and regionals would not look at them anymore owing to having a violation.

What is it the FAA suddenly tries to accomplish? Do they really think that suddenly pilots are going to make less mistakes? Is it indeed safety the FAA has in mind, or is this political? One does wonder.

10th Aug 2008, 16:49
I have never understood why the FAA has always been so intent on violations. Sure, rules need to be obeyed, and flying is no exception, but does it really help? ....

.....What is it the FAA suddenly tries to accomplish? Do they really think that suddenly pilots are going to make less mistakes? Is it indeed safety the FAA has in mind, or is this political? One does wonder.

Go back and read again the post by Don Brown (Get the Flick), several posts above. It is spot on.

I don't make my living in aviation, but I'm married to an air traffic controller. If I were dependent on a pilot's license to make my living, as many of you are, I'd be furious to be played as a pawn in the FAA's chess game against the controller's union.

What are you going to do about it?

10th Aug 2008, 19:48
My nephew is an approach controller at MIA. I asked him about this and he mentioned that if it is true he has never heard of it. He said he never has violated anyone for making a small error.

Bruce Wayne
10th Aug 2008, 23:09
Don Brown (GetTheFlick)

i agree with you 100% (see my previous post) and i don't think you are advancing a theory, i think that it is a a hard fact as a natural progression.

The FAA has had a media pronounced issue on factors involving aircraft safety, which progressed to a congressional hearing. On the flip side congress has delayed and deferred on FAA funding.

So the FAA has the problem of enforcing the safety issues on which it regulates and as a short term resolution intends to "bust" pilots for any and all errors.

It's a short term PR move that is the fall out of the FAA congressional hearing.

There are several questions that are going to have to be addressed:

Are controllers the enforcers or are they there to provide traffic flow separation and integration?

How is a controller going to handle a violation. At the point of violation? does the controller have to come off duty hand over to another controller while the paperwork is completed and filed ? or wait till the end of a shift and make a report after handling 'x' amount of different situations.

Is the pilot going to be notified at the time of the event that a violation is pending ? or will he be advised after the event ? how will this then be defended ?

Are controllers going to be violated for giving pilots unclear or erroneous instructions, clearances, vectors etc.?

Also, how is the FAA going to administer the violations. They literally cant keep up with the current administrative workload at present.

In terms of safety, all this will do is countermand safety rather than improve it.

10th Aug 2008, 23:17
Yet another slap from your big brother, the FAA; it's really funny what our controllers have to work with; ever been to a center lately????? looks like the streets of cuba.... latest model cadillac is from 1959; but as long as we the taxpayers bail out our investmentbankers for amounts you could buy the rest of the planet with, and they happily keep sending their lobbyists to D.C. instead of voting like us average union people, the only thing they think they can afford is sending their dobermans and keep disciplining us. Instead, give our controllers a decent contract and the technical means to run the most complex traffic system in this galaxy, please. I was in a 727 flying over chicago as both of their radars went out; they moved 900 airplanes with four controllers; they are by far the best anywhere....pay them what they deserve and keep them. I feel nowhere as safe in my box then over U.S. airspace, despite all the traffic!!!!!

11th Aug 2008, 08:06
Well, as someone else pointed out, this is not getting out to the controller workforce at the FAA as far as I am aware. Maybe it is getting more distribution in towers, the FAA really seems to be more concerned about runway incursions and incidents near runways. I have not seen or heard of any increase in pressure to violate pilots in the enroute or terminal facilities. Working at the largest (sq miles) facility in the world for 26 years I can testify to the relaxed roadside justise attitude that normally prevails. Minor errors are corrected and quickly forgotten. Errors that make us shake our heads, the pilots are usually asked to call in and we discuss what caused the confusion, and figure out why, no report. Serious errors and ones ending up in Operational Errors or Deviations are investigated by quality assurance and forwarded to FSDO and are out of our hands. The system would come to a screeching halt if we turned in every pilot deviation. Quality assurance and FSDO would not be able to keep up. Having said that I will say that in my opinion the number and frequency of pilot mistakes seems to be increasing. Not so much with the Air Carriers, but with the part 135 operators and GA. Especially when we have GPS jamming, Cirrus pilots dont seem to know what a VOR does. Anyway, in my own personal flying I have been on both sides of the situation. I have made some minor mistakes and the controller has corrected me, and the controller has made some mistakes and I corrected them. Both sides working together to make the system safe and efficient. Beware of people saying the sky is falling.

Bruce Wayne
11th Aug 2008, 08:33

I agree with you 100%. From my expereinces of socal controllers, i can say that i have never had one that has been excellent, in fact even a pleasure to work with. my errors have been identified and corrected early as i have done with them. That is both sides working together for flight safety.

Any thoughts on why Part 135 operations are increasing infractions, from your persepctive ?