After second near miss, controller removed from job

by nph | March 19th, 2012

March 16, 2012

After putting two planes on converging courses, an air traffic controller in Mississippi who nearly caused a midair collision last year has again been relieved of duty, according to MSNBC.

The case raises questions about whether employee rights are trumping safety at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

At the radar facility at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, the controller ordered a transport jet to increase its altitude to 3,000 feet and to adjust its heading.

According to an FAA employee with knowledge of the incident, that put the jet on a converging course with a twin-engine turboprop.

Another controller who had just been relieved from his shift was standing in the back of the radar room. He noticed the mistake and alerted the on-duty controller, who was then able to separate the planes, avoiding a possible collision.

A mistake by the same controller last June caused a regional airliner and a small plane to come within 300 feet of colliding with each other, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.

Investigators were told that the controller had been suspended several times for tardiness, absenteeism, and failure to report an arrest for driving under the influence, the NTSB report said.

How do you think the FAA should discipline this air traffice controller?

Read more.

If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.