CAN WE EVER TRUST THE FAA?

IN THE VALUJET AFTERMATH, IT IS UNDER PRESSURE TO MAKE SAFETY ITS FIRST AND ONLY MISSION, BUT IT IS UNDERSTAFFED AND UNDERFUNDED

To the average trusting air traveler, things have come to a sorry pass indeed when lawmakers propose altering the language of the Federal Aviation Administration charter to "put safety first." Where in the great blue yonder did it rank before? Last?

Not exactly. Flying a U.S. airline is one of the safest ways to travel in the world, and, in general, getting safer. But no thanks to the FAA's doggedness on the issue. Countless studies, journalistic exposes and congressional hearings have long made it clear that the FAA, with its split function of promoting and regulating the airline industry, has not...

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