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February 2017 Issue

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At this writing, itís impossible to know what ongoing investigations will determine, and whether either the flight crew or the controller will face consequences. This and other incidents, however, highlight a longstanding problem: air traffic control is designed by and comprised of humans, and itís therefore imperfect. Controllers make mistakes just like the rest of us, pilots included. The challenge is to recognize those mistakes when they happen and take action appropriate to resolve the issue. A recent encounter I had at a towered airport reinforces the old, bad joke that the controller likely will feel really bad after an accident. The pilot likely wonít feel a thing.

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