Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hey! Where’s FSS?

This passed with hardly any notice. Avweb caught it, so I’ll give them the hits.

Flight Services Contract Extended

”Lockheed Martin's contract to run the automated flight service station system has been extended for three years at a price of $356 million. The company announced the agreement Tuesday. The three-year extension begins Oct. 1. Lockheed Martin took over the AFSS function in 2005 and substantially trimmed the number of flight service stations and staff.”

If you have any trouble remembering this situation -- or following my logic -- I recommend you read this summation at Praxis Foundation. Let’s pretend that something bad happened at Flight Service and that Lockheed was found wanting. The General Public was screaming for somebody’s head and it was decided that Lockheed should not have their contract to manage FSS renewed. Who would run it?

(cricket’s chirping)

Lockheed stole was given the Federal workforce to do the job. They were given the Federal Government’s equipment and databases. The communications system. Who else has all those things? They’ve rewired the whole system to be run from three locations. Who owns all that now? The software? If you were a really motivated individual and decided that you wanted to bid on the FSS contract, how could you win it? Where would you get the employees to run it?

(cricket’s chirping)

Hopefully it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t a contract that is really in play. There isn’t any competition. How can there be? It’s not a private industry. It’s government -- contracted out. This is $100+ million a year corporate welfare for Lockheed.

I‘m curious, how is it working out for controllers and pilots? Seriously, I don’t have a clue how it’s working now. Take a look on the internet. See what you can find. It’s like it dropped off the radar. Everything I see is from 2007 or earlier -- or from Lockheed. Somebody let me know where the FAA is hiding Lockheed’s quarterly report card. We all know how the FAA is with contract oversight. There is some oversight, right? Where is it? Anybody?

Don Brown
October 2, 2010


Paul said...

Honestly? People don't use FSS nearly as much as they used to, at least at ZSE. They file on their own, doing their own preflight briefing.

The majority of time that we deal with FSS is when they're calling for a clearance at an airport where we can't talk to them on the ground, or when they're cancelling. And even that's dwindled some, with the reduction in traffic thanks to the economy.

Don Brown said...

Thanks for the info, Paul.