Re: Youtube Video- N90 Controller Patrick Harten in front of
Not sure what that congressman had as motive but you know he has something in mind, something he is trying to prove. Definitely was trying to get the new airways but luckily the ATC was smart and shut him down. As for the trainees...not sure what he was trying to get at but he definitely was trying to get at something. I hate Politicians and their games!
This basically boiled down to needing a scapegoat. Even though tragedy was averted that day, there ALWAYS has to be SOMEONE to blame when there are multi-million dollar losses and the spotlight (media) is on you. Those who "oversee" government agencies never believe that things sometimes "just happen" and there is really nothing you can do about it.
There was no WAY he was going to blame Capt. Sullenburger. Can you even imagine the outrage that would have ensued had he said something to the effect of "So, you saw the enormous flock of geese...Then why, Capt. did you not use the emergency avoidance procedures put in place by your airlines and practiced by you hundreds of times over the course of your 30+ years flying?" He would have never been re-elected and everyone would be thinking the same thing: What kind of ridiculous line of questioning is this and are you REALLY trying to accuse our hero, Capt. Sullenburger, of not doing everything in his power to avoid this situation?
So, who does this leave to blame? The 1st officer? Not likely. The flight attendants? Of course not. That leaves the ATC. The part about "dumbing the scope down" is ridiculous. What Mr. Harten was TRYING to explain was that they can filter out aircraft that are not in or around the altitude of the airspace that he was controlling. For example, if an aircraft is flying at FL350 and talking to NY Center, he is going to filter that aircraft off his scope because there is no chance of that aircraft being a factor as far as traffic is concerned. The congressman was confused as to how the filtering worked. He thought that the controller had turned down the sensitivity of the scope as to eliminate smaller objects on the scope, which is not the case. Obviously, he nor anyone else on his staff had bothered to talk to an actual ATC to find out how this worked. Instead, it seems Google and CNN were good enough sources. Had he actually spoken to an ATC they could have told him that not only was a flock of geese unlikely to show up on the RADAR scope, but that even it the flock had shown up, there would have been no way to be able to determine the altitude of the geese (unless Canadian Geese have managed to evolve into a species with a Mode C transponder built into their beaks). The only thing the controller could have done IF there HAD been a primary target on the scope is issue an advisory, and possibly vectored around the primary target. That, of course, is ridiculous since that airspace is so congested and clouds will sometimes cause erroneous targets.
Everyone that day did their jobs exceptionally well that day, including Mr. Harten. I did not watch the entire congressional hearing, and I do not know what happened to Mr. Harten, but hopefully he is still working as a controller in the FAA. I would fly in his skies any day.
Edit: The reason Congressman Mica brought up the trainees is that he wanted illude to the fact that the controller was relatively inexperienced compared to the rest of the people sitting in the hearing that day, whereas everyone else had 30+ years experience Mr. Harten "only" had 10 years and his relief only had 1.5...just another way to try and take a cheap shot at the controller.