At the time of the Lexington Comair crash, the tower/TRACON was managed by Duff Ortman. The immediate reaction by FAA officials was to brand him as a ‘renegade’ and try to assign blame onto Mr. Ortman, for allowing his facility to staff single-handed on the overnight shifts (commonly called ‘mids’ by controllers).
IN response, and to protect his reputation, Mr. Ortman went on record and made some very good points, about the ugly politics within FAA, such as how both FAA management and the union (NATCA) carefully spin their statements to serve their own agendas. Mr. Ortman appears to be a straight shooter.
As journalists started to use FOIA, in time it was shown Mr. Ortman had made numerous attempts to get overtime funding and/or additional controllers, but the proposals were repeatedly shot down by the higher FAA bureaucrats, structured as follows:
- Ortman’s boss was the Cincinnati Hub Manager, Darryl Collins;
- Collins’ boss was the Director of Terminal Operations for the newly created ‘Eastern Service Area (i.e., the eastern third of the contiguous U.S.), John McCartney;
- McCartney’s boss was at the FAA HQ level, Vice President for Terminal Services, Bruce Johnson.
With all these fingers in the pie, the pie ended up unbaked and dropped on the floor. Eventually, the U.S. government paid $58 Million to help insurance companies pay out $264 Million in settlements.
Also, call it cynicism if you must, but records show a pronounced pattern of promotions of rogue/corrupt FAA personnel, as if to keep them happy and quiet, after they cover up errors, attack whistleblowers, or do other unethical tasks.
Here are five different articles, in chronological order.