Monday, July 21, 2008
FAA History Lesson -- July 21 (08)
From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...
”Jul 21, 1963: FAA commissioned a new building for the New York air route traffic control center at Islip, N.Y. This new building brought into service the first real-time solid-state computer to be used by the FAA in air traffic control. Formal dedication ceremonies took place Sep 7-8, 1963. The New York center's old building, in use since 1956, had been located at New York International Airport (Idlewild). “
The controllers and staff are still in that very same building. I have to wonder how many of my readers can actually remember 1963. I know I can (barely.) It gets lost in the clutter of today’s news but the FAA’s infrastructure is old. Some of it is really old.
Some people will use this fact to misguide you. The FAA will use it to misguide you. Some of the radars the FAA uses are as old (if not older) than its buildings. They’ll use this fact to let you believe that radar technology is hopelessly outdated. Then, if you’re like me, you’re sitting there watching a program on TV about shooting down a satellite and notice that they’re using radar to do it.
”The USS Lake Erie is a warship equipped with the Navy's sophisticated Aegis weaponry, an advanced radar-based defensive system that is normally used against antiship missiles and other threats. This technology was adapted for the satellite shootdown. “
The difference is, of course, that the U.S. Navy isn’t using radar systems built in the 1950’s. The FAA is. Did you ever stop to ask yourself, “Why” ? Both are the U.S. Government. For years, many of the FAA’s managers came from the military -- from Elwood R. Quesda to Robert Sturgell. Why is it that the military can shoot down a satellite and the FAA can only shoot itself in the foot ?
July 21, 2008