Congress Takes A Look At Aviation Safety
All of these issues were on the agenda for a wide-ranging meeting on aviation safety held yesterday afternoon in Washington by the House Aviation Subcommittee. However, immediate concerns over air traffic control stemming from last month's fatal Comair crash in Kentucky took precedence. The lawmakers "attacked" the FAA, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. They were concerned that lack of staffing may have been a factor in the Aug. 27 crash, which killed 49 people. "The FAA has yet to address its staffing problems. That is a safety issue," said Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky. The FAA's Nicholas Sabatini said the FAA was tackling its staffing problems. The FAA has said that while a second controller should have been on duty, that controller's job would have been on the radar scope, not monitoring ground traffic. "My primary message to you today is that despite the tragic accident that took place in Lexington, Kentucky last month, the safety record of aviation in the United States is extraordinary," Sabatini said. Other issues on the committee's agenda for the hearing were commercial air carrier and general aviation safety, emergency medical service flights, air tours, runway safety, aging aircraft, fuel-tank safety, foreign repair stations, air traffic controller staffing, FAA inspection programs, unmanned aerial systems, very light jets, and commercial space tourism. Officials from the FAA, the NTSB and the Office of Inspector General testified.