Day Tripping and FAA Amateur Hour

I don’t normally go for cute kid videos, but this one includes some post-dentist  “day-tripper” action that I enjoyed a lot.

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On a personal note it was reiterated again what a bunch of amateurs work in FAA administration/information technology.

That fact is highlighted by videos such as this and this.

I (as well as many of my air traffic colleagues) admittedly have a great deal of intolerance for incompetence in FAA management and administration as air traffic controllers get zero leeway to make mistakes in their jobs.

And if air traffic controllers make mistakes while working the situation is scrutinized in great detail afterwards (Monday morning quarterbacking by office people or to quote a friend, “Use …

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Merry Christmas to Me From Uncle Sammy

It’s nice to know I’m a valued member of the organization I work for…

It’s another Christmas where almost every other government employee (and all the managers where I work) got a raise except for me and many of my air traffic controller coworkers (except for the newly hired/lower paid “B” scale air traffic controllers whose base pay was cut dramatically from the older “A” scale).

One of them wrote this blog entry that summarizes the situation nicely.

Allegedly the pay freezes and “B” scale for new hires were needed to fund NextGen, the name given to a pie in the sky system to overhaul the entire air traffic system; parts of which haven’t even been specifically defined yet.…

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Magical Mystical NextGen and ADS-B

FAA air traffic controllers been seeing all sorts of videos at work about the FAA’s much touted NextGen air traffic system and ADS-B, apparently to get air traffic controllers excited about the new technology.

We’re beginning our training for ERAM, which is a computer system replacement that will have the capability to use all the whiz-bang features of NextGen, should they ever come to fruition.  The schedule for ERAM however has already slipped due to development delays.

I finally starting looking into the details of ADS-B, a cornerstone of NextGen.  ADS-B is designed to replace radar.  Radar is the primary system air traffic controllers use to determine aircraft position (and keep the aircraft separated by the required distances).…

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Microsoft Virtual Earth Goofiness

Jay, a friend at work (known as JBall to most of those who work with him), is a private pilot and owns a Cessna 182 Skylane.

As such Jay does a fair amount of reading online about aviation issues and topics.  He also plays around with Microsoft Virtual Earth.

I’m not sure how he found this, but he showed this to me last week, and I told him I thought it was notable enough to post here so others could see it too.  So I’m stealing this discovery from Jay and posting it here.  (Thanks, Jay!)

Telluride, Colorado (TEX) airport is situated on a mesa in the mountains.

One can look at maps of the area including aerial …

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The Shame of It All…

I’ve been employed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for just shy of 20 years.  I’ve been a fully certified air traffic controller for over 17 years.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the FAA (as well as the second year air traffic controllers have been working without a contract).

And I have never been as embarrassed of the agency I work for as I am as I write this…

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And if you think that was bad, I couldn’t watch the entire video below either.  The speaker at the beginning is Ventris Gibson, a bigwig at FAA Headquarters in Washington.  According to her bio:

Ventris C. Gibson was appointed as the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Assistant Administrator for

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So Which Is It American Airlines?

For the third consecutive day, American Airlines canceled flights to perform inspections on older MD-80 jets. Some of their MD-80s have had landing gear problems that disable the anti-icing systems. It follows whistle blower revelations from FAA inspectors that both FAA managers and Southwest Airlines were allowing aircraft to fly that had not passed mandatory safety inspections.

Oberstar and the whistle-blowers charged the FAA, the federal agency tasked with watching over the airlines, has become too cozy with the industry it oversees, putting the interests of the airlines ahead of those of the traveling public.

According to CNN (my emphasis), “American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights Thursday as it continues to perform safety inspections on certain jets” …

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Dubious Report in Aircraft Crash Again

The public has a fascination with aircraft crashes. I understand why commercial airline crashes attract attention, but have no theory as to why many other aircraft crashes get the publicity they do.

As someone working in the aviation industry I am interested in crashes from the analytical/investigative side. It’s useful to note the chain of events that is always present leading up to an aircraft/aviation accident(s) in order to prevent future incidents. Over time this approach has obviously enhanced aviation safety.

The latest crash to make the headlines was a Cessna Citation I crash in England that occurred on Sunday in which five died. The accident itself wasn’t that notable or odd, but I immediately noted the following in the …

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Hero Pilot or Simply Lucky?

After a video of a Lufthansa Airbus 320 jet attempting a crosswind landing at Hamburg, Germany on March 1st was posted online the story made a lot of headlines. Some news reported the pilot was a “hero” while others were quite a bit less complementary.

This picture appears to even show the left wing striking the runway during the landing attempt.

Lufthansa Wingtip Drag

In the U.S. FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) 91.3 states that: ” (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.” In other words, ultimately the pilot in command is responsible for the safe operation of an aircraft. I’m assuming the Germans/Europeans have a …

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