...FAA Pats Self On Back

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The NTSB criticism comes a couple of days after FAA officials patted themselves on the back for some improvements made in the last year. In launching its annual "Flight Plan," the five-year road map for the agency, officials noted that crashes had declined and the FAA was handling more air traffic more efficiently. But the agency also told reporters there's trouble ahead as declining revenue from airline tickets and increased traffic resulting from the switch to smaller airliners combine to create a classic conundrum. "I think things are coming together in a bad way," said Ken Mead, the Department of Transportation's Inspector General. But even though the contents of the report paint a troubling picture, the report itself is a shining example of how to bring these things to light, at least according to the Association for Strategic Planning. The California group awarded the FAA its Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award for the "Flight Plan" issued at this time last year. "This award and other recent recognition should change perceptions that it is not business as usual at the FAA," said Administrator Marion Blakey.