The basic job of an air traffic controller will drastically change with the implementation of NextGen and there have been calls for rethinking of the basic criteria by which controllers are recruited and redesign of their training . The Hill’s Blog page (linked above) includes an insightful commentary on that subject.
The author is Charles Keegan; his past and present positions merit careful consideration by the Secretary, the Administrator and the Hill. Mr. Keegan is currently Transportation Training and Integration Solutions Leader of Raytheon. Prior to that he was Vice President, Operations Planning Services, and Director, JPDO, Federal Aviation Administration and before that his title was FAA Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions. That trail of knowledge and experience qualifies him as an expert on the subject of the skill set and training needed to be a future air traffic controller (or whatever name is assigned to the position as the NextGen technology redefines the job).
The FAA is in the midst of hiring a large class of people who will function as the interface between planes and the current/NextGen computers. Today that job “controls” traffic and in the future the function will be better described as a “manager”. Before people are hired and trained for positions for which technology may these individuals are not well suited, the FAA should consider Mr. Keegan’s cogent comments.
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