NATCA Defends FAA Supervisors In Coverup Probe

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has leapt to the defense of supervisors at the Elgin radar facility near Chicago in a probe by the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General. The Elgin facility is one of several being investigated for alleged cover-ups of controller errors involving minor losses of separation in traffic in and out of O'Hare and Midway airports. NATCA spokesman David Stock said the problem is in Washington, not at the facilities. "FAA management in Washington has the technology to know about every loss of separation in every facility across the country as soon as it occurs," Stock told the Chicago Tribune. "To blame local managers for 'covering up' losses of separation is the height of hypocrisy."

Stock told the Tribune that the Elgin probe centers on three incidents in which FAA supervisors allegedly shifted the blame for loss of separation to pilots. There was never any danger to any aircraft, according to Stock. What bothers Daniel Petree, a professor and dean of the college of business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach campus is that there might be a culture in the FAA "conducive to managers deliberately failing to report errors."