November 9, 2014

Someone has to do it.

Years ago, Memphis Center had some issues and the controllers saved the day.  I asked around for examples of what kind of things controllers did right to produce a positive outcome.  Ya know, so we could learn from it and hopefully do better next time.

My employer had no interested in such a thing for reasons I'll never understand.  I asked around for the same thing regarding the extended ATC Zero Chicago incident.  I'm gonna plead the fifth when asked why I think the FAA refuses to spread useful info that could improve safety.  Who knows, maybe they are going to round us all up in a room and present to us their findings someday.  For now, all we have is AOPA.  Thank you, AOPA.

This all happened on the first day of my road trip vacation.  I missed almost all of it.  When I came back 13 days later, no one said anything.  There was nothing to sign off on.  If I hadn't paid attention to the news, and if every single freaking person I know hadn't asked, I wouldn't have known why the Midway arrivals were permanently rerouted over northern Ontario with huge in-trail.  "Oh, that's weird, they're doing it again today," I would have said the next day.  That's a lie, of course.  The controllers in my area had everything under control.  The end wall had a nice new jumbo sized map of the US airway structure with Chicago outlined in highlighter.  J29.ROD..VHP..SPI direct was our newest and most used preferred route.

A few stories trickled in, but I still have no idea what kind of "new procedures" were happening.  And I can't fathom what "manually passing EVERY flight plan" could possible be like for 60 hours a week.

I hope that someday I get answers to half of my questions.  For the same reason that Apollo 13 got a movie and 1-12, and 14-17 didn't - other than a great documentary.  It's a story of humans overcoming huge obstacles ingeniously and heroically.

If anyone has additional information they'd like to share about the Midwest chaos that was no doubt occurring, please email me or comment.  Thanks!