Congress Demands FAA Response to ATC Cheating Allegations

(Mark Brouwer/Creative Commons)

The FAA suddenly finds itself at the center of a swirling cheating scandal relating to its air traffic controller hiring practices, and now Congress is demanding that the agency investigate and respond to the allegations.

Fourteen members of Congress led by House aviation subcommittee chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta ordering the agency to provide details of the alleged cheating and other issues with the FAA's new ATC hiring process.

The allegations surfaced in a report on the Fox Business channel claiming some applicants for ATC positions were helped by FAA personnel. The report challenged the fairness and effectiveness of the hiring process, which many claim penalizes the most qualified applicants through the use of personality tests that ask nebulous and seemingly irrelevant questions, such as "Did you play any sports in high school?"

It's hard to know how to answer such questions correctly or why they are even being asked – that is, unless you work for the FAA and know precisely which answers will get an applicant through the maze-like process.

"It appears that the new hiring process that the FAA is utilizing has not responded to the concerns that many in the aviation community and Congress have raised," the letter, posted online by Fox News, states. "Furthermore the report of possible cheating in the latest hiring process facilitated by the actions of an FAA employee, is as disturbing as it is unacceptable. We request that the FAA fully investigate these claims of wrongdoing by the FAA employee, including the extent to which others were aware of wrongdoing and provide the corrective actions the FAA plans to take in response."

The members have urged Huerta to respond by June 26.

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