Lies, damn lies, and statistics --
Judging by what I have read, the $29 billion we have invested since 1971 on AmTrak is a bargain compared to what FAA has done with its federal funding. Not to mention at least the North East corridor was open after 911 (because of Amtrak) when all air traffic was grounded. The General Accounting Office estimates the cost of the push to modernize its information systems that the FAA started in 1981 will top $45 billion by 2005.
I say either cut all funding to FAA/TSA and Amtrak or fund them both equally and let them compete for passengers. FAA received another $15 plus billion in subsidy this year and how much have we spent on the TSA since 2001? Please remind us again Mr Mineta, how many airlines made money in 2004? Exactly how much money will the federal government spend on FAA/TSA funding per passenger if levels reach 1 billion by 2015? Whatever it is going to be, I say it's too much.
Shutdown hangs over Amtrak The News Journal, DE - 10 hours ago WILMINGTON -- Few members of Congress have a more personal stake in Amtrak's future than the three lawmakers from Delaware who ride the train to work. ...
The data released in Chapter 4 of the FEIS estimates the annual operations at the Airport will number 528,400 in the year 2007. Under the NO Build alternative, annual Departures from Runway 35 would be 27,477 while under Build Alternative 1 (the FAA's preferred choice) annual Departures from Runway 35 would be 59,181. This is an increase of over 115%. Do the Math. 59,181 / 27,477 = 2.1518
The FAA repeatedly tells the participants who made comment on the Draft EIS that this project is not capacity enhancement but delay improvement. There is no way the East/West runways could handle this traffic without extending 17-35. The airport is at its saturation point even the PA DEP urged them to consider demand management. Once again, any modification to the Airport's runways should be addressed more properly in the Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP) rather than by this bogus delay improvement project.
Crowded skies impact air quality -- MSNBC THEY WEREN’T smokers, and there was no apparent other cause for their illnesses — except that Park Ridge lies just three miles from O’Hare Airport, one of the busiest air travel hubs on Earth. Their puzzling condition set Wietecka on a crusade against what he calls the “nasty soup” of chemicals that drifts out from O’Hare — nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and hydrocarbons from jets, along with carbon monoxide from ground vehicles.
Airport runway argument continues to expand The Delaware County Times, PA - Mar 21, 2005 "Should something go wrong on Bartram Avenue or I-95, all that traffic’s going to be diverted through Tinicum," he said. This happened recently when a city fire truck was involved in a collision near the airport entrance off I-95, he said. "The FAA only looked at the extension of the runway, but they don’t look at the road and the road closing," Poloncarz said. "They’re causing the problem, and they have to assume the responsibility. You’re going to see all those jam-ups if something goes wrong."
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)
Arlington Heights, IL—Independent and locally experienced aviation experts have reported to Mothers Against Airport Pollution (MAAP) and the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare (AReCO) that the Chicago O'Hare airport expansion plan is not technically workable.
Williams Aviation Consultants, an Arizonian based company, which has members of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic service and has specific knowledge of traffic flows and issues in the Chicago area, has volunteered its independent findings to the two protection organizations.
Among Williams' findings are:
Chicago's revised plan will have a drastic reduction in benefit from the increases that were claimed when the project was introduced.
It is not possible that the en-route portion of the air traffic control system could accept the number of departing aircraft per hour that would be necessary to keep the airport from becoming saturated.
Storms occurring between O'Hare and the destination or departure airports result in in-trail restrictions to aircraft that have to transit the area that is encountering the storm activity. When these conditions occur, terminal delays will occur at O'Hare due to problems in other parts of the country that are impacting the en-route air traffic control system.
Historically, consultants who work for airports are able to inflate the benefits of airport construction projects through their modeling of the throughput of the airport.
Modeled departure airport project capacity shows the aircraft are only modeled for a short distance after takeoff and they are then dropped from further analysis. Thus, normal en-route delays are not considered and the modeling results show a greatly inflated increase in capacity.
If modeling were to include the en-route portion of the flight, the increase in capacity would be even more minimal than Chicago's revised down figures.
Airport consultants model arrival capacity in a fashion that will show a very high capacity arrival rate that cannot be achieved in a real world environment.
The database for the modeling was constructed in the manner that gives inflated results; thus, assumptions are not achievable with live aircraft.
As mentioned previously, en-route weather will usually result in an increased number of miles between aircraft on the same route, resulting in delays when departing aircraft must wait on the ground for an appropriate gap. Depending on the volume of aircraft departing O'Hare, ground delays can result in a lack of gates or parking space for aircraft that vacate the gate but cannot depart the airport.
