November 25, 2009


For those of you, like me, working in the high-speed aluminum tubing industry, let's be thankful that we are able to serve the flying public when they need us the most. For those of you getting the weekend off....

Enjoy your turkey!

Till next time...


November 22, 2009


By now many of you are aware of NextGen, the FAA's vague plan to change the world, courtesy of your tax dollars. The first big step in this plan is to convert the main computer system that has been in use (and running strong, sorta) since the 1960s (EDIT, I'm told the actual machines in use are only from the 80s...). Yes, it is out of date. But it works. The same cannot be said, as of November 2009, for the new computer system, ERAM.

ERAM is supposed to be deployed already, at least to most of the Centers. So far it's stuck at the first implementation in Salt Lake. We don't hear much about it in Boston, except that it is coming, and we need to get ready for it, and that it will solve all of our problems! The FAA sends controllers up a few at a time to watch a computer based lesson plan detailing the future features of ERAM. There is even a test at the end implying that the informative lecture should be committed to memory and we will be obligated to fully understand the concepts when the system goes online months and years down the road. Yet, all of the features are "subject to change" prior to Boston actually getting plugged in. I'll try to remember the differences while I'm working live traffic on our old HOST system 40+ hours a week.

ERAM is hitting a little closer to home in Seattle Center. They work directly with Salt Lake and have seen first hand the uncertainty that comes with testing such an important piece of safety equipment on live traffic, only to watch it not work. As it turns out, one of the controllers there has been writing a much better, more informative blog for years longer than I have even been a controller. I invite you to slew over to the newest adjacent sector and check out the FAA Follies. I try to avoid the politics whenever possible, but, when they cannot be avoided, the Follies is all over it.

Till next time....


PS. These spectator computer lessons are not going to be our only training on the new system, we'll get a few days in the simulators, but still.......