FAA to Congress: FSS Still Needs Work
While pilots across the country continue to gripe about Lockheed Martin's handling of the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) contract, the FAA says it's taking corrective actions to ensure pilots get the information they need, according to a report submitted to Congress. Lost or misfiled flight plans and lackluster briefer knowledge of a pilot's proposed flying area top the list of grievances, according to the report. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association notes on its Web site that it pushed for congressional oversight of the AFSS program after pilots reported massive problems with system last summer. AOPA President Phil Boyer urged the FAA to provide regular updates on FSS performance, and FAA agreed to provide the House Aviation Subcommittee with a report every 90 days. The first such report was delivered on Jan. 30, and covers FSS activity from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2007.
The FAA says that calls are being routed to specialists with expertise in the calling pilot's area, not just to the next available briefer. Specialists are being offered bonuses if they train and qualify to handle multiple service areas. Still, the FAA is standing by its original target of saving $2.2 billion over the 13-year contract period. Lockheed Martin averaged 650,000 operations a month during the report period, and received a total of 1,724 complaints. Pilots can submit comments and complaints on the AFSS Web site or by calling 888-FLT-SRVC (888-358-7782).