PHL-CAW
10/19/2004
  NJCAAN/PHL-CAW Action Items-FAA's use of RTCA as an Advisory Committee ---
Request from our Senators and Congressmen to inquire from the FAA why it did not implement the recommendations from the 2000 OIG DOT audit titled "FAA's Use of RTCA, Inc. as an Advisory Committee".

Report Highlights:
In 2000, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Transportation reviewed the FAA's use of the RTCA as an advisory committee. The OIG used the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) as the basis of the audit titled "FAA's Use of RTCA, Inc. as an Advisory Committee" dated May 15, 2000.

The OIG made several recommendations including:
--Publish meeting minutes and other reports reviewed at closed meetings for public review; --Committee recommendations should flow through the committee deliberations process and not directly to the agency outside of the public eye.

The FAA concurred with the report's findings but has failed to implement the report's recommendations for the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign Project and we assume other projects as well. An audit summary is attached to this email and the audit Internet link is listed below.

FAA's Use of RTCA as an Advisory Committee audit Internet link:
http://www.oig.dot.gov/show_pdf.php?id=49

Background:
From our research the FAA has provided detailed modeling to the aviation industry via RTCA and has relied heavily industry input to make policy descisons. The aviation industry also has participated in the development of the redesign through the RTCA Free Flight Select Committee. The committee has acted as an advisory panel for the FAA and had detailed access to redesign modeling and FAA software and technology selection. The Airspace Working Group of the RTCA's Free Flight Select committee worked on the development and provided modeling recommendations to the FAA on four proposals and has undertaken effort to develop a fifth proposal. The Free Flight Select Committee, was chaired by Roger Wall of Federal Express, and consisted of aviation industry and FAA members, and was closed to the public. The committee was retired in June 2004 when a new committee, the RTCA Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee, was formed. The new committee is headed by Russ Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization.

DOT Inspector General
P.O. Box 23178
Washington DC
Tel: 1-800-424-9071 (toll free)
or 202-366-1461 (toll).
Fax: 202-366-7749.
Email:hotline@oig.dot.gov


1) We are demanding strong congressional oversight
File a complaint regarding the FAA's failure to implement the recommendation of the audit directly to the Inspector General at the address provided at the end of this summary. Please include the following outline.

2) Lowest cost procedures violation of NEPA -we are tired of taking abuse from an industry that polices itself.
Did the heavy industry participation affect capital investment decisions (FAA use/non selection of technology LAAS/MLS in favor of ILS). Could it be that the heavy industry participation in this type of project (airspace redesign/software selection) has shelved the use of technology that would reduce the need for airport expansion, controversial environmental permitting (Sea-Tac) and runway projects like PHL 17-35?

3) 2001 Mitre Airport Capacity Benchmarks
It is also our belief that the 2001 Mitre Airport Capacity Benchmarks for PHL were "enhanced" in order to sell congress on the funding required for the airspace redesign and the first FAA installation of STARS @ PHL. FAA knew (in fact) that it could not take PHL over 500,000 operations (becuse of heavy delay) without major airfield modifications since 1991. Yet claimed in 2001 with no new runway plans (publicly) announced that they (FAA) could increase capacity @ PHL by 11% and 17% with only airspace and control systems upgrades?

The FAA must have forgotten to mention (to congress) the 40 million dollars and that a presidential executive order was required to extend 17-35 in order to achieve the 2001 benchmark figures. Do you really think the motivation for PHL/FAA to spend money on a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study in 2001 was to aquire federal funding for Tinucum/Eastwick noise relief? The 1991 PHL Capacity Enhancement Study specifically mentions that Part 150 study would be required before any EIS could be conducted to study impacts from a 17/35 extension project.

4) May 5, 2003: Quarterly Update To Congress --Dual Modena --
Investigate --did FAA have advance knowledge and did industry (any use of RTCA) motivation call for these new procedures in order to prepare the airspace for the arrival of Southwest Airlines, the US Airways pull out from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) and the extension of 17-35 at PHL ? --You know the 80,000 additional flights that will have no impact on the region?

