State Of The FAA, 2005...

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Blakey Issues Annual "Report Card"

On Tuesday, the FAA released its latest version of its Flight Plan, setting strategy and priorities for the agency through 2010, and Administrator Marion Blakey made her annual "State of the FAA" speech to the staff, carried by satellite to field offices around the nation. She listed the FAA's achievements for 2005 -- coping with Hurricane Katrina, launching DRVSM (Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums), zero airline fatalities, and the privatization of Flight Service Stations. The failures were in lowering the GA accident rate and reducing reports of operational errors for Air Traffic Control. To improve the accident rate, she said, the FAA will continue to work with the GA Joint Steering Committee -- a government/industry group that studies accidents and makes recommendations to improve safety. To address the operational errors, Blakey said, "We are working to develop a metric that measures risk, not just number of errors. We're also working to develop an automated reporting system for the terminal area." An automated system would help develop a baseline and a more accurate and reliable source of information on how the system is performing, Blakey said. What she didn't say was that it would also relieve controllers of the responsibility for reporting errors. In the New York TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control), for example, reports of errors spiked earlier this year after the FAA imposed a new schedule aimed at slashing overtime at the facility.