Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
Terminal Control Center
In response to a recent spate of aviation safety reports (ASRs) filed by pilots, New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport (TEB) could be in danger of losing one of its departure routes, according to Bill Mack, managing director of the Teterboro Users Group, an advocacy association of airport users and operators. It seems that some pilots departing from Teterboro are not maintaining adequate separation from airliners arriving at Newark.
An FAA investigation of the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (Tracon) determined that it is "more than adequately staffed for safe operations and that local union-controlled scheduling practices are inefficient and wasteful, creating overtime costs that are more than double any other air ATC facility in the country." The need for overtime was compounded, the report said, "by absences due to widespread abuse of sick leave and workers c
While legislation that would direct the Transportation Security Administration to study the vulnerability of general aviation airports to terrorist acts is dragging through Congress, there is talk in the GA community about possible changes to the widely reviled Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ now covers 3,700 sq mi that closely follow the Washington-Baltimore Class B airspace.
The FAA selected a preferred alternative in late March for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign project after 10 years of studies, meetings, legal wrangling and a bit of mud slinging. The Integrated Airspace Alternative (IAA) calls for entirely new concepts in airspace management and routing that the agency feels will greatly reduce delays in the busy northeast corridor.
Stephen Hickok of Hickok & Associates, Orange Beach, Ala., announced on Thursday that the FAA performed a successful flight inspection on February 23 of the company’s design for the first helicopter simultaneous noninterfering (SNI) instrument approach in a complex airspace system.
At about the same time Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was announcing plans for a “next-generation air transportation system” to the Washington Aero Club in late January, word was filtering out of the White House that the Bush Administration wanted to cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget for fiscal year 2005 by almost half a billion dollars.
The FAA last month chose Lockheed Martin from a field of five bidders to provide the services now offered by the agency’s 58 automated flight service stations in the continental U.S., Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Under a five-year contract that includes five additional option years, the agency expects to save $2.2 billion if it exercises all of the option years.
Shortly after midnight on October 24, a Learjet 35A, a Med Flight air ambulance flight, crashed in mountainous terrain eight miles east of San Diego Brown Field Municipal Airport (SDM). All five aboard–the ATP-rated captain, copilot and three medical crew–were killed and the jet was destroyed.
“The job of a controller is no longer just separating airplanes,” National Air Traffic Controllers Association president John Carr told attendees at a symposium on “Post 9/11 Security Impacts on Air Traffic Control and Aviation” in Washington, D.C., in late January. “They have to be aware of possibilities that we did not even contemplate on the morning of September 10.”