5) Northern Utah Airspace Initiative
Investigate the motivation for Northern Utah Airspace Initiative (use of RTCA) and any prior knowledge of Delta's announced pull out of operations from Dallas/Fort Worth (by FAA) as part of Delta's financial restructuring plan. (I can hear the shredders now)

"The controllers are not having a problem, the pilots are not having a problem and therefore we do not have a problem.. So let's not try to solve a problem that doesn't exist... the FAA is overly optimistic about air traffic growth at the airport.
Tim Campbell, Salt Lake City Department of Airport's director
January 6, 2004

Rumor has it that Delta's pullout from Dallas will allow Southwest to start low fare service and fly direct to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or dozens of other major U.S. cities (can't from LUV) . It's this pesky federal law thing that restricts access for them now. That could change quickly if Southwest or Jet Blue expands to nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), where financially troubled Delta Air Lines is abandoning gates and dropping most of its flights by February pulling back to Salt Lake City --adding more flights like USAIR @ PHL. You know Chapter 11 and restructuring does not have to be so bad....

"Ding" Airline union breaking coming soon to an airport near you..
Maybe we should ask the airline workers how they feel about court ordered USAIR pay cuts or United using underfunded pensions (via the bankruptcy courts) as bargaining chips to maintain artificially low airfares that keeps flight demand up despite inflation, rising fuel and security costs? This plan would be brilliant except that it undermines the economic welfare of working class employees and the communities surrounding airports impacted by (lowest cost) scorched earth FAA/airline environmental policy. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please don't get me started on judges making decisions again or what congress is going to do about the bail out of the pension funds. I also want to know what does a dedicated funding source for SEPTA really mean? Those rants are for another day --can't wait to read the Commerce Committee testimony regarding the pensions.

Please consider in any correspondences to include that NJCAAN/PHL-CAW is very interested in reviewing all information and reports between the FAA and the RTCA and its subgroups with regard to the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign Project, Northern Utah Airspace Initiative and the PHL Runway 17-35 Extension Project.


Can FAA Salvage Its IT Disaster?
By David F. Carr and Edward Cone April 8, 2002
Memphis was a key test-site before URET's national rollout began in late 2001. One early beneficiary: Federal Express, the package delivery firm, which uses Memphis as its main hub for receiving, sorting and resending packages destined for all parts of the United States. With the new URET system, all FedEx planes get optimal routes. The freight shipper runs 130 planes a night out of Memphis. Ninety have standard, "most-efficient'' routes. The other 40 now get fast routes designed by URET, where only a handful got assistance before. "The staffing is minimal on the midnight shift, but the box-haulers want to go as far down the road as they can on a direct path," says Memphis-based air traffic controller Phillip Hardee. The fewer en route course changes, the quicker and cheaper the flight. (I wonder, do you think Fedex jets hold 3000 ft. when crossing thru BWINE?)

Union Conflict Leaves FAA Seeing STARS
By David F. Carr April 9, 2002
Online exclusive: Protests by the controllers union set development of the agency's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) back by four years. The FAA's (STARS) project echoes those corporate ERP war stories in which the benefits of a packaged software purchase prove elusive because of the need to customize it to match the organization's existing operations.

Federal Aviation Administration
Headquarters: 800 Independence Avenue,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20591
Phone: (202) 366-4000

Business:
U.S. Federal agency overseeing civil aviation, including air traffic control and airports.

Top Technology Executives:
Steve Zaidman, Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions; Dan Mehan, Chief Information Officer

Financials:
$14.2 billion (FY 2002 budget)

Challenge:
Modernize air traffic control despite lengthy inability to upgrade systems effectively

Baseline Goals:
Deploy new terminal area control system without exceeding revised $1.4 billion budget Reduce airplane delays from 253 per 100,000 departures, to no more than 171.

Cut the number of fatalities from 3.7 in every 10 million departures, to no more than 1 Reduce the errors controllers make to no more than 5 in every 1 million maneuvers they manage, from 7.3 [ I guess anything is an improvement after 2001 and 9-11]
 
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