Monday, August 06, 2007

Playing Catch Up



It is the curse of the unorganized: You can’t take a vacation without falling behind. Oh well. Luckily for me my blog doesn’t have a deadline. It seems an awful lot happened in just 3 short days.

A-number-one, first-on-my-list is a job-well-done to J. Adrian Stanley for a story in the Colorado Springs Independent entitled Turbulence Ahead. It’s one the best efforts I’ve seen regarding the current events in air traffic control.

Popular Mechanics, on the other hand, has fallen into the pit -- something you wouldn’t expect from a magazine that is supposedly techno-savvy. In their article End of Flight Delays? FAA's GPS Fix Could Bust Sky Gridlock they’ve fallen for the bait -- hook, line and GPS-guided sinker. Seriously, this argument is the equivalent of Ali’s rope-a-dope. One look at the first graphic tells you all you need to know. There’s a pretty blue line that shows the airplane taking off Airport A and making a beeline, straight to Airport B. It’s a GPS-inspired miracle I tell you. Why didn’t we think of that before ?

Oh yeah. That’s right. We did think of that before. Unfortunately the airplane at Airport B wants to fly the same line to Airport A. When two different vehicles were on the same track -- head on -- we used to call it a Train Wreck. You’d think a magazine like Popular Mechanics would have heard of that before. And the jetstream.

Maybe PM hasn’t heard of Wikipedia.

”The location of the jet stream is extremely important for airlines. In the United States and Canada, for example, the time needed to fly east across the continent can be decreased by about 30 minutes if an airplane can fly with the jet stream, or increased by more than that amount if it must fly west against it. On longer intercontinental flights, the difference is even greater, and it is often actually faster and cheaper flying eastbound along the jet stream rather than taking the shorter great circle route between two points.”

I could write another 500 (or 5,000) words telling you how many fundamental concepts of air traffic control they failed to grasp in their article. But I won’t.

What else is in the news ? Oh yeah, AVweb says the Bush Administration is looking at Barbara Barrett for the FAA Administrator slot. From other sources, I hear that a “recess appointment” is under consideration to get around the Senate confirmation process.

As I told one of my friends the other night...Say what you will, the Bush Administration is the most effective administration I’ve seen in my career -- as far as changing government. It (government) may not work well anymore, but they’ve changed it. The problem is that their method is from a lesson every young boy learns very quickly. It takes half the day to build something out of Lincoln Logs or Legos or Popsicle sticks. It doesn’t take but a minute or two to (gleefully) destroy it.

Don Brown
August 6, 2007

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