Wednesday, April 02, 2008

FAA History Lesson -- April 1 & 2

I fell asleep at the switch yesterday. I was running a little short on time because of the CFS conference and I didn’t check the FAA’s history for the day. I mean, after all, nobody plans any momentous events on April Fool’s day right ? Wrong. It was one of the busiest days in the FAA’s history that I’ve seen. I chose this entry:

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

” Apr 1, 1962: FAA commissioned the Fort Worth air traffic control center's new building. Other new center buildings commissioned during 1962 were: Kansas City, Apr 30; Denver, May 1; Memphis, May 5; Minneapolis, Jul 1, Seattle, Aug 1; Salt Lake City, Oct 1; Indianapolis, Nov 1; and Chicago, Dec 1. “

It’s just amazing what these folks can accomplish when they want to. Keep in mind each Center has probably 30-50 radar scopes and houses 400-600 people. Those number might have been a little lower back that far but still...

Pretty amazing what a few mid air collisions will do to motivate the FAA.

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

”Apr 2, 1971: The Administrator gave air traffic control facilities increased flexibility in granting pilot routing and altitude requests for all types of aircraft. Conditions permitting, controllers were empowered to: relax the requirements for preferential routings; assign the most economical altitudes; discontinue standard instrument departures; and honor requests for direct radar vectors. These relaxed procedures were made possible by a temporary decline in air traffic during fiscal 1971 (the first such decline since fiscal 1961), which coincided with a general slowdown in the U.S. economy. “

I think I mentioned the other day that an economic slowdown may be the FAA’s best chance to weather this storm. After listening to the safety representatives at this conference, the FAA will need another Depression in order to keep their head above water. Hey, it’s either that or they really need to be “motivated.” Check entry #1, above. Take your pick.

That’s the problem with making bad decisions. Bad decisions usually only leave you with bad choices.

Don Brown
April 2, 2008

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