Wednesday, December 30, 2009


How about that Hank Krakowski, huh? What a party animal! Wait…what? What did you say? Oh, you don’t know who Hank Krakowski is? There I go again, making assumptions. Sorry. I just figured you must have known him because he just spent $5 million of your money on a three week party in Atlanta.

Krakowski (below,right) is the chief operating officer of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You know, the FAA – the agency in charge of our air traffic control system and responsible for flight inspection standards. Gosh, who knew they had 3,600 managers? And how fun is this? All 3,600 got to go to the party in Atlanta, 1200 on each of three successive weekends. And Hank? Oh please, Hank was there the entire time, and he got to stay in the plush hotel’s “Governor’s Suite.” By all accounts, the booze was flowing and those crazy managers were partying like it was 1999.

You know…1999, when national unemployment was not in double digits, when the country was not spending billions of dollars annually on two wars, when millions of Americans were not experiencing home foreclosures. But listen, let’s not get judgmental here. The FAA needs a few cocktails. With all the plane crashes this past decade, the reports of safety violations, the commercial airline pilots flying drunk, airliners overshooting their destinations because pilots are “distracted”…I mean come on. Hank and his posse need a martini. Or two. It’s stressful being the FAA. How much bad press can one agency take before it just cracks? Bad publicity like the time that FAA internal report got leaked in 2005 – the one that revealed that weak FAA management had undermined passenger safety at some of the FAA air traffic control facilities. Jeez, it’s always something, right? I mean who can forget all those pesky rumors about the FAA having received 52 warnings about the 9/11 attacks well before the tragedies, in plenty of time to have prevented thousands of deaths? I ask you…who wouldn’t need a jello shot after that?

So it comes as no surprise that Krakowski, no stranger to controversy, arranged the three week party, er, uh, I mean convention – after all, the chief reasoned to an undercover ABC reporter, “This is worth it because we have to get the frontline managers on-board with what we're trying to do.” What Krakowski purports that the FAA was doing was training managers on the new contract enacted for air traffic controllers. Here’s the rub, though: The contract in question went into effect in October, and the big par-tay happened in December. Kind of like a big 1999-style hotel Christmas party, you know? Watch this ABC News report:

There’s one thing that is sort of bothering me about the party, though. I mean $5 million, right? I think Krakowski thinks we taxpayers forgot about things that could directly affect our safety. Things like revelations that air traffic controllers are still, in many locations, using communication technology developed in the 1960s. Things like the 2008 Time Magazine interview with a veteran air traffic controller. He said, “The FAA had a mandate from Congress to start running things like a business, to be more cost-effective. That has manifested itself in the rise of runway incursions [airplanes invading each other's ground space]. These are very clearly the result of a reduction in staffing, a decline in experience, and an increase in the use of employee overtime, which leads to increased fatigue. The result is a 300% to 400% increase in operational errors.”

Let’s review: Staffing reductions, fatigued air traffic controllers, terrorist threats, antiquated technology and “operational errors.” Add to all of that interminable flight delays and I’m thinking what may be needed here is a COO who is a tad more careful with each $5 million that he oversees. And I’m thinking cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and party weekends for 3,600 managers in plush hotels may be slightly inappropriate at this time. The FAA is, and has long been, mired in controversy, questionable safety oversights and inadequate staffing. Krakowski’s management style and priorities have often been called in to question by people in high places. His judgment has also been questioned. And if there is one thing we need regarding air traffic control and airliner safety, it is impeccable judgment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul:

How ironic that you cite "1999". It was on October 1, 1999 that Hank Krakowski, acting as weekend corporate sycophant stunt pilot in addition to his weekday job as United commercial pilot, got another stunt pilot named Keith Evans killed. Hank Krakowski was the "Safety Officer" of the Lima Lima stunt flight team.

Your blog on Hank is wonderful. The entire community pursuing FAA reform and safe aviation, is celebrating because of ABC's story.

We have the same subject in sight: Henry P. (Hank) Krakowski, FAA “Chief Operating Officer” and Head of “Air Traffic Organization”. I have been researching and publishing about Hank for over two years.

Hank Krakowski is a failed United Airlines corporate hack, kicked upstairs. After Hank got fellow “Lima Lima” stunt pilot Keith Evans killed by putting him up in a corporate aerial stunt unprepared (please see links below) - Hank then committed perjury and lied about it under oath, in the ensuing wrongful death litigation. The proof is linked below.

There's even a Hank song, posted as mp3 at:

In 2001 Hank Krakowski was one of the United “officials” to blame for leaving the airplane cockpit doors unlocked and unreinforced for 9/11. 2 of the 4 planes that day were United flights in Hank’s jurisdiction. Hank was on the boards that morning.

Is it no wonder Hank Krakowski was drunk and incoherent when ABC trained the cameras on him during their story? Is it no wonder Hank cowardly avoided further dialogue on-camera with ABC?

There are Hank Krakowski items posted all over my blog of the last 2.5 years at:

But here are some specific Hank Krakowski links I culled together. You will find additional ones if you go to my blog’s home page at:
and then word-search “Hank Krakowski”. There's text, and pictures.