A report showing that air traffic controller errors have doubled in a year's time has Congress looking to take action. Reported errors rose from 947 in 2009 to 1900 in 2010. But should passengers be worried? Tempe aviation law attorney Mike Pearson has stated that these statistics could be misleading on paper. Some changes in the airline industry and the air traffic controller profession in the last 2 years could actually account for the spike, rather than an actual increase in air traffic controller errors.
With thousands of planes in the air every day, it is impossible to completely prevent human error—although Pearson calls the attempt to do so "admirable." Despite air traffic controllers always being supervised closely on the job, mistakes can and do happen. However, Pearson points to recent changes in error reporting by the FAA, which allows errors—or even potential errors—to be reported without fear of punishment. Since errors are now easier to report, and it is more likely that lesser errors will be reported, the jump in the number of reported errors may lead many to falsely believe that more errors are actually taking place.
As an additional factor, Pearson added that a new technology to determine plane proximity that is now in use could have also contributed to the rise in reported errors. And looking at the numbers alone is a little misleading; only very few of the reported errors were the sort of serious errors that require a pilot to take action to avoid an airplane crash or injuries.
Pearson said that, ultimately, these statistics alone shouldn't deter passengers from flying.
Arizona airplane wreck attorney Mike Pearson serves the Arizona community as an experienced trial lawyer, law professor, and 27-year veteran air traffic controller. Take a look at his informative book Aviation Accidents: What You Really Need to Know for more information. We would be happy to speak with you today about your legal needs and answer your questions. Give us a call today at 1-888-929-5292, and schedule a completely free, no-pressure consultation with a skilled Arizona aviation law attorney.