Sunday, July 15, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- July 15

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Jul 15, 1968: The New York Common Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Room at John F. Kennedy International Airport went into limited operation by taking over the manual IFR operations controlled by the Kennedy TRACON (terminal radar approach control facility). The Common IFR Room then took over manual IFR operations controlled by the Newark and La Guardia airports' TRACONS in August and September. This consolidation permitted more flexible and efficient air traffic control. Under the old scheme, each of the control facilities at Kennedy, Newark, and La Guardia had been assigned airspace with more or less inviolable boundaries separated by large buffer zones. Because of the slowness of communications between the control facilities, boundaries and buffer zones could not be easily shifted to meet changes in traffic flow. In the Common IFR Room, however, controllers working different control areas were within easy reach of each other; when necessary, they were able to shift boundaries and buffers almost instantaneously. (See Jun 1, 1969.) ”

You’ll still hear some old-timers refer to “the Common I”. It’s now N90 (“En Ninety”) or New York Tracon. The rest of the ATC world tries not to let N90 controllers get too big-headed but it is one tough piece of airspace.

It’s had some tough controllers there over the years too. The public remembers that it was Robert Poli who led PATCO down the road to ruin. But it was a former New York controller -- John Leyden -- that made PATCO into a powerhouse before it’s fall. NATCA’s first and second presidents -- Steve Bell and Barry Krasner respectively -- both came from New York Tracon. It’s an understatement but I’ll just let it go with...N90 is an interesting place.

Don Brown
July 15, 2007

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