At first glance Chicago seems much like a handful of other large metropolitan cities–a pair of airline hubs surrounded by a smattering of general aviation reliever fields. But in Chicago’s case, the center of the airspace is O’Hare International Airport, the world’s busiest (909,530 operations last year). Chicago’s second hub, Midway, relinquished that same title to O’Hare in the 1960s.
O'Hare International Airport
The operations and maintenance forum on the second day of the RAA convention crossed a broad range of subjects, from a discussion of the FAA’s operational evolution plan (OEP) and line operational safety audits (LOSA) to an overview of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and an update on retrofit requirements for reinforced cockpit doors.
In a September 9 report to the FAA Administrator, the DOT’s inspector general called upon the agency “to reevaluate the costs of Stars [the standard terminal automation and replacement system] and consider other alternatives.”
During construction of Miami International Airport’s new 8,600-foot Runway 8/26 (800 feet north of and parallel to existing 10,506-foot Runway 9L/27R), some pilots had steered toward the new strip of pavement when cleared to land on Runway 9L. According to an FAA spokeswoman, there have been no further occurrences since the new runway was commissioned on September 4, when new approach charts were issued.
Extending Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Runway 13/31 is on hold. Early last month, city officials voted to halt construction at the Florida airport. A 1997 development order called for extending it from 6,930 feet to 9,000 feet, the same as Runway 9L/27R.
Hesitant to “look a gift horse in the mouth,” Regional Airline Association president Debby McElroy applauded the Office of Management and Budget’s decision to allow bankrupt carriers, including RAA members Midway Airlines and Shuttle America, access to part of the $10 billion in loan guarantees signed into law as part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act.
Six aviation associations last month submitted a joint letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging it to support full funding of the FAA’s federal contract tower program. The 223 federal contract towers at smaller airports in 46 states represent 45 percent of all towers in the U.S. and handle approximately 25 percent of all control-tower operations in the U.S., according to the letter.
A cargo-configured Falcon 20 made a gear-up landing at Detroit City Airport shortly after takeoff on August 28, sliding off the end of the runway and coming to rest among the headstones of a cemetery adjacent to the airport on the city’s east side.
Aviation interests on Capitol Hill don’t come to a stop just because the NBAA Convention is being held. Yesterday, the House transportation and infrastructure subcommittee on aviation held a hearing on airline delays and consumer issues, and NBAA was there.
Congress has begun hashing out the final act in the most recent FAA funding battle. Bills in the House and the Senate are scheduled for votes and the differing measures could proceed to a joint House-Senate conference committee for final resolution later this fall. Some Capitol Hill observers expect that a conference agreement could be reached before the end of this month.