Local News

Oct 7, 2013 7:13 PM

Contractor Furloughs Ground Student Pilots

CORPUS CHRISTI - Civilian employees at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi are back at work today, but contractors are not.

This weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that all civilian employees head back to work. He based his decision on a Pentagon interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act passed shortly before the government shutdown began.

The law doesn't cover contractors who work for military bases. L-3 Vertex stopped work at the base on friday. BAE Systems will stop work by 11 p.m. tonight.

Meanwhile, student pilots at NAS Kingsville are not flying because of the shutdown. Since L-3 Vertex stopped work no one is on hand to perform safety checks on aircrafts, as well as fix and re-fuel them.

Without that job being done, the pilots are stuck on the ground.

"The ones that are affected the most right now are the ones, and that would be the majority, that are in the cockpit, that need to be in the cockpit today. Now there are certainly folks that may have just checked in recently, that are in their classroom phase anyway, that are just doing what they would have been doing anyway, had we not even had a government shutdown. But certainly, there are folks that aren't flying that should be flying today," says Captain Christopher Misner of NAS Kingsville.

While the students are waiting to fly again, they are spending more time doing safety drills and working in the classroom.


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