EXCLUSIVE: Congressman seeks answers from FAA after PIX11 ‘Air Rage’ investigation

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) — “What is going on? Look are people who have been responsible for deadly crashes still out there behind the scope — doing air traffic control — we need to know that.”

U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney says he is going to take action? And in a rare form of D.C politics he is actually doing it?

The Congressman out of New York’s 18th district sent to a letter of inquiry to the head of the FAA, administrator Michael Huerta, on Monday.

Rep. Maloney, who is a member of the House Aviation subcommittee, told PIX11 News at his district office in Newburgh that he wants answers. This is all a result of PIX11 News bombshell reports from last week in which a four-month long investigation uncovered more than a dozen controllers that were back in FAA towers or centers after being a contributing factor to deadly crashes.

All this after the U.S. Government paid out more than $100 million dollars as a result of several of the crashes that PIX11 News examined.

FAA1

“The public has a right to know when they’re flying on a plane whether it’s being monitored by an air traffic controller that may have been responsible for a crash,” said a concerned Rep. Maloney.

“The most important thing is we find out, why are people still working if they’ve been responsible for someone’s death?” he added.

Maloney then quickly brought up a parallel utilizing the Metro-North line, saying that that this would never happen if a Metro-North engineer was responsible for causing people’s deaths before pivoting back to what PIX11 News revealed in its investigation.

“We need to know how many people who are out there working who shouldn’t be, and there needs to be accountability, and it can be fair, but we need to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Asked what will happen if he does not receive the answers he wants, Rep. Maloney said, “Let’s give them a chance to answer, but if we don’t get the answers, believe me they are going to hear it from me.”

PIX11 News has exclusively received a copy of the letter U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney sent to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

It begins as follows, “I write to you today to express my serious concerns about a recent report by PIX11 News,” Rep. Maloney writes.

The congressman and member of the House Aviation subcommittee then adds: “Their investigation into air traffic controllers has uncovered some disturbing facts.”

Maloney is seeking answers to the following questions:

  • “What is the procedure for a FAA investigation following an incident or an accident?  What corrective actions are taken and how are they recorded?”
  • “How many employees’ actions have been considered contributing factors in accident reports?”
  • “What specific accountability regulations exist for employees involved in a serious or deadly accident?  How are these regulations enforced?”
  • “What determines whether an air traffic controller is temporarily or permanently removed from their air traffic control duties?”
  • “What types of error have been considered the result of “gross negligence” in incidents or accidents involving air traffic controllers?”
  • “What transparency measures exist when the FAA investigates an accident?”

PIX11 News raised many of these questions to the FAA during its investigation only to receive no answers.

After PIX11 News’ initial set of reports, the agency provided a statement that PIX 11 News has since posted online. The statement failed to answer many of the initial questions.

Maloney in his letter acknowledges the “tireless efforts of the thousands of men and women working as air traffic controllers who work diligently to ensure our safety,” only to finish by addressing Huerta directly: “I look forward to your response.”

The letter was copied to Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The FAA on Tuesday responded to PIX11 News’ inquiry on Rep. Maloney’s letter with the following statement:

“The FAA will review the letter from the Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and will respond directly to the congressman.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.