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FAA underfunded - can't do it's job!

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FAA underfunded - can't do it's job!

Old 29th Mar 2001, 21:59
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Cyclic Hotline
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Unhappy FAA underfunded - can't do it's job!

FAA Officials Testify Agency Poorly Funded

By John Martin ABCNEWS.com

FAA inspectors told a congressional panel that budget constraints are making it hard for them to do their job. And an audit of the agency found severe bookkeeping problems .

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration warned that politicians and passengers are too focused on airport delays, when they should be worried about safety. Testifying before a House subcommittee, FAA inspectors and managers said the agency was so poorly funded that it was barely doing its job.

They said the FAA's 2,300 inspectors were unable to check all the planes and pilots and do all of the paperwork required to document their work.

"More than half of the needed certifications, surveillance, enforcement or compliance oversight is not being accomplished due to reduced funding," FAA aviation safety inspector Keith Deberry told the panel.

"Under current budget constraints, inspectors cannot conduct important surveillance that requires travel to a site away from the inspector's home base," Deberry testified.

The FAA inspectors listed a number of other problems:

Airport security barriers. Some airports do not recognize the FAA inspector's badge and deny or delay inspectors access to the ramp to examine planes.

Airline oversight. To save funds, the FAA has switched some responsibilities to the airlines, undercutting inspectors' authority.

Too few managers and supervisors. Witnesses said the ratio of 10 inspectors to 1 supervisor should be cut to 6 or 7 to 1 to ensure safety. They said the number of operational errors is on the rise.

Inadequate monitoring of new pilots. Inspectors testified that more than 6,000 new pilots take to the skies each year without being observed by an FAA inspector. FAA inspectors are supposed to observe new pilots in their first few flights, but the agency often leaves that to the airlines, inspectors said.

Members of the House Transportation subcommittee on aviation expressed concern about the FAA's performance.

"Everybody believes the system is either broken or just not working well," said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y. "God forbid the next time we have a safety problem or incursion."

FAA administrator Jane Garvey defended the system, telling the panel: "I think we made some progress. I do not in any way suggest that we're fully there yet, but I'll keep working on it."

Old 1st Apr 2001, 04:16
  #2 (permalink)  
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I'll buy into the FAA problems, if they can account for their ability to ascertain under-funding, while squandering the money in some areas, then being unable to account for the money in the first place - per a GAO investigation.

Worse, what excuse do they offer for not indulging in the no-cost items such as enforcing CRM and crew rest regulations.
Old 1st Apr 2001, 10:26
  #3 (permalink)  
Squawk 8888
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A government agency claiming to be underfunded could hardly be considered news. An agency claiming it's getting enough money from us working stiffs, now that would merit a few headlines!

Nuke the rainforest- it's more efficient than logging.
Old 1st Apr 2001, 17:43
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I suspect the funding limitation to be in concert with the change in USA law which removed the FAA safety resonsibility in favor of allowing them to turn their heads with the advantage of 'plausible assertion / denial.' Thus, profits took their sacred place.

Notice that Mineta proposed two danger-zone moves to push the safety envelope in the 'no foul' on ATC for crowding aircraft and the thunderstorm delay.

In the USA, when ATC shuts down operations for thunderstorms, they are doing aircraft a very legitimate favor.

[This message has been edited by SKYDRIFTER (edited 02 April 2001).]

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