DFW Tracon Managers Misclassified Controller Errors
A DOT Inspector General report published late last week reveals that FAA managers at the Dallas-Fort Worth Tracon “routinely” and “intentionally” misclassified operational errors and deviations as pilot errors or non-events. The report was prompted by whistleblower allegations that management was covering up operational errors and deviations. The DOT watchdog discovered that between November 2005 and July last year DFW Tracon managers misclassified 62 air traffic events as pilot deviation or non-events when in fact there were 52 operational errors and 10 operational deviations. The IG said it found no evidence of misclassification issues beyond the DFW Tracon. In response to the IG recommendations, the FAA removed the Tracon manager and assistant manager from their positions, “pending a final determination on possible further personnel actions.” The FAA’s air traffic safety oversight organization will also conduct unannounced on-site audits at the DFW Tracon and send monthly reports to FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell. Meanwhile, Air Traffic Organization COO Hank Krakowski said the FAA is putting measures in place to ensure that misclassifications cannot happen anywhere else in the system.