WASHINGTON — A near accident at Washington National Airport last month when several air traffic controllers were playing golf will be examined at a hearing on controller staffing problems, aides to Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) said today.
The National Airport incident on Sept. 24 has generated a furor on Capitol Hill in the wake of reports that 20 air traffic controllers were attending an annual golf outing at the time.
Their absence led to supervisors working as controllers, illustrating the lack of adequate personnel on the job, said Chris Donohue, an aide to Oberstar, who chairs the Public Works and Transportation Committee's investigations subcommittee. Oberstar has not set a date for the hearings, she said.
Spokesman Bob Buckhorn of the Federal Aviation Administration said that the National Airport tower had a normal staff of 17 controllers and two supervisors when an Eastern Airlines jetliner aborted takeoff to avoid a helicopter.