I don’t always agree with what he has to say, but Rob Mark can be an interesting read and he is genuinely concerned about aviation safety. Check out his latest on Jetwhine about controllers and overtime. More specifically, check out what controllers have to say “splain”-ing it to him. If the FAA says something, the odds are they are twisting the facts to hide their own shortcomings.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t matter whether or not a controller (or inspector, for that matter) “volunteers” for overtime, they will be assigned it if the Agency (not us) deems it necessary – that makes it mandatory. Questions the flying public and Congress should be getting answers to are:
WHY is so much overtime is necessary nowadays to continue running air traffic in the United States?
WHY are controllers retiring at a rate of 1 every 9 hours – the overwhelming majority well before their mandatory retirement age?
WHY does the Agency continue to spout the rhetoric that it’s safe to have controllers work regularly sixty-hour workweeks, just because they supposedly volunteer for it?
HOW and WHY did the Agency put itself get into this position?
WHY are they continuing on the same course?
WHAT is going to take before YOU, Congress and the flying public, take some concrete, meaningful action to change it? It’s quite obvious the Agency has no intention of doing so.
It won’t be any comfort at all to the controllers in this nation for us to be able to say “I told you so” when something catastrophic occurs. Our entire worklives revolve around averting those types of situations.
Maybe another question you should ask is why so many controllers are spending so much of their personal lives (that isn’t eaten up by the mandatory overtime) warning of the risks and dangers. Are we really just crying wolf or are we warning of the wolf in sheep’s clothing decimating the flock at an alarming rate?