Friday, July 09, 2010

Can I Get a Job?

Hey! Maybe I could get hired and just commute to downtown like the rest of Metro Atlanta.

FAA, Georgia Tech to study potential effects of NextGen on pilots, controllers

”US FAA and Georgia Institute of Technology will research jointly the effects the NextGen ATC system will have on flight crew members and controllers with respect to the "increased sophistication on the flight deck."”

”It also will examine how flight crews and controllers interact with automation, investigating how the roles will "evolve" along with NextGen technology.”

All kidding aside, that actually sounds like it’s right up my alley. And this is how NextGen -- and other programs like it -- wind up winning support. You get sucked into them because that is where the money is. In other words, you do the work you always wanted to do -- designing the interface between man and machine -- you just tailor your work to fit the project. It’s the funding, stupid. The next thing you know, you support NextGen because it’s paying for work that is important to you -- and it supplies a paycheck.

Just another one of the reasons the goals of NextGen are so vague (.pdf file). It can be all things to all people.

”Our primary goal is to provide new capabilities that make air transportation safer and more reliable, improve the capacity of the National Airspace System (NAS) and reduce aviation’s impact on our environment.”

1)”...make air transportation safer”. Air transportation is already the safest mode of transportation ever devised by man. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’d like to make it safer (and it can be) but quantifying that will be tough.

2) ”... more reliable,...” That’s easy. Implement slot controls at all commercial airports. We’ve been down this road before. The MWAA still summed it up best. ”We believe that the limits on National need to remain close to that number in order to avoid the congestion and assure the reliability, particularly in poor weather, that we have come to value so much.“

3) “...improve the capacity...” . Build more runways. End of story. (Well, you have to have the gates and ramps to go with them.) 30,40 or 50 billion dollars worth of software and satellites not needed.

4) “...reduce aviation’s impact on our environment.” More runways. Slot controls. Regulate airline scheduling. That will diminish all the waiting -- in the air and on the ground -- that we currently suffer through. Millions of gallons of fuel wasted. Not to mention billions and billions of hours of lost productivity.

We don’t need $50 billion to change things. We just need to recognize the truth and act upon the facts.

I’m not getting that job am I?

Don Brown
July 9, 2010


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