What's Really Wrong with ATC?

EDITORIAL. Hardly a week passes that we don't hear news coverage of outages of obsolete equipment, staffing shortages, cost overruns, funding problems, and controller "burnout" from the stressful, high-intensity nature of the job. But such stories miss the point entirely. What's really wrong with ATC is that the morale among the men and women at the scopes and mics is at an all-time low, perhaps worse today than in 1981 when the ill-advised PATCO strike and ensuing mass controller firings paralyzed U.S. aviation and changed the face of ATC in this country forever. Without a monumental change in FAA management culture, it could happen again soon.

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