ATC training, staffing may cause errors

Discussion in 'Blogstand' started by sobore, Jun 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    While fatigue has attracted the most attention as a cause of the recent well publicized air traffic controller errors, the Transportation Department’s top watchdog suggests that training and staffing may also play a large part.

    According to DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel III, his office found that some facilities have a significant percentage of their workforce in training or eligible to retire. He cautioned that in more than 20 facilities, a lack of certified controllers could require curtailment of operations and could affect the entire National Airspace System.

    For example, at the Denver Tracon 43 percent of the workforce is in training; that figure is 39 percent at La Guardia tower. “We are reviewing the FAA’s plans to provide its critical facilities with appropriate controller staffing, training resources and other support necessary to ensure continuity of facility operations,” Scovel told a Senate panel late last month. “We expect to report on our results later this year.”

    Meanwhile, the FAA will be hiring and training 11,000 new controllers through Fiscal Year 2020. “However, our work shows the FAA’s placement process does not adequately consider new controllers’ knowledge, skills and abilities when assigning them to ATC facilities, and expected innovations to improve the quality and timeliness of controller training have not been realized,” Scovel said.

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