Aging Air Control

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- Leaky pipes, mold and pest infestations could prove to be a danger to the flying public.

That's what air traffic controllers are telling a House panel. They say their work is being hampered by poor upkeep of aging air traffic control facilities.

The president of the controllers' union charges that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn't made maintenance a priority. He says that has led to a range of problems from toxic fumes to poor heating and cooling to leaks.

He says water sometimes drips directly onto controllers' equipment. In one case, he says controllers had to hold an umbrella over the radar scope to see the planes.

An F-A-A official says steps are being taken to reduce a backlog of needed repairs, and that safety issues "are our first priority."

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