Agency: D/FW air traffic management covering up mistakes

Jul. 12--Air traffic controllers who watch over North Texas skies are repeatedly allowing airplanes to fly into situations that could result in a crash -- and upper management is systematically shifting the blame to the pilots involved, according to an...

--Feb. 7, 2007: An aircraft departing D/FW was told to climb to 10,000 feet. The pilot misunderstood the clearance and told the controller he was climbing to 5,000 feet. Meanwhile, a Southwest Airlines flight departed Dallas Love Field, and the two airplanes headed toward one another south of the airport. The pilot of the original aircraft was held accountable for missing the proper altitude. But the controller was not held accountable for failing to ensure that the pilot read back the right clearance or correct altitude, as required.

--Oct. 10, 2006: A business jet was heading southwest into Dallas Love Field. A small private airplane was heading south, and they were on a converging course. The controller needed the business jet to descend rapidly to get below the private plane. When the business jet didn't descend quickly enough, the controller turned the private plane in a different direction to avoid a midair collision. The controller should have told the business jet to descend more quickly or let the pilots of the two planes know there was the possibility of a collision. No operational error was filed.

Source: Report of Disclosures Referred for Investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel

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