Friday, April 18, 2008

Fears of flying

News this week that hundreds of planes were grounded because of maintenance lapses at major U.S. airlines means the Federal Aviation Administration has joined the growing list of federal agencies doing a lousy job in the Bush administration. The poor performance of the U.S. government under President Bush goes far beyond the ill-planned wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the loss of standing in the world community, the easily preventable mortgage crisis and the humiliatingly botched response to Hurricane Katrina. Now, we're just beginning to find out that the FAA stopped doing its job years ago and was leaving it up to the airlines to inspect and fix their own planes without serious oversight. Testifying before a Senate subcommittee Thursday, acting FAA administrator Robert Sturgell indicated self-inspection was the way the system was designed to work. "I do not want the FAA to be the quality-control unit for each airline," Sturgell told a Senate appropriations panel. "I want them to check quality control." Even though having airlines do their own inspections is an obvious conflict of interest, it's still better than having no one inspect planes, which was what the FAA was doing. The FAA hadn't checked the inspection records of Southwest Airlines for 10 years, an investigation revealed. The whistleblower, a transportation department inspector named General Calvin Scovel, testified about an "overly collaborative" relationship between airline maintenance personnel and FAA management in Dallas regarding compliance with FAA safety directives. Maintenance lapses at Southwest triggered an increase in inspections nationwide that also revealed lapses at American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other carriers.


eclaire said...

Seems to me that we are paying Agencies for not doing their work. Since the employees get automatic raises and the expectation is that they are supposed to be working, why can we not get tax refunds when the work is not being done? we can return merchandise to any store, we can dock employees who abuse their time off, etc., etc. Why can't we have at least the same recourse. It's supposed to be a government "of the people, by the people and for the PEOPLE"

Anonymous said...

Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell and his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continue to subject Americans to a steady-stream of jumbo-jet aircraft near-misses, unsuspecting flights on defective and unsafe airplanes, and other near- and actual disasters such as a recent fiery explosive crash in Moab Utah in which 10 innocent people were killed. Taken together, aviation mishaps are in epic numbers since Bobby Sturgell took over as Acting FAA Administrator over a year ago, as borne out by current NTSB accident statistics themselves:

Recent FAA-floated publicity balloons faux-touting claimed new technologies, ‘going green’, ‘perfect flights’, and stories of how ‘carefully’ FAA self-reviews, are only superficial charades intended to placate and distract the American people. The bottom line? Bobby Sturgell’s fake regulatory agency FAA continues to tell us it is somehow OK for FAA and the airlines, whilst back-slapping each other, to enlist publicists to tell Americans that air travel was ‘never safer’. Meanwhile planes continue to fall apart in un-inspected disrepair, FAA management is exposed as criminally threatening dutiful aviation inspectors, and passengers along with innocent others on the ground are continually put in harm’s way. FAA is a ghoulish and grotesque revival of the Oberstar-decried, Schiavo-decried ‘Tombstone Agency’ - the taped-up-in-red embodiment of the notion that ‘If the plane doesn’t crash, we’re doing great’ - the notion that a federal agency is not required to anticipate and navigate around safety problems, but only react if there are one or more tombstones.

There are 10 more tombstones in Moab, Utah.

How many more will YOU tolerate?

Those passengers were innocent Americans.

Quiet Rockland again asks all members of the United States Congress, journalists, the aviation community, all other American citizens on each side of the aisle, and all other world citizens to ‘Just Say No’ to Bobby Sturgell, and help repopulate the FAA with responsible officials for a change.

Quiet Rockland