Thursday, April 25, 2013

Airlines delayed and question of safety

Sarge at OneAngryZebra and I were in past lives air traffic controllers, certified FAA, he longer than me.

The congress agreed to cuts, even to the FAA, so we got what they bought.  By reducing the number of controllers we see delays.  What you should understand is that fewer controllers are on duty.  Controllers can only handle so many targets and radio conversations at a time, therefore the delays.  People, the delays are what insures safety.  The number of flights each controller deals with is still about what it was before, again, therefore the delays.   If we had dumped a lot of controllers and there were no delays, then that would mean we were at higher risk.  I, and Sarge I expect, are encouraged by the delays, it means the system is operating as it should, and it only operates for safety, that's it's single purpose, not speed, not comfort, safety.  Safety is achieved by separation, by distance, by time, interval, by altitude, these can't change.

Sure the GOP is whining they should look to save money from other sources, not allowed by the law Congress passed, but if it was what do you suggest, shutting off the radar, that would save money, don't repair any radio's, more saved, cancel all contracts for new equipment, don't use the runway lights, stop the Oklahoma City Air Traffic Control school from ongoing training?  Go on, choose one.


  1. Darrel,
    Great post! Lots of ways to look at this: closing Muncie, Indiana's airport tower is unlikely to be a problem and will save money.
    If the City of Muncie wants that tower kept open - say, 6am to 9pm daily - hire the controllers naturally at a wage lower than a GS-11 step five or whatever - But, at a fair wage.
    If cuts need to be made with the FAA - let them be in non-controller positions as in management.
    And, as I have previously posted - landing at a uncontrolled airport is not a big deal - Again, I soloed in a 172 at Kokomo, In (no tower).
    Yes, delays are to be expected.
    Don't like delays - Don't vote for those whom refuse to cooperate and legislate.
    As to "he, longer than me" - I would dare say that when I hung up my headset for the last time that I was one of the most facilty rated controllers in the Air Force. What happened long after you got out was the office people didn't have to get rated. Well, the guy who signed your ticket did. These fuckers were useless.
    Osan in 1980 - Osan lands 09/27 (east-west) and Suwon (BUSY ROKAF F-5 base) landed 33 R/L - the finals crossed at 4.2 miles on approach into Osan. IFR (instrument flight rules - meaning total control over the aircraft) things weren't a problem. On a clear day - It was! F-4s on radar final landing Osan would have ROK F-5s cross their nose! All we wanted was to get the initial atitude for the 360 overhead at Suwon raised 500'. The assholes in the office had no clue what we were bitching about.
    Same for when I went to that bells and whistles place at Tyndall- automated, just like FAA. Then the computer dumped and the fuckers didn't know how to run basic radar - And, I then learned - Had no knowledge of non-radar procedures.
    Shit! I taught Gary Andres conventional approach control over the phone while he was at the school in OKC!
    I taught classes. Then went to the tower.

    15 years USAF Air Traffic Controll and not a single AF Commendation Medal. I guess I was just too direct. Ended up working for the Operations Officer, 552d AWAC Wing - He wanted me to be direct.

    As to the sequester - It is all about the GOP granting this new president no success. Do you know that there is likely another vote pending in the House to repeal Obamacare. Are we at 35, 36, maybe 40 times now?


  2. Now, at the 552d on Wing Staff at Tinker I was a Master Sgt.
    That lets you growl a whole lot deeper....

    Retired from there with a Meritorious Service Medal.



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