9.20.2006

Fear of Flying

The FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, wants to control this country’s air traffic controllers the way corporate America controls its workforce.

In other words, the FAA wants to use fewer people to work longer hours and handle more planes while paying them less money.

A report in today’s New York Times relates how the government wants to reduce air traffic controllers by ten percent and have those retaining their jobs work on screen longer. The current regulation mandates controllers work no longer than two hours without a break.

The FAA has also instituted a dress code...this for people who work at light levels that border on near darkness. Controllers who routinely work in dark windowless rooms are now prevented from wearing jeans, sneakers and t-shirts with big letters on them.

The rule changes went into effect on Sept 3rd, two days after the plane crash at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport killing all on board but the copilot. The plane crashed after attempting take off from the wrong runway. First reports say the control tower was staffed by one person doing the work of two people, pulling a double shift, with only two hours of sleep between shifts.

I’ve had a fear of flying since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers in 1980 during a successful attempt to break the union.

Just call me John Madden or Aretha Franklin, cause I’m probably never going to set foot inside an airport again unless I’m picking up a relative with more guts or fewer smarts than me.
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