Pilots are fed up with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) woke 2023 budget that invests millions in “inclusion” and “environmental justice” initiatives after the air travel industry experienced major system shutdowns on Wednesday that caused all domestic flights to be grounded for several hours.
The FAA’s 2023 budget framework includes investments in “environmental justice” and “an additional $20 million above the 2021 enacted level for the office of the secretary to lead [Department of Transportation] DOT’s efforts to promote equity and inclusion.”
After the FAA had serious system failures that caused all flights to be grounded on Wednesday for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Fox News Digital reached out to pilots and asked their opinion on the administration’s 2023 budget that prioritized “inclusion” and “climate change” while the technological infrastructure apparently needed work.
“The spending on non-essential issues within the agency does nothing to help these technological blunders,” Sal Lagonia, an aviation lawyer, told Fox News Digital in an exclusive statement.
FAA SYSTEM MELTDOWN SEES TWITTER USERS BLAST ‘INCOMPETENT’ BUTTIGIEG: ‘NO EXPERIENCE’
A message board shows departures at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday, Jan. 11. 2023. A computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration brought flights to a standstill across the U.S. on Wednesday, with hundreds of delays quickly cascading through the system at airports nationwide.
In December 2021, the FAA, under Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, changed the “Notice to Airman” (NOTAM) to “Notice to Air Missions” — preserving the same acronym — in an effort to have more inclusive language. After the NOTAM system crashed earlier this week, the DOT fell under fire for focusing on staying woke rather than addressing other transportation issues.
“Just look at the change as to what NOTAM stands for. It has been ‘Notices to Airman’ for many years. Recently, the agency spent a great deal of money and effort to take the word ‘man’ out of the title and instead call it ‘Notices to Air Missions’. Documents had to be changed, to the new name, etc. Spend that effort and money on bolstering the systems that makes and keeps flying safe,” Lagonia said.
“Such an important system needs to work. Technology is great until it stops working. As a pilot, we have backup plans for how we plan our flights. The agency needs to behave similarly by having backup upon backup,” Lagonia stressed speaking about the importance of the agency preparing for these types of situations going forward.
According to Fox 11 in Los Angeles, a corrupt file led to the Wednesday outage of the NOTAM system.
The FAA reportedly found the corrupt file on Tuesday and decided to reboot the system in the early hours of Wednesday, when there would be the least amount of air traffic, CNN first reported. After the shut-down, the system did not come back as quickly as expected, causing the mass flight delays and cancelations nationwide.
The NOTAM system and the backup system are based on decades-old technology and have not been updated due to budget constraints, CNN reported.
“Because of budgetary concerns and flexibility of budget, this tech refresh has been pushed off,” a source familiar with FAA operations told CNN. “I assume now they’re going to actually find money to do it. The FAA’s infrastructure is a lot more than just brick and mortar.”
PROBLEMS PERSIST AT FAA DESPITE $23+ BILLION BUDGET
All domestic airline flights were canceled on Wednesday morning after the FAA system failure.
The FAA’s budget request for fiscal year 2023 revealed they sought to spend millions in “climate change,” “inclusion,” “racial equity” and “environmental justice.”
The FAA’s funding to “address climate change” included funding that “supports additional staffing and contract support for the FAA’s implementation of a comprehensive climate program.”
“Ridiculous, neither the DOT nor FAA should be involved with being a social “petri dish” investing in such nonsense,” JP Tristiani, an aviation expert, veteran and pilot, told Fox News Digital.
Tristiani said ultimately Buttigieg “is responsible, and accountable for the oversight of the FAA.”
The former pilot stressed the FAA’s responsibility to ensure their passenger’s safety at all times and that investing into nonessential issues “has nothing to do with the highest standards and training and performance standards required in this highly technical industry.”
Sharon told Fox News that her business flight to Puerto Rico was canceled.
(Fox News Digital / Jon Michael Raasch)
Tristiani explained what matters to him when operating an aircraft and that issues like “climate change” are not a priority when managing an aircraft 30,000 feet above ground.
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“My interest was/remains, the safety of my aircraft, my training and that of my copilot, the route I’m flying and the only ‘climate change’ I am interested in is the weather along the route.”
The sudden system failure comes just weeks after Buttigieg was blasted for his leadership as thousands of flights were canceled around Christmas and New Years, leaving travelers stranded at airports across the country.