Friday, August 24, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- August 24

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

” Aug 24:, 1992 Hurricane Andrew swept through south Florida, causing devastation that included damage to airports and resulting flight cancellations. Among the worst hit FAA facilities were the Richmond Long Range Radar site and the tower and International Automated Flight Service Station at Tamiami airport, all of which were severely damaged. Facilities at Key West lost communication lines, and other agency installations experienced significant damage, power loss, and outages. By the following day, however, Miami, Key West, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale Executive airports reopened. The hurricane moved into Louisiana on August 26. During the height of the storm, most FAA facilities in the affected part of that state shut down or were placed on standby status, and several airports were temporarily closed. The hurricane destroyed or badly harmed the homes of about 144 FAA employees in the Miami area, and the agency organized an airlift to provide emergency relief. A committee representing local agency organizations coordinated the distribution of supplies and of funds donated by FAAers throughout the country, while the agency provided such benefits as administrative leave, counseling, and emergency loans. At the same time, FAA rushed the restoration of airspace system facilities and supported the overall Federal relief program. ”

Hey ! Wasn’t somebody just saying something about hurricanes and ATC the other day ? Oh yeah, that was me.

You can’t cover all the bases in a book (or a blog) but if I remember correctly, that long range radar site mentioned above stayed out of service for a long time (like over a year.) I also seem to remember NATCA getting supplies to controllers faster than the FAA did (thanks in large part to a couple of aviation friends that won’t be named -- or forgotten.) I know we (that’d be NATCA) have done so ever since. We even have an unofficial hurricane rescue expert. (I’ll pick on Cliff just because I know he’ll only point out how well others have responded too.) I know our guys showed up in New Orleans before FEMA did -- but a lot of folks can make that claim.

Don Brown
August 24, 2007

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