SEATAC, Wash. -- How has the federal budget sequester affected the people who fix everything from radios to radars to navigational beacons for the FAA?
Like air traffic controllers, members of this technical community that install, fix and inspect will need to take an unpaid day off every two weeks for the Federal Aviation Administration to stay within its budget.
"You may never know how many backup systems you may or may not have, until you need them," said Monika Warner with Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the union which represents thousands of FAA employees who fix and repair the nation's government own aviation technology.
PASS says even before the sequester - the result of the Obama Administration and Congress to craft a budget deal to avoid government-wide budget cuts - finances were tight, overtime was cut to the bone and even ordering new parts problematic.
Even Monday, Warner says a preventative maintenance check of Everett's Paine Field landing system found the backup battery was out of specifications, but she adds that the battery won't be replaced.
"They were not authorized to order batteries," she said.
The batteries are only needed if the landing system were to lose commercial power.
The FAA says it may be Tuesday before it can say what's going on with the continued use of batteries at Paine Field, but FAA administrator has stated repeatedly that the safety of the nation's air space won't be compromised.