tampa airport travel

Report: The Skies May Be Friendly, But They’re Also Increasingly Dangerous

tampa airport travel
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Last week Dallas resident Tiffany Gomas publicly apologized for her “that motherf—er is not real” rant in July aboard an American Airlines flight bound from her hometown to Orlando.

A video of Gomas going off went viral at the time not just because of the language, but also because of her insistence that the flight was doomed.

But while her reasoning for not wanting to fly that day may have been suspect, Gomas’ questioning of the safety of airline travel may have had a point.

Citing a New York Times report, RedState.com noted that “commercial airlines have been involved in a terrifying number of ‘close calls’” in recent months.

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The website reported that the Federal Aviation Administration, under President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, has documented roughly 300 near-collisions of commercial aircraft over the past 12 months.

Of those, 46 were reported in July alone.

That represents a 200% increase in the past decade, according to RedState.

As the Times reported, “Former air traffic controllers said in interviews that close calls were happening so frequently that they feared it was only a matter of time until a deadly crash occurred.”

The Times offered some examples of the risk:

“On the afternoon of July 2, a Southwest Airlines pilot had to abort a landing at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. A Delta Air Lines 737 was preparing to take off on the same runway. The sudden maneuver avoided a possible collision by seconds.”

“Nine days later, in San Francisco, an American Airlines jet was accelerating down the runway at more than 160 miles per hour when it narrowly missed a Frontier Airlines plane whose nose had almost jutted into its path,” the paper continued.

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“Moments later, the same thing happened as a German airliner was taking off. In both cases, the planes came so close to hitting the Frontier aircraft that the Federal Aviation Administration, in internal records reviewed by The New York Times, described the encounters as ‘skin to skin.’”

The Times attributed the shocking rise in such incidents to a lack of air traffic controllers. Of the nation’s 313  air traffic control facilities, 310 are understaffed.

According to a current FAA workforce report, Miami is 18 controllers short of its established target, Orlando is down 12, while Tampa has a deficit of 11. On the plus side, Fort Lauderdale claims a surplus of two, and Jacksonville is actually up five.

The Times, true to form, tried to blame former President Ronald Reagan. Reagan famously fired air traffic controllers in 1981 for illegally striking.

But as RedState pointed out, many air traffic controllers abandoned their posts when Biden sought to impose the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal employees.

Reuters reported back in May that, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the FAA had 1,500 fewer controllers last year than in 2011.

As the Times itself reported, “During the pandemic, many controllers left, and the F.A.A. slowed the pace of training new ones because of health restrictions. The staffing shortage became a crisis.”

In her video, Gomas referred to herself as the “crazy plane lady.” But, as RedState pointed out, it may not be so crazy to steer clear of commercial airline travel for the near future.

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