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Texas Academy Sued By Would-Be Controllers

Division Of L-3 Accused Of False Placement Promises

Not so long ago, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) was hounding the FAA over its failure to attract an adequate number of recruits to replace retiring air traffic controllers. The union hyperbole reached the point of calling news conferences to declare a "staffing emergency," and the FAA opened consideration to controller candidates without college degrees.

Thirteen plaintiffs have now filed suit against the Link Simulation & Training Air Traffic Control Academy, based in Dennison, TX, claiming they were charged $41,000 each for training which promised the first 100 graduates would be hired by the FAA as controllers. At one time, given the publicity surrounding the controller shortage, that may have been a plausible claim.

The Dallas Business Journal reports the lawsuit specifically charges, "To date, not a single student has received a job offer as promised. In fact, plaintiffs have learned that the FAA never made the agreement represented by the defendants. Furthermore, plaintiffs have learned that their training received at the Academy is insufficient, by itself, to even qualify them to work in a FAA air traffic control tower."

The academy's official website now promises only that the school "provides you the quickest route to attain your FAA Control Tower Operator certificate. Graduates have the opportunity to attain their Control Tower Operator certificate in less than one year. Annual starting salary for an FAA air traffic controller is approximately $40,000. While the Link Simulation & Training Air Traffic Control Academy cannot guarantee employment, the air traffic control field represents one of the best paying careers not requiring a four year degree."

The academy is a division of L-3 Communications, which the paper says could not be reached for comment. The lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Dallas. Fort Worth personal injury specialists Greg Jackson and Jim Zadeh are reportedly representing the defendants.

FMI: www.link.com/ATC/

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