FAA History Lesson -- September 20

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

” Sep 20, 1959: FAA commissioned the San Antonio air traffic control center's new building, the first in a program to construct 32 new center facilities. Located in most cases away from airports to permit more space and to withstand nuclear attack on critical target areas, the buildings had an expandable design to facilitate installation and use of the latest equipment. By the end of 1960, 15 of the centers were under construction or completed. ”

The controllers out there will be quick to note a few facts that may escape the “civilians.” First, there is no longer a San Antonio Center. Second, there are no longer 32 Centers. There are now only 20. You’ll hear the term “facility consolidation” often in the coming months. It is nothing new. However, there are many reasons (good reasons) for having many facilities. Withstanding “nuclear attack” was just one of them. Withstanding the forces of nature (wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.) is another. We’ve already covered the reason that so many Centers were being built at the same time.

This is a good lesson to store away in the ole memory bank for future use. When the next “Big One” comes along, you’ll have an idea as to what needs to be done.

”The Board determines that the probable cause of this mid-air collision was...inadequacy of facilities and lack of personnel in air traffic control.

The future may be closer than any of us want to think about.

Don Brown
September 20, 2007


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