Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Editorial: FAA Under Threat

FAA New Boss To Break Mold?
by Paul Berge

Not the mold found in Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) walls, poisoning air traffic controllers and boosting NATCA recruiting efforts--instead, according to a copyrighted story in today's NY Times the new FAA Administrator might, maybe, could be...a pilot!

Not if I can help it, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) seems to warn in a statement: “The past administration at the FAA failed the American traveler at every turn..." Schumer seemed to imply (or HFT seems to infer) that the FAA's long tradition of non-aviation types at the helm should continue. "After all," a former FAA employee speaking from a cab stand at NY's LaGuardia Airport, where all flights had been cancelled due to poor weather in Billings, Montana, "the last FAA Administrator (Marion C. Blakey) wasn't a pilot, and before her, Jane F. Garvey certainly didn't know a prop from a tail cone, so why should the Federal Aviation Administration flip-flop at this vital juncture and pick some know-it-all flyboy type to run the world's biggest aviation system?" He then cut short the interview to take a fare into Manhattan.

The rumored candidate for the top FAA post is Robert A. Sturgell, currently the acting administrator and formerly second in command (SIC) under the recently-departed (administratively speaking) Blakey. Sturgell, a former airline and US Navy pilot, faces a tough, as they say in Washington media circles, uphill battle for confirmation. Up that Hill, Senator Schumer has built a political career on the FAA's incompetence, so any chance that a knowledgeable administrator (read: a pilot) might undue the FAA's history of, as Schumer says, "...(failing) the American traveler at every turn," would seem to remove the hot air from the Schumer's balloon.

"Mr. Sturgell," Schumer continued in his statement, "has a heavy burden upon him to prove that he will do things differently.” Given the current administration's history of incompetence and failure, it's unlikely, anyone can do worse.

1 comment:

jtormey3 said...

Citizens in Rockland County, New York – as well as citizens in New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and elsewhere – were mouth-agape aghast while watching “Bobby” Sturgell’s evasive and false under-oath testimony and answers on Thursday, February 7, 2008, to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. We have thanked Congress for making Mr. Sturgell’s webcast testimony and the proceedings available to all of us, real-time, and now archived, through RealPlayer software, on the Senate website.

“Bobby” Sturgell arrogantly insulted Senators Boxer, McCaskill, and Lautenberg – among all of the rest of us - with his persistent utter refusal to answer the most simple of direct “Yes or No” questions. Sturgell made Watergate conspirators sound like they testified on sodium pentothal, by comparison. Senator McCaskill asked the core essential question: “Do you think air traffic controller fatigue was a contributing factor[?]” to runway incursion mishaps – and the slipperiest of eels, the eel of Sturgell, the Sturg-eel – sought to squirm away with the scripted slime of non-answers.

“Bobby” Sturgell, acting FAA head for three months, testified that he had no prior knowledge of the San Diego aircraft near-miss a few weeks ago?


Sturgell testified that he had no prior knowledge of recent Newark, NJ departures flying out in the wrong direction in the past few weeks?


“Bobby” Sturgell’s nomination as proposed FAA Administrator should not be confirmed. Instead, after he first personally apologizes to Senators Boxer, McCaskill, and Lautenberg, “Bobby” Sturgell should then be INDICTED - for contempt of Congress, for rendering perjured testimony under oath, and for already putting millions of otherwise-innocent and unsuspecting Americans in harm’s way. I have now faxed every Senator on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, asking them to please refer this matter to the AG, IG, GAO, and a Special Prosecutor – and to please now cook this eel.

John J. Tormey III, Esq.