The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) really thought they were doing something this past week when they asked the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) to nix the use of words such as "unmanned," "manned," "airman," and other gender-specific terms. We really shouldn't be surprised given the tidal wave of "woke" culture where the general message is, "get on board or drown."
To appeal to "a more diverse and younger" group of applicants in future hiring pools, the FAA spoke to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, or NATCA's, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert. Gilbert is also part of the DAC mentioned above. And while the same talk is happening in other aviation industry sectors, including the Women in Aviation's Advisory board and the International Civil Aviation Organization, shouldn't we ask ourselves if this is the most important work they could be doing?
For the record, air traffic controllers have more lives in their hands every day than any physician. If you think about the number of "souls," as they say, that are safely flown from destination to destination every year because of the guys and girls in the tower, it's no wonder air traffic control is one of the most stressful jobs in the world.
Of course, the focus is initially targeted at the Drone Advisory Committee, but naturally, the "woke" virus is bleeding into other aspects of aviation. NATCA is a vast organization with tremendous pull in terms of procedures, government contracts, disciplinary actions for employees, and hiring.
For those unaware of the ins and outs of the aviation industry, the FAA has been experiencing a staffing shortage for several years. Part of the issue stems from an Obama-era bill that steered hiring away from merit-based criteria and focused on diversity based on skin color (Think about that the next time you fly). Now, no one is saying that there shouldn't be diversity in the tower or radar room. However, that eliminated the need for a college degree or comparable program to be considered for hire. Instead, an applicant would only be required to have three years of work experience to qualify for the initial "biographical questionnaire." That in itself presented problems for the first few hiring cycles it was implemented. A clear preference was observed, and it often slighted more qualified applicants based solely on name and skin color.
The real issue came when the newly diversified hiring pool went to their respective academy classes for training. At best, there was a dismal pass rate, which led to a broader divide in the staffing crisis. As of 2019, the FAA was still playing catch-up. With the insanity that has been the pandemic, you can probably guess that the shortage of fully trained controllers has worsened as training screeched to a halt. Even now, controllers without full certification aren't allowed to go to their assigned facilities for training.
Instead, those that have managed to complete the academy in Oklahoma are stuck collecting their (lower) training paycheck while sitting at home and being held back from earning raises and receiving training specific to their assigned airport. Those that are "checked out" (thoroughly trained) are also stuck carrying the load because staffing is essentially in stasis. Those that wish to transfer to other locations are also stuck despite the FAA implementing strict COVID safety measures, which should allow for business-as-usual.
So, let's circle back (looking at you Jen Psaki); the FAA is pulling for the elimination of gender-specific phraseology amid an ongoing staffing crisis that is hurting employees of all colors, genders, and beliefs. Still, at least we won't call drones "manned" or "unmanned" anymore. They're halting the careers of many that would like to move up the ladder and pay grades. And let's not forget, placing higher importance on skin color than the safety of the people they care for every time a plane's wheels leave the runway.
As you can imagine, many members of NATCA were displeased by the Facebook Post detailing their plans to "get woke." Within the day, NATCA removed the post, though we can be confident there will probably be an agency-wide email to detail the next steps of their wokeism rollout. After all, Pete Buttigieg is now at the helm of the DOT, and unfortunately, the only blip on his radar is combating systemic racism. Never mind the crippling workload and passing of unqualified employees to fill a quota.
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About the Author:
Breanna Leslie is a freelance writer, author, and editor from West Virginia. She has been published in Harness Magazine, Future Female Leaders, Motherscope, and a handful of literary publications. She’s dedicated to publishing honest work that doesn’t bow down in the face of censorship.