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Entries in house appropriations subcommittee (1)

Wednesday
Apr062011

FAA Chief says Investigation Discovered 2nd Air Traffic Control Incident 

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, FAA Chief Randy Babbitt revealed the group discovered an additional incident similar to the situation at  Reagan National Airport last month when pilots were unable to make contact with the air traffic controller on the ground.

“I’m disappointed to say in our investigation, we did find another incident different from this one,” Babbitt said.  “It was unfortunately willful, and we are in the process of disciplinary proceedings which will terminate this employee.”

Babbitt did not offer further information about the location or date of this incident.  Babbitt expressed disappointment in the Reagan incident and stressed the FAA’s dedication to ensuring a similar incident does not occur in the future.

“I was outraged personally at that lapse, and the controller has been suspended from operational duties.  Furthermore, we’ve taken several steps to ensure that a similar incident will not happen again,” Babbitt said.  “Bottom line, I am determined that we will not repeat this unacceptable incident.” 

In addition to the situation at Reagan National Airport, Babbitt addressed concerns surrounding the Southwest scare this last week, emphasizing the need for inspections to determine the safety of aging aircraft.

“Make no mistake, Friday’s event was very serious, but I want to make absolutely certain that what we learn from this accident gets incorporated into  our requirements for reviewing aging aircraft,” Babbitt said.  ““I want the traveling public to be assured that the system that they fly in and the airplanes that they fly in meet the highest levels of safety.”

Earlier this week, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive ordering the inspection of airplanes with 30,000 flight cycles to be completed within 20 days of the AD, and airplanes with 35,000 total flight cycles or more must be inspected within five days of the AD.

In addition to the safety concerns surrounding air traffic controllers and aging aircraft, Babbitt assured the committee that a looming government shutdown would not jeopardize the safety of the air transportation system.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio