Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crash and Burn: The Bureaupathology of the Federal Aviation Administration by Robert M. Misic with Bobbi Linkemer

Published by Magic City Press (2011)
I may have thought I was reviewing horror books before, but this non-fiction book by Robert M. Misic was certainly not the one I should have been reading as my daughter and grandson were flying through US airspace! Crash and Burn might be called an expose of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) particularly in the past quarter century, but it is really a presentation of failing procedures, in-fighting, lack of precautions, hiding errors and omissions, and many more facts that have come to the surface that are and have been putting passengers and flight crews at danger. Forget about terrorism being the primary danger in our skies. As Pogo, a cartoon character by Walt Kelly, once said, "We have met the enemy... and he is us!"

As a Canadian I had been aware of some instances of unreported abuse of the system once they became news, but this is far deeper and widespread than I could imagine. Included in the book are accounts of many Whistle-blowers concerned for air safety, how these reports were received, and how these conscientious people were treated, some stripped of their credentials, losing their jobs, their reports hidden or falsified and ignored, it goes on and on. A chapter titled "Deliberately Committed Operational Error"; another "Twelve New York Controllers' Revenge: Fired, Rehired, Exonerated" and "One Way to Kill Traffic Controllers: Lock Them in a Carbon Monoxide-Filled Room"!

On the positive side, hopefully this book can be seen as a wake-up call to the bureaucrats. Isn't outside terrorism enough? Should it be a part of American "tradition" behavioral-wise? Robert Misic's "Crash & Burn" puts forth a very compelling case, I hope it will do what he has set out to do. The writing is succinct, most reports coming from air control tower personnel. This includes the author, a retired air controller. Everything in the book is clearly laid out. The back of the book contains the full names of the glossary including acronyms, references, historic letters, recommended reading and resources for the flying public. A thorough, well-documented and conscientious book. I give it five stars because of the helpful additional information in the last section of the book.


Anonymous said...

I've skimmed this book; I even worked with the author at one time and I was a controller too, the book is spot on! The FAA corporate culture is rotten: from incompetent and vengeful management to controllers hired and promoted to meet someone's political agenda, safety and the workforce's well-being are at the bottom of the FAA's list of things to improve (at one time the FAA was the 214th out of 216 federal agencies in employee satisfaction). More workers need to expose what goes on inside America's bureaucracies.

nightreader said...

Thank you so much for your post. I totally agree.