Controller Mistakes In Dallas Misclassified, Now Forgiven

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Thursday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirmed that local managers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport air traffic control center had hidden controller mistakes ... and that makes it twice in three years. The FAA has responded by initiating an amnesty program to help make sure the errors are properly reported and resolved. Controllers are being told they may now report any unsafe situations without concern of reprisal, which some feel risks retention of sub-par controllers. Local managers have been assigned responsibility for the misclassifications, but it seems FAA administrators at the facility may have escaped blame.

The report showed that the local air traffic control managers had masked the real safety issues facing DFW air traffic control by active misclassification of some 62 errors from 2005 through 2007. Two of those errors were falsely blamed on pilots. The Office of Inspector General for the Department of transportation has attributed those safety issues to the negligence and incompetence of the local ATC managers. For its part, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association feels the report absolves its members and points to a failure on the part of FAA management.