ST. LOUIS — Are you safe in the skies during the government shutdown?
The FAA says you are, but we wanted to verify that claim.
We can verify that air traffic control staff and TSA agents aren't furloughed, meaning all of those operations remain normal.
But what about flight inspections?
5 On Your Side called the St. Louis FSDO — which stands for Flight Standards District Office.
They handle pilot licensing, aircraft permits, inspections and investigations for the entire eastern half of Missouri.
But when you show up to their office, you see a sign that says they're closed because of the government shutdown.
We confirmed with the FAA, inspectors like these have been furloughed.
Steve Magoc, Chair of St. Louis University's Department of Aviation Science, says most of the major airlines have their own built-in inspection process or contract that out.
Think of it like internal auditors at a bank.
They do most of the inspections but the FAA inspector is there as an extra set of eyes and to sign off on their work.
Without those inspectors, something could fall through the cracks.
Steve said this could really impact smaller, regional airlines that may not have a large of an inspection operation.
And it turns out Lambert Airport in St. Louis has a large regional airline presence, these carriers contract with larger airlines to places like Chicago and Kansas City.
So when it comes to flight inspections, we can verify that some have stopped because of the shutdown.
Many of major airlines will continue to do their own inspections but we'll lose that extra set of eyes, at least for as long as the government is shut down.
The FAA tells 5 On Your Side, they can recall some employees back to work for emergency inspections if needed.