One of the things we talk about in the Current Topics in Aviation course I co-teach at Vaughn College of Aeronautics is how to report safety issues without being labeled a whistleblower or, worse, being fired. It’s an important issue for anyone entering a field where safety is so important and the “penalties” for being labeled a whistleblower can be high. Even the federal Whistleblower Protection Act covers only a small segment of the industry: airlines and their contractors. Some states might also have some protections for workers.
Last month, I wrote about preventing whistleblowing: how do you keep employees from blowing the whistle? My short answer was to listen to what employees are saying about safety problems, investigate and take appropriate actions.
Whistleblowers have been in the news a lot lately: Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who some call a whistleblower; Avantair’s whistleblower-initiated shutdown; and the latest TWA 800 conspiracy theorists (who also style themselves as whistleblowers, although 13 years after the NTSB’s probable-cause report was issued seems more like a whistle-whisperer than -blower)–the
The European Union has been criticized in the past for being slow with regards to reforming its own transparency regime, creating a negative impact on the credibility of European companies. Finmeccanica (Chalet A232, Static C65) has made a head start with its compliance program, which focuses on trade controls for sensitive transactions and business ethics, said Walter Vasselli, senior compliance officer for the Italian company.
Canadian air ambulance operator Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced a new interior for its AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that allows paramedics to perform CPR “at any time during flight, reduces the risk of tubes snagging on equipment and gives better access to the patient and medical bags and supplies.”
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Whether Mark Twain or Dudley Warner said it remains debatable, but the point is that the same thing could be said about gray-market charters. I have been in corporate and VIP aviation for decades, and I have been hearing the legal charter operators complain about this issue for my entire career.
In an editorial a few weeks ago, The Washington Post, took the FAA and the DOT to task over reports that indicated neither organization was paying close enough attention to the allegations they ha
In a May 8 letter to the White House and Congress, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said, “The FAA has the highest rate of whistleblower filings per employee of any federal branch agency.” Half of those reports received by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) relate to aviation.
One of the pillars of modern aviation safety, cockpit resource management was introduced to commercial aviation more than two decades ago. Among other things, CRM was meant to draw the curtain on the era of the submissive copilot and flight engineer cowed by an overbearing “gear up, shut up” captain.
At AEI’s 38th Annual Congress last month in Hamburg one of Europe’s leading regulators refused to support aviation industry whistleblowers. According to Robert Alway, a spokesman for Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) of The Netherlands, while many countries at least give lip service to protecting whistleblowers, Luftfahrt Bundesamt, Germany’s counterpart to the FAA, refused to support them.
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