..."Can't Happen Again" Says FAA
The FAA claims it's learned from the incident. "We don't believe it can happen again," Linda Schuessler, vice president for system operations at the FAA, told the hearing. A direct feed from Washington-area air traffic control was to have been installed in the NCRCC. On June 9, the command post was getting a raw feed of radar images over the Internet and none of the manually added tags, like the one clearing the way for Fletcher's flight, were displayed. With the installation of the direct feed, the NCRCC staff will see exactly what controllers see. Aviation subcommittee chair Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said he couldn't believe that kind of miscommunication could have occurred. "It is both alarming and unacceptable that in the two and a half years since September 11, the federal and local agencies involved in airspace control and security have still not resolved simple coordination, communication and training issues," he said. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association blamed the incident on staff shortages. In a statement, President John Carr said that because of a shortage of controllers, the ADIZ monitoring position is filled with civilian contractors. "The situation most likely would have been avoided had a fully trained and certified federal air traffic controller been in that chair instead of a contract employee," Carr said. The FAA has dismissed NATCA's claim, saying the contractor was properly qualified.