Mixed reviews of new FAA air traffic hiring practices - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Mixed reviews of new FAA air traffic hiring practices

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Calandra Reddick was one of hundreds flying Friday from Charleston International Airport. Before she headed into the wild blue wonder, new Federal Aviation Administration air traffic hiring practices had her a bit concerned.

"I believe that they need to go to school for some kind of air traffic control... because they don't know what to do and they need some sort of background information before considering the job," Reddick said.

For years that was the case. The FAA required air traffic controllers to attend a college or university with specific air traffic course work. They have changed that. Now no experience is necessary to start training for the positions.

"In the olden days... And when I say the olden days I mean when I was at the department, you had to go through the FAA's official training," Former Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo said.

Schiavo says the schools may not have been the best plan in the first place. She explains they were simply less expensive for the government.

"Some are better than others. Some are rigorous trainings and rigorous schools and some not so rigorous. What that meant was that the FAA lost control over the training. So you don't always know what someone's background is. You don't know how rigorous their training has been," Schiavo said.

"They have to have rigorous training and they have to have real standards. If someone has performance problems, they have to wash him or her out," she explained.

Read the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration's 2012 Fact Book for a closer look at the issues facing federal aviation.

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