Aircraft Accidents and Useful Data

Interesting article by one John Goglia yesterday. I’ve known John for fifteen years now and he is forever on the front line in bringing necessary aviation discussions to our attention.
But John is kind of like my older brother, who was always quicker on the draw to getting my father’s attention and perpetually stealing my thunder. If I got a ‘B’, he got an ‘A’; if I hit a single, my brother always rounded the bases. But with John, if I come up with a topic to discuss in my blog, John hits the idea first in a nationally recognized aviation website. Oh well, Deja vu all over again.
One of the fine points of the article is that the FAA should listen to ALL aviation people: ramp personnel, flight attendants, even (gasp) … pilots. This point can’t be emphasized enough; I can’t bold, italicize, underline or highlight this thought to a level required without having to rewrite the programming for WORD ©.
But there is one argument that should be stressed harder. The FAA needs to be listening to contract employees; they are a fact of the industry whose very purpose many people disagree on. Between contract maintenance, contract loaders and contract de-icers, etc. contractors are here to stay.
Several years ago I investigated an accident where contractors played a large part. It should be understood that while mainline airlines get passes from the FAA for disclosed problems, their contracted workers don’t enjoy that same safety net. As a result: punctured pressure vessels from belt loaders; incorrect parts installed; or a rudder strike while de-icing. Many events like these go unreported because a contractor fears for his/her job.
So, is the FAA paying adequate attention to their concerns? How about what they don’t say? And for that matter, are the air operators paying attention as well?

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