Aviation Safety

Congress Moves to Reduce Risk of Midair Collisions Posed by Drones FairWarining Reports

Congress Moves to Reduce Risk of Midair Collisions Posed by Drones

Congress today sent to President Obama legislation to address the growing safety threat posed by thousands of drones entering the nation’s airspace. The safety measures are contained in a bill to continue the funding of the Federal Aviation Administration, whose legal authority is due to expire on Friday. The Senate today approved the legislation following…

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own FairWarining Reports

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own

For nearly five years, Darrell Whitman was a federal investigator who probed whistleblowers’ complaints about being fired or otherwise punished for exposing alleged corporate misconduct. He wanted to help whistleblowers, viewing them as a crucial line of defense against employers who violated health and safety standards or wasted taxpayer dollars. But now Whitman, 70, is…

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions FairWarining Investigates

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions

Editor’s note: See the update at the bottom of this story. On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about…

Long Commutes for Pilots May Mean Fatigue in the Cockpit, Study Says

Airline pilots who commute hundreds of miles to work might show up too exhausted to perform their jobs safely. That concern is raised by a National Research Council report that found that one in five airline pilots lives at least 750 miles from work. As the Associated Press reports, the study’s researchers looked at the home addresses of…

Tots on Planes Should Get Off Laps and Into Safety Seats, FAA Advises

Children weighing 40 pounds or less should sit in approved safety seats, rather than on their parents’ laps, when flying. That’s a key recommendation in a joint statement issued this week by the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Association of Flight Attendants. The FAA will continue, however, to allow children under age two to fly for free…

Increase in Near Collisions Blamed on Inexperienced Air Traffic Controllers

Federal authorities say that the deployment of inexperienced air traffic controllers at some of the nation’s busiest airports may explain the soaring number of near-collisions in American skies last year. As the Associated Press reports, the  Department of Transportation, which oversees air traffic through the Federal Aviation Administration, testified before a Senate subcommittee that the…

Discovered Watching a Film Instead of Planes, Controller Suspended

In the latest in a series of embarrassments involving air traffic controllers, a controller in Ohio was suspended  after being caught watching a movie on a DVD player while on the job. As reported by the Associated Press, the controller, who was working at an Oberlin, Ohio, site that handles high-altitude air traffic, unknowingly piped…

Metal Fatigue Ascends as an Issue With Aging Airliners

When a five-foot fuselage rupture suddenly opened shortly after takeoff during a Southwest Airlines flight this month, it also opened a window into a potentially serious problem in he American aviation industry: old planes getting worn out by the rigors of flying. As The New York Times reports, the nation faces a potential safety crisis…

Night Shift Air Controllers Often Flout No-Napping Rule

Recent revelations about napping nighttime air traffic controllers have sparked concern among American travelers and caused regulators to snap into action, but industry insiders say that the nodding off is not a matter of lazy workers loafing on the job. As current and retired controllers told the Associated Press, sleeping in the tower is not…

Snoozing Air Controllers Spur Decision to Add Staff on Night Shifts

After several incidents involving air traffic controllers caught sleeping on the job, federal authorities announced that a second air traffic controller will be added to night shifts at 27 sites around the nation. As the Associated Press reports, the latest case of sleeping on duty came early Wednesday morning in Reno, Nev., when a controller…