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Wright Brothers airplane
Don't worry, it's perfectly safe!
We're barely into Day One of the Republican shutdown of the government and it's already time to fasten your seatbelts:
Nearly 3,000 aviation safety inspectors are being furloughed by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the government shutdown, the union representing the inspectors said Monday.

The inspectors check to make sure airlines are maintaining their planes safely, conduct inspections at airports of planes and pilots, and visit domestic and foreign repair stations where airlines send planes for major overhauls, among other safety jobs, said Kori Blalock Keller, a spokeswoman for the union, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists.

But, hey, House Republicans don't want you to worry because:
FAA spokeswoman Kristie Greco ... said nearly 2,500 safety office personnel – including some inspectors – will be furloughed, but they may be called back to work incrementally over the next two weeks.
They may ... or may not.

The phrase "on a wing and a prayer" just took on a whole new meaning.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 05:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  On the bright side (7+ / 0-)

    Boehner is still "on the job" drawing his paycheck, thinking of more ways to selflessly serve his country.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -- Susan B. Anthony

    by bluestatesam on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 05:10:53 AM PDT

  •  So if there's a major air incident now, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, rktect, Amber6541

    one which cites a safety issue that coulda/shoulda been prevented but which wasn't due to the strain on available inspectors, the GOP will screech that it's Obama's fault for not negotiating/compromising.

    Obama's response should simply be "The U.S. Government does not negotiate with terrorists, foreign or domestic."

    And the Dems could say that the GOP simply had to send a clean bill, but insisted on making that necessary & crucial part of national security & fiscal health a hostage negotiation.

    •  Economic terrorism is still terrorism nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, GreyHawk

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:12:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Last week I went to the transportation museum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk

      at Owls head with my grandson and had a look at some of the earlier attempts at flight. The hanger where the work on the planes is done was open so I was allowed to contribute my efforts to the ongoing maintenance.

      I was amazed at how despite most of the fabrication being  wood and fabric tensioned with cables which without looking closely you might think of as lightweight, open to inspection and simple to maintain, there was actually quite a lot that needed to be carefully inspected before taking to the air.

      I don't think I would trust any aircraft which hadn't been inspected to be able to get off the ground without crashing let alone land safely or make repeated trips.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:56:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  TSA will be unchanged. (3+ / 0-)

    Critical safety inspections not so much.  Hmm.

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:13:58 AM PDT

    •  Airlines are still... (0+ / 0-)

      ...subject to following the rules and they know their records for whatever period the inspectors are off may be scrutinized more carefully than usual upon the inspectors return. (At least, I would hope the inspectors and their Union would see that there was at least some tendency in that direction - if the airlines slacked off when the inspectors were off and these failings were found upon review, the inspectors would probably be on the "safe" list on the next government shutdown).

      For the most part, the Federal inspectors are not supposed to find anything wrong -- the airlines are responsible for doing things right and are subject to fines if the inspectors do find a violation. There are of course numerous technical violations all the time caught by inspectors and fines are often not imposed - but most of these are administrative violations such as documentation failings or minor physical violations.

      Trust me, the plane that you took off in at 6PM Monday probably hadn't been carefully inspected by a Federal inspector in the past 24 hours anyway.

  •  So I am to fly this week, on Thursday and Saturday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, Cassandra Waites

    with two flights each way.  That's four flights where my planes will not have been safely inspected?  Or four flights where there are not adequate air traffic controllers?

    Am I right to be worried about this?  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:16:38 AM PDT

    •  Planes aren't inspected for the FAA before each (4+ / 0-)

      flight. The pilots and maintenance crews inspect them, and they'll still be continuing to do so.

      It's a lot like the health inspectors for restaurants, they're not at every restaurant every day, they do spot checks every so often with day to day safety in the hands of the restaurant's employees. So there's really nothing to be too concerned with the first week of the shutdown. If this extends months, then it means that airlines are going long times without FAA inspections. But remember, it's terrible PR and expensive for an airline to have a crash, especially if it's related to shoddy maintenance, and pilots have families they want to get home to as well, so I don't think safety will take a hit through this.

      As far as ATC goes - if there are fewer controllers, it will likely mean more delays and cancellations, rather than reduced safety. If an ATC center requires one controller for every 20 planes in the airspace the center covers (and I'm making that number up), and they furlough 5 controllers, then they'll just cancel or delay 100 flights to keep it at the 20:1 ratio.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:36:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe House GOP will decide to pay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fugwb

    the inspectors. They've already shown they don't want anything they do to inconvenience them.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:17:17 AM PDT

    •  If there's a shutdown (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, snoopydawg

      of the government then that's what it should be. No funding for anything. No military. No FBI/CIA. No paychecks period.
      What's the point of the shutdown if both sides decide to ease the pain on themselves or their MIC masters.

