Former air traffic controller pulls back the curtain of secrecy around the FAA and exposes some of the agency’s most egregious missteps, miscalculations, and misdeeds.
Miami, Florida: Most Americans who fly would like to believe that the FAA spares no effort in protecting their safety, from ensuring airport security to contributing to the effectiveness of the air traffic control system. Former air traffic controller Robert M. Misic considers it his duty to expose this misguided assumption.
In his exhaustively researched, controversial new book, Crash & Burn: The Bureaupathology of the Federal Aviation Administration, Misicdemonstrates how the FAA has not only failed to keep the skies safe but has compromised that safety by creating a culture of deception, abuse, and unlawful behavior.
Airport security is getting more cumbersome but no safer; traffic jams overhead are rivaling those on the ground; and air traffic controllers are taking early retirement at an unprecedented rate,” writes Misic, who witnessed the escalation of these trends from a front row seat in a control tower in Miami, Florida.
This is especially troubling, he says, since promoting aviation safety is one of the reasons the FAA was established. Rather than merely presenting facts and evidence to support his premise, Misic makes his case through stories—stories of whistleblowing, suicide, tragedy in the air, blatant disregard for life, rule breaking, errors in judgment, unnecessary spending, and irrational decisions. What is remarkable about the stories Misic tells is that they are available for anyone to find. They have been extensively reported in congressional hearings, to the 9/11 commission, in legal filings, and by the media. There is hardly a week that passes without a new report of some FAA transgression or mistake.
It is Misic’s belief that an educated public is a proactive public that will demand change. He hopes that the publication of Crash & Burn will put pressure on members of congressional aviation subcommittees to amend the FAA’s legislative charter by eliminating its role in promoting air commerce and making safety its sole mission.
Robert M. Misic was an FAA air traffic controller based in Miami, Florida. He was a facility representative of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and lobbied Congress on behalf of NATCA for the betterment of the flying public. His personnel file is filled with letters of commendation for “outstanding contribution to the exemplary service” from the officials of the FAA, representatives of NATCA, former instructors, and organizations to which he made presentations.