September 14, 2008


Summer traffic has gone from an unruly rolling boil down to a pleasant simmer. The union office is getting a new carpet. What do these two things have in common?

I have had some extra time to read what the FAA has to say on the intranet, especially last night on the midnight shift. As an American citizen and taxpayer, as well as a controller, I feel obligated to step in and add my two cents. This, and perhaps the next post or two, will be off track compared to the normal theme of this blog. Brace for impact.

A lot has been made of NextGen lately, mostly at the FAA's making. Other blogs and news sources have spent much more time and effort in cataloging the FAA's open ended plan to spend all of our money bringing the National Airspace System into the 21st century.

I've never been one to quote other sites and then run wild into the night pointing out inaccuracies. I almost took a few quotes off the FAA website, grabbed a bottle of water, and started running, but I changed my mind. I don't know where to start my marathon of wrath.

Wait! Lets just do this one:

"The next president needs to make the NextGen initiative a national priority, and ensure that it is given the resources, management attention, and sense of urgency that it warrants"
-- Chairman House Committee on Science and Technology, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn)

This was part of his closing statement after being given, what I consider, a few good one liners containing inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information regarding NextGen and the state of the NAS.

The article can be found here. Hopefully that works and you can access the employees page.

There were no specifics mentioned in the FAA article with this quote. All other quotes where as vague as the one printed above. And yet, as I look around the FAA website, and peruse other recent articles about the future benefits of NextGen, I see nothing but increasing efficiency, reducing emissions and fuel burn, and saving flying time for airliners. It sounds good in the context of today's green tinted social fabric, and to many airlines who can't buy a clue about how to make money, but none of this is going anywhere that will improve the NAS as a whole. I have seen NOTHING in regards to increasing SAFETY or CAPACITY. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe all the important subjects are being worked on so feverishly, no one has time to talk about them.

Maybe the next administration will have different priorities than what the current NextGen has to offer in the news column.


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