The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) claims that a shortage of full-performance level (FPL) controllers at the Chicago Tracon–the nation’s third-busiest approach control facility–has brought the level of safety below an “acceptable” level, and the union has asked the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to intervene.
Terminal Control Center
The U.S. ATC central nervous system–known as the traffic-flow management system–has nearly outgrown its capacity, prompting the FAA to call for modernization of this critical infrastructure. The complex computer system is the heart of the National Airspace System Command Center in Herndon, Va., which continuously feeds traffic-flow information to ARTCCs, Tracons, towers, civil operators, military bases and other U.S.
The FAA intends to implement major airspace changes in the Southwest U.S. on October 4. The Las Vegas four cornerpost plan integrates changes in standard routings in airspace controlled by the Albuquerque and Los Angeles Centers. The plan also includes changes to the Phoenix and Las Vegas Tracon airspace that serves Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Las Vegas McCarran International Airports.
NBAA is scheduled to sponsor an ATC user dialogue at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on October 29. The event will start with a lunch at noon. Air traffic controllers and ATC supervisors from the Eastern Region, New York Center, Tracon and local towers will be present. It’s expected that the discussion will center around new security-based operational changes. For more information, contact Bob Lamond at NBAA.
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.”
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.
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.