Did you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable position where someone has made a comment or accusation about yourself, and are told not to say anything to defend yourself until an ongoing investigation is completed?I certainly have! Well, you may have noted that there are comments all over the news regarding the activities of the air traffic controller from Teterboro while the conflict between the sightseeing helicopter and the fixed wing Piper Lance was developing. A spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association released some information to the news media after rumors developed that the controller was distracted from his radar duties at the time of the collision.
Because the NATCA spokesperson sought to clarify exactly what happened and to defend the controller involved the National Transportation Safety Board has removed NATCA from involvement in the investigation. The NTSB released a statement (which you can find here)
and, as you read it, you will see that there is very little anyone could do given the time frame. The entire flight of the Piper from takeoff to collision took 4:14 (four minutes and 14 seconds) while the aural alarm "conflict alert" occurred only 20 seconds prior to the accident. Take your watch and see how much can be done in 20 seconds and you can realize how difficult a situation everyone was in with respect to this tragedy. Once again this accident points out how dangerous aviation can be even when everyone involved is as attentive as humanly possible. But aviation is STILL
much safer than almost any other mode of transportation with the possible exception of walking. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 The danger? But danger is one of the attractions of flight. — Jean Conneau, 1911.