New York’s airspace could be changing. The Hudson River VFR corridor came under fresh and vociferous political attack in the wake of the August 8 fatal midair between a Piper PA-32R piston single and a Liberty Helicopters Eurocopter AS 350BA. The accident killed nine.
Terminal Control Center
Since Hank Krakowski became COO of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization in October 2007, he has focused his attention on making the ATC system more efficient.
For the upcoming thunderstorm season, the FAA is changing the severe weather avoidance plan (Swap) to cut down on gate holds and takeoff delays associated with route closures. During future Swap events, New York Tracon will staff a phone position to handle alternate routing requests from flight-planning service providers.
Federal and local officials broke ground early last month for a new Air Traffic Control System Command Center colocated with the FAA’s Potomac Tracon southwest of Dulles International Airport (IAD).
BEECH King Air 200, Strasburg, Colo., Jan. 27, 2001–The NTSB determined the probable cause to be the pilot’s spatial disorientation resulting from his failure to maintain positive manual control of the airplane with the available flight instrumentation. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the loss of aircraft electrical power during IMC.
Although Congress is on its annual summer vacation, the battle over privatization of ATC continued at press time. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said in a telephone press conference on August 13 that they will fight a proposal in the pending FAA reauthorization bill that would allow privatization of 69 general aviation control towers now staffed by FAA controllers.
A shortage of controllers at Chicago Center and an uptick in air traffic in that sector are a prescription for disaster that the FAA has so far ignored at the expense of public safety, claim officials for the air traffic controllers union.
Consolidation of five terminal radar approach control facilities into the new Potomac Tracon, located in Vint Hill, Va., is now complete. The facility incorporates Tracons previously located at Washington Dulles International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Baltimore-Washington International and Richmond International airports, as well as Andrews Air Force Base.
Citing last summer’s midair collision between a DHL International Airways Boeing 757 and a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 over southern Germany, the NTSB has recommended that the FAA modify its ATC data-processing backup systems to provide conflict alerts to the greatest extent possible.
Although the FAA has finally commissioned its first standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), the agency has drastically reduced the number of systems it plans to install at the nation’s airports. And that has caused some people to question the FAA’s commitment to ATC modernization.