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.
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.
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)
Stop the Noise -- The word Noise, on the other hand, is derived from the Latin word, noxia, meaning injury or hurt. It is defined by the National Institute of Public Health as being "Any sound - independent of loudness - that may produce an undesired physiological or psychological effect in an individual and that may interfere with the social ends of an individual or group." | Effects of Noise on Children's Learning and Health
-- Claire Matz
Editorial : No Change In Airnoise -- By FAA definition, we do not have a noise problem... Like other Federal agencies, the FAA is beyond control. Unless and until Mr Castle, Mr Carper, and Mr Biden get together enough support to withhold significant funds from the FAA, they will ignore us. | The Brandywine Community News, DE - April 7, 2003
Residents Ask FAA For More Information -- Gail Van Gilder, of Delaware Greenways, said the FAA already has their minds made up to approve the expansion. She said they need to answer questions from an air noise study conducted in December 2001.| The Brandywine Community News, DE - August 23, 2003
Cheap Air Fares Land In Philly - It's summer, it's humid and you have vacation days to spare. You're ready
for a getaway but, unfortunately, your wallet isn't. Out of luck? ...| The Delaware County Times, PA - Mar 8, 2004