PHL-CAW
3/20/2005
  Master of Puppets --
Did The FAA Ignore Another OIG Audit?

In May 2003, the US Department of Transportation Office Of Inspector General (OIG) published its assessment of the FAA’s implementation of the Yardley/Robbinsville Flip-Flop procedure. This procedure affected Newark and LaGuardia arrivals over New Jersey. The OIG made several recommendations including avoiding piecemeal implementation of components of a larger redesign.

FAA-Pre-Flip-Flop--EWR-LGA-JFK Dual Modena MXE --No FAA Choke Point
Yardley/Robbinsville Dual (MXE) @ PHL

Copy below from from PHL 17-35 FEIS -- Category E Technology Improvements --
(Alternative E1) FAA has considered using technology at PHL and at other airports, and other agencies and reviewers, during scoping, suggested analyzing technology improvements. While several technology improvements have recently been implemented or are planned for implementation at PHL, including a Dual MXE procedural change to increase efficiency for west-flow departures...

In October 2003, the agency implemented the Dual Modena (MXE) procedure for Philadelphia Airport westbound departures, which we believe is a component of the Metro Airspace Redesign project and not part of the FAA's Choke Point initiatives which ended in 2002. As a result, we believe that the the FAA completely ignored the 2003 OIG recommendations. In 2000, the OIG audited the FAA’s use of the RTCA as an advisory committee, which included several recommendations that the FAA adopt. We also believe the FAA ignored the recommendations of this earlier OIG audit as well. An airport is not a "nuisance per se", but may become a nuisance because of unsuitable location

What does the OIG do when its recommendations are ignored? What do our elected officials do when the OIG’s recommendations are ignored? We want to know who "pulls the strings" of the agency that regulates all air traffic and environmental affiars at airports in the United States -- Congress or the Aviation Cartel? Until these questions can be answered, this "piecemeal" expansion of Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) must be stopped.


Stephen Donato
www.phl-caw.org

*************************************************

Airspace Redesign: Yardley/Robbinsville Flip-Flop
US Department of Transportation
Office of Inspector General
May 20, 2003

Internet Link: http://www.oig.dot.gov/show_pdf.php?id=1100

At the request of Congressman Mike Ferguson, we reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) actions to inform Members of Congress and the public about the Yardley/Robbinsville “Flip-Flop”.

Our review of agency records does not support agency statements on the checklist the it briefed Members of Congress, community leaders, and affected citizens about the Flip-Flop.

Problems in communicating the Flip-Flop were exacerbated by moving on a “fast-track and attempting to work the Flip-Flop in conjunction with the much larger New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign effort.

FAA misjudged the reaction the Flip-Flop would generate with elected officials and citizens of New Jersey… …FAA must document how it determines whether or not an airspace change is controversial and do a better job of documenting meetings with Congress.

Accordingly, we recommend that the FAA:

1. Avoid combining airspace redesign efforts that have vastly different implementation schedules, levels of review, need for public involvement, and anticipated impacts.

2. Document how it determines whether on not a proposed airspace change is controversial.

3. Document and maintain lists of invitees, attendees, and FAA staff (including contractors), as well as copies of all presentations given at environmental related meetings with the public and congressional representatives.

FAA orders and current environmental rules and regulations require FAA to perform an environmental impact study or environmental assessment before changes can be made to airports and surrounding airspace. However, a categorical exclusion from these requirements is authorized for airspace changes conducted at 3,000 feet or more above ground level that do not cause traffic to be routinely routed over noise sensitive areas or increase the noise footprint of an airport. (pp. 7)

However, according to FAA Order 1050.1D (Policies and Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts), in a scenario were FAA believes an action may be controversial on environmental grounds, it must inform the public even if a categorical exclusion is authorized. (pp. 7)

FAA did not believe that the public would oppose the Flip-Flop because a study indicated that, of a total of 17 million people affected by aircraft noise in the area, 207,000 would receive less noise and over 388,000 would be exposed to increased noise levels. The fact that over 388,000 people would receive more noise should have been a red flag to FAA. Furthermore, there is no documentation to indicate how FAA determined the Flip-Flop would not be controversial. (pp. 8)


Delawareonline.com - Governor's letter clarifies Delaware's position on border
 
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