A close call between two planes over Houston is just the latest in a recent string of near misses at America's airports. The FAA is investigating. But why are we hearing about so many troubling cases now? Rene Marsh reports.
CNN safety analyst David Soucie spoke to Wolf about the challenges air traffic controllers are facing as more flights are being scheduled.
The storm forced the cancelation of thousands of flights across the country. CNN Aviation Correspondent gets an inside look at how the FAA is working to get passengers flying to their destinations.
John Roberts | BIO
CNN Anchor, "American Morning"
A supervisor and an air traffic controller at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport are on administrative leave after one apparently brought his young child to work and the child communicated with planes on an air traffic control frequency, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.
The two tower employees were placed on leave pending the outcome of an FAA investigation into last month's incident that already is under way, the FAA said in a written statement.
"This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in the statement.
[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/06/03/db.plane.nav.tracking/art.gsp.jpg" caption="The FAA is developing new technology to track air traffic via satellite."]
Federal Aviation Administration
– What is NextGen? –
NextGen is an umbrella term for the ongoing, wide-ranging transformation of the United States’ national airspace system (NAS). At its most basic level, NextGen represents an evolution from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. This evolution is vital to meeting future demand, and avoid to gridlock in the sky and at our nation’s airports.
NextGen will open America’s skies to continued growth and increased safety while reducing aviation’s environmental impact.
These goals will be realized through the development of aviation-specific applications for existing, widely-used technologies such as Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). They will also be realized through the fostering of technological innovation in areas such as weather forecasting, data networking, and digital communications. Hand in hand with state-of-the-art technology will be new airport infrastructure and new procedures, including the shifting of certain decision-making responsibility from the ground to the cockpit.
When fully implemented, NextGen will safely allow more aircraft to fly more closely together on more direct routes, reducing delays, and providing unprecedented benefits for the environment and the economy through reductions in carbon emissions, fuel consumption, and noise.
Read more about NextGen and new innovative initiatives from the FAA to revamp air traffic control.
If you fly every week, or sometimes three times a week, like I do, you must be wondering “what is going on?” Day after day another report of aircraft being grounded, inspections missed and safety warnings being issued.
It’s no different on this story, only this warning is coming straight from the cockpit. American Airlines pilots are telling us they are losing faith in the safety of their aircraft, and the fear is American Airlines is a trendsetter in the industry.
Tonight, we report on one specific problem: landing nose gear that won’t retract into the aircraft after take off. At American there have been nearly 2 dozen of these incidents in just the past month. And though American Airlines tells us it is not a major concern, Captain Sam Mayer will tell you how he nearly had a catastrophic event take place when his landing gear incident led to much more serious problems on a freezing day in Minneapolis.
Editor's note: Check out Drew Griffin's report on CNN.com.
He'll have the full story tonight on 360° at 10p ET.
FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) – Regulators have largely ignored a series of dangerous incidents in which cockpit windshields in commercial airliners shattered in mid-flight, sometimes forcing emergency landings, according to an American Airlines pilots' group.
Since 2004, at least 10 windshields have had problems on Boeing 757s, mostly the result of wiring problems with windshield heaters that cause smoke to fill the cockpit and sometimes make those windshields crack, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Four incidents have been on American Airlines planes, the NTSB says.
An American Airlines flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made an emergency landing on January 30 this year after the cockpit filled with smoke.
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If you’ve been following the story about Southwest Airlines grounding its planes today, I thought you might like to learn why the folks in congress are actually more upset about the FAA’s oversight of Southwest than about Southwest itself.
In a nutshell, The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee actually found itself doing the FAA's work: oversight of an airline. Two FAA inspectors came to the committee with documents, records and a tale of slack compliance that stunned congressional investigators. What the documents showed was Southwest was allowed to fly planes beyond mandatory deadline inspections because an FAA manager was concerned about Southwest’s ability to meet its flight schedule.
That was happening a year ago. Now, we’re learning its happening again. Southwest grounded 44 planes last night until it could re-inspect them for cracks. The inspections should have already taken place but apparently, once again, the schedule was allowed to slide.
Here’s why the chair of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D) Minnesota is so mad: “The action by Southwest Airlines raises serious questions about where the FAA adequately followed up on the discovery a year ago that Southwest had failed to make required inspections.”
Oberstar made those comments while recovering from hip surgery. He expects to be back in Washington DC next month to hold hearings on the FAA. He may have a pain in his side now. But I bet he’s about to become a real pain in the backside of the FAA when his committee starts asking how this happened.
– Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent