How Safe Is U.S. Aviation?

The safest in the world. So safe that people take it for granted. When was the last time you saw someone actually paying attention to the flight attendants’ safety demonstration before takeoff? And the flight crew certainly makes sure your seat is in the upright position and your smartphone is turned off during landings.

So what about this letter from the Office of Special Counsel to the White House? It was released May 8 and describes a “pattern of failure” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Department to respond to whistleblowers’ allegations. Some of these accusations seem pretty serious:

  • Controllers sleeping, watching movies and leaving early while on duty
  • Improper fuel tank maintenance and wiring by a major airline
  • FAA guidelines failure to guarantee safe separation for landing at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • Jets flying too close to each other in busy airports (Newark Liberty International Airport)

In fact, the special counselor’s office has received 178 disclosures, 87 of them safety-related, since 2007. Apparently, more disturbing than the safety allegations themselves is the slow response from the FAA to correct the problems.

Safety first, right? We wrote in our newsletter last August about how safe private jet travel is —even safer than commercial flights. You can read that here.

Did you like this? Share it!