Friday, December 19, 2008

Stupid to the Last



It’s hard to believe -- well, maybe it isn’t -- but the FAA, under the Bush Administration, is staying stupid right up until the very end. Read this story from Ed O’Keefe in his column at The Washington Post.

Storm Brewing Between FAA and Weather Service

”The Bush administration seems eager to make a final decision before Inauguration Day, after trying for years to change the FAA's use of government forecasters in an effort to reduce costs and improve efficiency.“

Be sure to check out the comments section. As of this writing, not a single person thinks this is a good idea. I swear, the FAA has an incurable case of stupid. I’m sorry, but this is just incomprehensibly stupid.

First, the local meteorologists do a fantastic job. They save lives. As I wrote in the comment section of The Post, I’ve seen them do it first hand. More than once. Furthermore, the meteorologists were put into the Centers for a reason -- a reason that is perfectly valid today. Anybody remember Southern 242 ?

Second, we’re in a recession headed for a Depression. We’re trying to boost employment through government spending. This midnight maneuver by the Bush Administration is 180 degrees out of whack with what we need to be doing. And it’s dangerous. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

January 20th can’t get here soon enough.

Here’s one other little piece of the puzzle for my readers. The FAA and the NWS are trying to get rid of the local weather guys and do all the work out of Kansas City. The weather guys in Kansas used to work on a little weather project called the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product. The local guys would send in their forecasts, predicting where the thunderstorms were going to be for the day. After collaborating with the airlines, the Kansas City folks would send out their national forecast and the FAA’s Air Traffic System Command Center (aka Flow Control, Central Flow, Command Center) would implement the national air traffic plan for the day. Surprise, surprise ! The collaborative forecast was always more optimistic than the local weatherman’s forecast. And I’ve still got the pictures to prove it.



You see those two holes -- one in North Georgia and one in South Georgia ? They may not mean much to you but they mean everything to Center controllers. All the traffic from the Northeast -- New York, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, etc, etc. -- was going to be routed down over Georgia betting those two holes would be there. When they aren’t, it’s chaos. Guess who got to sort out that chaos ? Me and a couple of hundred other controllers.

Take a look a this -- what the weather was really like.



Do you see any holes ? The only holes out there are in the FAA’s collective head.

Don Brown
December 19, 2008

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