Military immunity does not block a civilian supervisor from suing officers who withdrew his air traffic control certificate after a series of incidents at Hill Air Force Base, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Robert Newton was implicated in five air traffic control incidents between January 2002 and November 2003, according to the Utah Air National Guard officers he sued. Three cases involved planes flying too closely together. In the others, a plane dropped ordnance in a closed target area and a plane entered the airspace without properly coordinating with air traffic control.
Newton was not considered responsible for each of the incidents, but investigators questioned his supervision of the controllers, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling said. His certificate was eventually withdrawn and he was suspended indefinitely.