SMAAC to Minnesota Congressional Delegation: Make Airline and Airport Safety a Priority Issue!

"The FAA Safety (first?) and Efficiency (operations at minimum separations whenever possible) policy urgently needs revision." That is what the South Metro Airport Action Council told Minnesota's US Senators and Representatives today (2 Apr 2014) by Email.

The recent Asiana Airlines and NTSB public statements about the fatal July 2013 crash at San Francisco's International Airport confirmed serious problems with training for and use of flight automation systems, which can be in various states, neither "all functions on" nor "all functions off." See http://www.quiettheskies.org/smaacforum/index.php?topic=390.0

Stretching the FAA responsibility to foreign airlines operating in the U.S. is dicey, as is the FAA's tracking of systems anomalies and deficiencies. The FAA (and other Federal agencies such as DOD and NASA) are also responsible for tracing the cause of avionics systems failures to the aircraft and avionics manufacturers.

The public is kept unaware of the above difficulties. Most information as released is unnecessarily technical, full of industry jargon and acronyms, and only available months or years after a crash.

The Congress is more aware, but safety concerns rarely lead to budget increases or the acceleration of R&D or deployment by FAA or airlines, As both the designer of air traffic control and airport instrumentation and the regulator of how these systems are complemented in aircraft and used in practice, the FAA is severely challenged. Almost daily, specific risky incidents are reported, sorted for investigation, and no details are reported until long after the incident. The investigations are costly and only events involving fatalities are expected to be thoroughly investigated. -- many of these investigations remain inconclusive forever.


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