      If they'd operate this way maybe there wouldn't be these bullshit shutdowns......

      "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

      by fugwb on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:24:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no money for anything right now! (0+ / 0-)

        FBI/CIA, VA nurses, air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents, and other employees who have been deemed essential are required to go to work, BUT THEY AREN'T BEING PAID.  They'll presumably get paid whenever this is resolved, but they'll be getting nothing on a current basis to pay their car loans, rent, groceries, etc.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:56:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't they have private jets? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, psnyder

      Not as if they care about the proles and their socialist-communist-marxist-whateverist commercial airliners!

  •  "Shut Down by Order of Banana Republicans"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    ...put posters up with this in big, 10-inch letters at every nat'l park and other entity that is shut down from today.

    Underneath the above, add:  "Your local Banana Republican:  Congressman xxx xxxx (R)"

    To make sure folks know who to blame next year at the polls

  •  How does one "work incrementally"? (0+ / 0-)

    Actually I know, it describes me.  

    But believe me, it's not reassuring that safety inspectors will be doing their job that way!

  •  So the tea party gets paid but no one else n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I'm going long on duct tape futures (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powered Grace, zinger99

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:29:15 AM PDT

  •  Help, my Obamaphone doesn't work! (0+ / 0-)

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:29:55 AM PDT

  •  This may not produce the desired message. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WillR

    The airlines will likely perform some of their own safety checks as it is in their interest to.

    If this is successful in the short term (I hope) of the gov't shut down, it may be touted as "evidence" that the safety inspectors aren't necessary.

    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:31:07 AM PDT

  •  The mistake way back when was declaring ... (6+ / 0-)

    air traffic controllers to be essential.  They're only essential if planes are flying. If it were to be decided all over again, I'd close U.S. air space, just as was done on 9/11 and for days afterward. I'd say Customs and Immigration inspectors aren't essential unless U.S. border crossings and ports are open, and then I'd order them closed.

    The present system allows the Tea Party types to say, "See, we really don't need government.  Things aren't all that bad."  They'd think they were bad when they couldn't go on their vacation, and when the store shelves started emptying.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 06:32:56 AM PDT

  •  But... but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    the libertarians tell me this is a GOOD thing!

    Do you have any idea how happy libertarians are right now? The posts I'm seeing are epic. Please go like libertarian pages to see this hilarity. Here are a few examples of the greatest:

    Zachary T Slayback - "THE LAWS OF PHYSICS HAVE NOT CEASED AND AIRPLANES HAVEN'T FALLEN OUT OF THE SKY. this government shutdown is more like a government LETDOWN"

    Austin Petersen - "It's midnight... Are the roads still out there? I'm afraid to check. Hold me."

    Alex Shay - "I just ripped the tag off my mattress. What you gonna do about it feds?"

    The Libertarian Homeschooler - "Government Shutdown Minute Number Six. My life suddenly feels solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

    If Libertarians Are Crazy, I Don't Want to be Sane - "Guys.. I don't wanna freak you out or anything, but... Al Qaeda just showed up in my neighborhood."

    Yes, this is the libertarian brain at work.  Because no airplanes literally fell out of the sky AT midnight, therefore nothing bad will happen.  Ever.
  •  Put the Tea Bag House Members in a plane and (0+ / 0-)

    fly them around and around where the Airplane Safety people are in short supply.  For this wing and a prayer adventure, they better take along their prayer book.

  •  The "Govt. Shutdown" Would End Immediately (0+ / 0-)

    If it shutdown the air traffic controllers and TSA inspectors.  That would mean no flights for the duration.  And, given the class that would be most inconvenienced by such a shutdown, the entire "government shutdown" would be over in less than a few hours.

    What we have isn't really a government shutdown.  It is a shutdown of the things that wouldn't too badly hurt or inconvenience members of our ruling oligharchy.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 08:41:53 AM PDT

  •  This "partial shutdown" is too partial (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, too many of the services being shut down relate to government inspections, regulation, programs for the needy, and scientific, cultural and data gathering activities. Air traffic continues, oil drilling permits continue, etc., but the NLRB, FEC, FCC, NSF, OSHA, EPA, NOAA, WIC and BIA (to name a few) are ceasing to function or heavily impacted. Also no IRS audits. it's almost as if the Republicons got to decide what was "essential" and what wasn't.  This "partial shutdown" is too partial to the wealthy, the corporations and, sigh, the proponents of small government.

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