Historically, severe weather along the Mississippi River in the warmer months that occur almost daily result in in-trail restriction on aircraft arriving and departing O'Hare from the West. These thunderstorms will impact the overhead stream of traffic from the east coast going west and from the west coast going east, resulting in delays for O'Hare traffic due to a lack of surplus space in the overhead stream.
The consultants have not seen any substantial comments from the air traffic controllers at O'Hare Tower/TRACON or from the Chicago En-route Air Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) regarding the claims of increased capacity.
The current airport is able to provide more departing aircraft to the Center than it is capable of handling. Additional runways will increase O'Hare's ability to provide the Center with more aircraft, but will not provide the Center with any increased capability to handle those aircraft. As a result, O'Hare will be constrained by the capacity of the Center, which is not being increased.
The Center is also constrained on the number of arrival aircraft that it can provide to the tower. The Center cannot provide anywhere near the number that even Chicago's revised down figures on the proposed runway configuration could handle. It is not possible for the en-route system to handle the increased number of aircraft that the consultant has projected.
It was noted with interest that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman stated that wind is no longer a factor for the aircraft of today. Yet, as Williams works on projects at other airports they see controllers changing the direction of landing and takeoff to align the airport into the wind. "Perhaps the FAA spokesman was merely passing wind with hiscomment." (It should be noted that Williams Aviation Consultants suggested that any of the FAA spokesman's statements should be checked with at least one other source before accepting them as anything more than rhetoric.)
Williams has seen many fly quiet programs, all are voluntary, and it is difficult to distinguish The "fly-quiets" from the "no fly-quiets."
There are a set number of arrival and departure routes into and out of the Chicago area. It is not realistic to assume that additional routes can or will be developed to accommodate the O'Hare project. Without additional routes for aircraft to operate on, the en-route air traffic Control system will still be governed by the same constraints that are in place today.
The independent aviation experts are also of the opinion that even if O'Hare builds the east-west parallel runways, the existing runways will not be torn out and will continue to be used. The Federal Government paid for those runways, they are still serviceable and the FAA has not stated that they are allowing them to be removed.
"Besides these significant air and ground side technological problems and the shocking public health consequences, there are so many others with what really is the downtown Chicago businesses' O'Hare expansion plan, states Jack Saporito AReCO and MAAP's spokesperson. Even if we take their wildly exaggerated claims of the numbers of jobs the O'Hare expansion will create for fact, it will cost about $600,000 per job creation and that is just plan bad business! The plan is just poor and doesn't make any sense!" - 30 -
Study one's adversary --
By the nature of the process, the FAA controls the information flow. The agency also withholds information to avoid public input. One of our objectives is to get the information. When they do not give it, we have to fight for it. They also do this with the hopes of running the EIS through before anybody can nail them down on what the study really means. Did I miss anything?
One my favorite movies of all times. Sent the clip below to a friend this afternoon in a humorous email stating how we now speak acronyms with the best of FAA folk. It may as well be Russian to most people. I think my friend understood what I was getting at judging by the response above. If you have never seen “The Hunt for Red October” rent it this weekend. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The first graphic (above) represents the current departure and preliminary Integrated Airspace/NYICC departure patterns. This graphic is self explanatory—more concentrated departure patterns for the Metro area airports and no ocean routing departure patterns for Newark Airport.
The graphic above is the Integrated Airspace/NYICC arrival configuration. (Note: the FAA identified the Integrated Airspace/NYICC as the same concept in its 2003 aviation capacity enhancement (ACE) report.) This graphic warrants explanation. These lines in red represent the FAA’s preliminary proposed arrival patterns for the Integrated Airspace/NYICC alternative. The concept consolidates arrivals patterns for all airports over four distinct backbone patterns. The first pattern begins in Delaware and comes up western New Jersey into Newark Airport and the Metro area and appears to follow the Yardley fix. The second pattern comes from in over northern New Jersey. The other two patterns come in over Long Island and Westchester County, NY. Finally, somewhere in these arrival configurations, the FAA intends to move holding patterns closer into the metropolitan area.
The FAA had previously introduced the departure patterns to the public in May 2003 in a quarterly update to Congress but has yet to formally introduce the arrival patterns. NJCAAN unearthed the arrival patterns (Integrated Arrival Flows) from an FAA aviation industry presentation. In the meantime, the agency has provided extensive disclosure on the project to the aviation industry and has allowed the industry to contribute in the development of the redesign, which NJCAAN believes undermines public interests.
Robert Belzer Sr. Vice President, NJCAAN www.njcaan.org
File Sources: FAA May 2003 Quarterly Update to Congress - Integrated Departures / Dual Modena NYICC Arrivals--FAA May 2002 aviation industry presentation.
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