The Federal Aviation Administration’s administrator declared on Wednesday that precautions had been made to prevent another technical failure like the one that temporarily prevented all planes throughout the country from taking off last month.
To prevent a further failure in a federal system that feeds pilots with safety alerts, acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen said he had established a committee to assess efforts to maintain aviation safety.
The senators on the Senate Commerce Committee grilled Nolen on previous close calls involving flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, in Austin, Texas, and off the coast of Hawaii.
They also questioned Nolen about the FAA’s poor progress updating the alert system.
In a video reenactment of the Austin event, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demonstrated how a FedEx freight plane crossed over a departing Southwest Airlines flight.
The exact runway had been authorized for both aircraft. Just in time to prevent a collision, the FedEx pilots decided to abandon their landing.
“How is this possible?
Cruz enquired. “How could air traffic control order one plane to take off from the runway while another one landed, keeping them both only 100 feet apart? ”
Nolen stated that his organization and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the incident, but he argued that the fact that the planes avoided colliding proves that the country’s airspace is secure.
It is not what we would have anticipated having happened, but when we consider how we teach both our controllers and our pilots, the system functions as it is intended to avert what you say might have been a tragic conclusion, Nolen said.
“Whether it's replacing the term “mother” with “birthing person,” or creating a new checkbox on passports…this administration's desire to signal its pic.twitter.com/va42AlEIbH… https://t.co/ONuKOREr9b
— Tea Party Patriots (@TPPatriots) February 15, 2023