Dear Administrator Huerta…

…can you PLEASE bring real transparency to FAA’s business, so WE THE PEOPLE, can know what your employees are doing for OUR safety?

Copied below is a recent article, posted 2-5-13 at the very reputable news source, AviationWeek.com. The text has been modified by aiREFORM.com. Text not relevant to the issue of FAA transparency has been dimmed; text showing the inappropriate habit of FAA to excessively conceal information is in bold red.

Mr. Huerta, this is a clear no-brainer. The agency you lead needs to serve the public’s need for factual and timely information. President Obama articulated this quite well in his 1/21/09 Memorandum on Transparency & Open Government. NTSB Chair Hersman has done an excellent job communicating the Boeing 787 battery fires issue to the public, complete with photographs. Yet, FAA continues to try to keep the public in the dark. It again appears, as it did during the 4-3-08 congressional hearings about the Southwest 737 maintenance issues (and decades of other failures and scandals), that FAA is primarily serving its own ‘perceived customer’, the airlines and the aviation industry, while going against the objective of promoting aviation safety. I trust you agree, this is an FAA failure that you need to immediately correct. Here’s the article:

…a post at AviationWeek.com, February 5, 2013…

 

Japan’s Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has confirmed that Boeing is preparing to resume limited flight tests of the 787 as part of initial efforts to characterize the operating environment of the battery during typical flight cycles.

Boeing, which declines to confirm reports in the Seattle Times that it has requested permission from the FAA to conduct the data-gathering flights, is known to be evaluating several potential modifications to the battery system as part of urgent attempts to restore the 787 to service. The aircraft has been grounded since mid-January following two separate battery failures on aircraft in the U.S. and Japan earlier last month.

The FAA tells Aviation Week, “We are evaluating the request,” but declines to comment further.

The JTSB meanwhile is providing new details about the extent of the damage sustained by the main battery, which failed on the All Nippon Airways 787 on Jan. 16. The agency says its investigation has found evidence of the same type of thermal runaway event that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says occurred on the Japan Airlines 787 APU battery at Boston Logan International Airport on Jan. 7. CT scans and other analysis conducted by the JTSB found damage to all eight cells in the battery as well as indications of short-circuiting and thermal runaway–a condition in which the failure of a single cell rapidly leads to overheating and a spillover to the surrounding cells.

According to the Seattle Times, the initial flight tests will focus on measuring the impact of temperature and vibrations on the battery as experienced during typical flight cycles. As revealed earlier in Aviation Week, the report also indicates Boeing is evaluating potential means of beefing up the battery containment and venting system.

 

It is an embarrassment to both our country and our vaunted democratic process, that we have to go to Japan to find out what Boeing and FAA are up to here, in our own country. The effect is that Japan is needed to blow the whistle on us! Can you please fix this???

This concerned citizen simply asks: will you please bring your agency into this new age of full internet-driven transparency, in conformance with the White House’s 12-8-09 Open Government Directive? Get your 45,000+ permanent employees to quit hiding everything! Let us know all the facts, un-spun by FAA/industry marketing agendas, so that we may each become fully and meaningfully empowered to participate in this democracy.

Jeff Lewis
former FAA ATCS and Whistleblower