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Transportation inspector discusses flight problems on Capitol Hill

May 27, 2011, 08:35 am

As the number of air traffic controller incidents continues to grow, the Department of Transportation's inspector general presented a rising number of problems before the Senate subcommittee on Aviation Operation, Safety and Security this week, ABC reports.

General Calvin Scovel told the senators that the Federal Aviation Administration is having difficulties identifying the cause of operational errors. They are also struggling to mitigate fatigue, staff air traffic control facilities and train new controllers, according to the news source.

Pilot's life insurance policies may cover people that are involved in an accident due to traffic controller failure, but experts believe they should not have to.

"Until FAA takes action to develop comprehensive data... conduct astute trend analyses, and develop timely action plans to address controller workforce risks and vulnerabilities, FAA cannot ensure it has a sufficient number of alert, competent, and certified controllers needed to effectively manage the challenges of the next generation of air traffic control," Scovel said.

The number of operational errors by controllers shot up by 53 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the FAA. While this may be a result of improved reporting policies, the administration does not have a positive track record when it comes to the oversight of these errors, the DOT reports.  

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