Cleared for Takeoff

By

February 1, 1999

With a new leader and a clearer mission, the FAA may break through the technology turbulence and management miasma of the past.

Federal Aviation Administration managers must wonder what it takes to get respect. While overseeing half the world's air traffic (more than 1.7 million passengers a day) in the world's safest airspace, agency employees are aggressively pursuing a multiyear, multibillion-dollar air traffic control modernization. Within the past year, they have improved methods for detecting potential defects in aircraft engines, issued directives on suspect aircraft insulation barely two months after a foreign airline crash, disciplined airlines for hazardous materials violations, and ordered inspections of possibly faulty engines. They are conducting cutting-edge research and development in partnership with the aviation industry, fleshing out a revolutionary concept called "free flight" to head off future air traffic jams, and building innovative acquisition and personnel systems.

Despite these improvements, the media and other observers recently have reported that FAA:


By

February 1, 1999

http://www.govexec.com/magazine/1999/02/cleared-for-takeoff/6275/