Thursday, June 02, 2011

It’s Not a Bug

It’s a feature. Hopefully, you’ve heard that old saw about software. (Speaking of software...ERAM? Anyone?) That’s the thought that came to mind when I read this most-fascinating article from Aviation Week.

Anticipating NextGen's Unintended Consequences

”"We were on our way to Europe, high up in the flight levels," he said. "It was a gorgeous morning, bright and clear, smooth as silk. We were monitoring the instruments, making our position reports to Shanwick Control, when overhead, a thousand feet above, came a Boeing 747-400 overtaking us.

"It was absolutely stunning," the plot enthused. "We could see every rivet, every detail of that big, beautiful jetliner. We were absolutely transfixed — until suddenly, we were almost upside down!"”

That’s just to get your attention and get you started in reading a dense and lengthy article. I’ll spare you my usual diatribe and snarky “I told You So”s in order to save you time to read it. Just two thoughts:

1) Notice the lack of air traffic controllers. (With all due respect to the NBAA’s Bob Lamond -- a really nice guy.)

2) You miss these kind of things if you don’t read all the way to the end:

”Editor's Note: We invited FAA to provide input for this report, but the agency, acting through its Public Affairs office, declined to participate.”

I bet every single controller that reads all the way through this will think to themselves -- at least once: “Pie in the sky”. Sorry. I can’t help myself.

Don Brown
June 2, 2011

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