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Sabatini's Senate Testimony Claiming NATCA Involvement on New Procedure Is Misleading - (4/17/2008)

WASHINGTON – Just two days after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee accused him of providing “inaccurate and misleading testimony,” at an April 3 hearing, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Nicholas A. Sabatini, told the Senate Aviation Subcommittee on April 10 that the FAA is “seeking input” from NATCA on revamping policies for tower controllers issuing taxi clearances to aircraft.   

There’s only one problem with Sabatini’s testimony: The FAA offered NATCA the opportunity to provide input AFTER a special panel was held to discuss the taxi clearance issue. 

“This is like offering table scraps to the dog while the dishes are being cleaned but claiming the dog was invited to dinner,” NATCA President Patrick Forrey said. 

Forrey said this is the latest example of the FAA snubbing controllers on virtually everything that happens in regards to new or revised procedures and equipment. 

“The FAA has received bipartisan criticism from Congress for not involving us in both modernization and in matters of changing procedures and practices designed to make the system safer,” Forrey said. “It’s been three years now since the FAA abruptly and unwisely ended a successful initiative, in which we sent controllers to serve as technical liaisons on dozens of modernization projects and new procedures. It’s long past time for the FAA to re-start this program. These relationships are critically important, because when controllers are not involved, safety problems occur.”

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