FAA Staff Daily Assignments prove Invaluable in Retrospect of the Asiana Crash

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ARTICLE: Anne Harlan / Hughes Tech Center research saved lives in crash


There are a lot of FAA employees who quietly do their jobs in relative obscurity-no Hill testimony, no press release or no specific statement of praise from the Secretary or the Administrator. Their work, their contribution to aviation safety is the primary motivation driving them to excellence in their performance. They are faceless, but many are deserving of accolades.

Anne Harlan, now retired, was the Director of the Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey. She knew when the Asiana accident occurred and so many passengers were able to escape relatively unscathed, there was a reason. She also knew that the crashworthiness analyses of the seats which sustained that crash were done by hard-working career civil servants of the Tech Center.

The attached article recounts the details of how the seemingly mundane tasks of these talented engineers, scientists and flight experts were the primary reasons why so many people survived that horrible disaster. It is an excellent reminder of the high quality research and analysis being performed at Atlantic City International Airport and throughout the FAA facilities around the world. Thank you, Anne Harlan for providing hard evidence of the contributions of FAA employees to aviation safety.

The Tech Center is a global aviation safety resource. Every day the 1,500 staffers there are assessing whether this piece of ATC equipment does what it is supposed to do or whether this innovative cockpit instrument will improve the pilots’ ability to fly better. It is a complicated organization, but the end product is so very valuable; the author of this article knows because he used to occupy the seat Ms. Harlan once held.

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