Where FAA Sees Roses in New Telecommunications System, Controllers and Technicians Feel the Pain of Thorns

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite a rosy picture painted Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) network is unreliable, lacking suitable backups, and continues to be a source of great frustration and deep concern for the FAA technicians and air traffic controllers who must deal with the fallout of the FAA’s decision to cut corners and costs on this project and run it on the razor’s edge despite a lengthy list of failures and outages.

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33 Senators Call for FAA Action Regarding Inadequate Staffing of Technicians

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Friday, 33 members of the U.S. Senate sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell questioning the inadequate staffing levels of the FAA technical workforce. The letter validates numerous and repeated concerns about technical staffing raised by the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO, the union that represents 11,000 employees at the FAA including technicians who install, maintain and certify systems and equipment in the National Airspace System (NAS).

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FAA Inspectors Union Applauds Foreign Repair Station Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today introduced the Safe Aviation Facilities Ensure Aircraft Integrity and Reliability Act of 2008 calling for more strict oversight of foreign repair stations, and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO, the union that represents more than 11,000 FAA employees, including aviation safety inspectors, are commending the action. PASS National President Tom Brantley released the following statement regarding the bill:

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FAA Inspector Receives Award for his Efforts to Elevate Safety Concerns at Northwest Airlines

BOSTON, MA – Mark Lund, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) member who uncovered serious safety issues during the August 2005 aircraft mechanics strike at Northwest Airlines, was honored today by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). When the FAA failed to address his safety concerns and instead became more interested with discrediting him as an inspector, Lund enlisted the aid of former Sen. Mark Dayton, who helped to engage the Inspector General (IG) to conduct an independent review of Lund’s concerns and possible mistreatment by the FAA. In October 2007, the IG validated Lund’s concerns and admonished the FAA for its treatment of him during this time. The IG report concluded that the FAA needed improved internal procedures to ensure that “comprehensive, independent investigations of safety allegations and recommendations are consistently performed.”

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FAA’s Telecommunications System Now Affecting International Air Travel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last Friday's telecommunications outage in Toronto, Canada, is the latest in a long series of outages according to the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the union that represents Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technicians.  Now that the international operations are being impacted, PASS is left wondering if the FAA will finally feel compelled to address serious deficiencies in Harris Corporation's Federal Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI), which provides circuitry and communications by the FAA.

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