Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Government to Refund All Taxes



Seriously. I just heard it on the news. The Federal Aviation Administration has learned how to warp time, defy the physical laws of the universe and get blood from a stone. This GPS-thingy is some really slick stuff.

I really don’t know what to say folks. I thought that Time magazine had it wrong with this article. I just figured it was a reporter that didn’t really understand aviation (much less air traffic control) but having just watched The CBS Evening News, I saw almost the exact same graphic. It shows an airplane flying from radar station to radar station. Huh ? Airplanes have never done that. They used to fly from radio station to radio station (a radio navigation device called a VOR) but hardly anyone uses the actual stations anymore. Most of them already have the capability to fly direct without passing over the VORs.

The airway system we use in air traffic control is based on the VORs. It doesn’t have to be. We already have some GPS airways and there is nothing to stop us from building many more (except time, common sense and the laws of physics.) Of course, most airplanes don’t use the ones we have now. The FAA built two GPS airways through Charlotte Approach’s airspace years ago (T201 and T203.) The few times I tried to assign them, the pilots didn’t know what I was talking about. Or to be more precise, they couldn’t figure out how to get the airway programmed into the GPS system. It’ll be a little tough to get them to fly “closer together” if they can’t fly the “new and improved” airways.

Looking at this from the outside, the only conclusion I can come up with is that the Press has been conned. I don’t suspect they’ll be too happy about it when they figure it out. But by that time, the taxpayers will have seen $40 billion dollars of their money spent.

“...take off and land closer together.” , says the CBS News report. I can just hear it now, “Delta123, flight of two, cleared to land runway 9-Right.” Don’t worry about the wake turbulence, GPS has taken care of that. And your refund check is in the mail.

Don Brown
August 28, 2007

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