Dedicated Federal Employees Keep Air Traffic Moving During Major Power Outage

Routine Maintenance Checks Ensure Efficiency of Aviation System

Mar 03, 2008, 00:00 ET from Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO

    WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tuesday's power outage
 across South Florida did not impact air traffic in the area due to the work
 performed everyday by dedicated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
 employees, said the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO
 (PASS), the union that represents FAA technicians. The important jobs
 performed by FAA technicians behind the scenes helped to ensure that the
 FAA facilities in the area moved to backup power and the outage did not
 affect area air traffic.
     "The professionalism of these employees and their commitment to making
 sure systems and equipment are maintained properly is the reason that Miami
 air traffic did not experience significant issues," said PASS National Vice
 President Mike Perrone. When the power outage was reported, FAA technicians
 quickly assessed the situation. While facilities had switched to backup
 power, technicians did notice some minor issues, which if left unattended
 could have resulted in a major mechanical failure. The swift response by
 FAA technicians and the seamless transition to backup power allowed the
 towers in the area and Miami Center to continue operations uninterrupted,
 and there was no loss of communication with aircraft.
     The Miami Center is maintained by trained and certified FAA employees
 with in-depth knowledge of the equipment and systems that make up the
 National Airspace System (NAS). Despite repeated examples of the expertise
 of these federal employees throughout the country, the FAA continues to
 search for new ways to contract out as much of this work as possible. "The
 example in Miami shows how smoothly things can run if FAA employees are on
 hand to attend to the issue," said Perrone. "These employees understand how
 everything fits together within the NAS and how their work impacts the
 entire system. As opposed to private contractors who focus on just one
 piece of equipment, FAA technicians feel a strong sense of ownership over
 the entire process.
     "The reliability and efficiency of these systems is vital to safe air
 travel and cannot be compromised by turning it over to contractors,"
 continued Perrone. "It is critical that this work remain in the hands of
 dedicated FAA technicians, whose number one mission is to ensure the safety
 of the flying public."
     PASS represents more than 11,000 employees of the Federal Aviation
 Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support
 and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and
 oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight
 procedures, and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems For more
 information, visit the PASS website at

SOURCE Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO