Wednesday, November 21, 2007

His Lips Are Moving

The avalanche of press coverage about President Bush and his “express lanes” in the sky continues. So many little time.

Seriously, I’m really pressed for time.

Read this, if you like, from the aptly named Memphis Commercial Appeal...

More air lanes open to ease holiday flights

...but the only thing I really want you to see is this quote.

”Delays in New York airports account for about 75 percent of the airplane delays across the nation, said Jim Burnley, secretary of Transportation under Reagan.

"This is a novel and unprecedented step," he said. "This is the deepest that any president has delved into aviation issues since Reagan had to face down the air traffic controllers' union in 1981."”

I remember a time when Mr. Burnley delved into aviation -- or should I say, air traffic control. I was there.

Say Again? #61: It's Here!

”As I told you in Say Again? #9: Maiden and Me, predicting bad things is how I got my start in the safety business. In a meeting with the Secretary of Transportation and the FAA Administrator (James Burnley and T. Allan McArtor, respectively), I got a little hot under the collar about the tone of the meeting and I forgot to be intimidated by their titles. I told them what I thought was going to happen and where. And I was right. Well, I was close enough. And speaking of close, so were COA458 and COA703. That earned me a phone call from AT-1, the head of Air Traffic for the FAA (Keith Potts at the time), to apologize for the way we controllers were treated at the meeting. Trust me, when the head of Air Traffic calls the facility to get a rookie controller off the sector for a conversation, it gets the attention of a lot of managers.”

Let me steal an old joke about how to tell when a lawyer is lying.

How can you tell when a controller is telling ”The Truth”?

When he’s got his nose pressed to the glass of his radar scope -- or in a meeting with a bunch of politicians -- trying to keep two airliners from hitting each other.

Don Brown
November 21, 2007

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