AVmail: Nov. 13, 2006

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PATCO Remarks

After reading this week's AVwebFlash (Nov. 6), it left me wondering if the former PATCO controller has a clue.

Coming from someone who hasn't worked at a non-contract facility for over 25 years, I find his perspective speculative at best.

When was the last time he, or any other contract controller worked a midnight shift? I am not aware of any contract towers that are staffed 24 hours a day. The traffic levels from 1981 compared to the levels today are world's apart. I have worked mid-shifts for over 17 years, and they do wear you down. I try my best not to work them anymore, as it takes me several days to recover from them.

As for the former supervisor's comments, I find it insulting that he would accuse any controller of intentionally falling asleep for media attention. That borders on slander, as he has no proof whatsoever.

Finally, he must not have picked up a newspaper or read AVweb in the last year, as the FAA did fire 11 New York controllers and three Washington Center controllers. So, yes, we have seen people get fired, and unjustly at that! For the record, all were rehired after legal proceedings and Congressional intervention.

Mark Trent


Port of Seattle Wants To Take Over Control of KBFI

In case you wondered what was up with the recent proposal to swap BFI (Boeing Field) from King County jurisdiction to the Port of Seattle in exchange for some "excess" Port property that would be used to extend King County bike trails (On The Fly, Oct. 30), here's a little more background information. Once again, it seems that our government officials are seeking a backdoor solution to a problematic and expensive project for which they failed to consider prior analysis and research, and also failed do proper due diligence prior to spending taxpayer money!

To summarize, a Boeing employee is almost certain that the motivation for this unusual property swap is to give Port of Seattle total control over IFR (bad weather) operations at Boeing Field so that they can give first priority to SeaTac arrivals using it's brand-new, decades in the making, $1 Billion third runway. Since approaches to both the new SeaTac runway and Boeing Field's 13R/31L cannot happen simultaneously in IFR conditions, then it is certain that Boeing Field flight operations will be restricted, even curtailed at peak times in preference to SeaTac.

Ken Whitfield


User Fees

Increases in state taxes, local taxes and user fees are a direct result of tax cuts at the federal level (AVwebFlash, Nov. 9). When they cut taxes they must cut spending, which is usually payments to state and local governments for services rendered and/or mandates that come from the federal governments with no funding attached, or federal programs that are cut or funded through alternative means ... user fees, etc. The end result is that a tax cut is always followed by either a tax shift or a reduction in service. Calling it a tax cut is like painting a rotten board ... it looks good, but don't depend on it.

Dan Elwood


DeLand Tower vs. Skydivers

This headline from the latest AVwebFlash (Nov. 9) caught my attention:

"Skydivers have succeeded in an effort to prevent a Florida airport from building a control tower ..."

Turns out, the headline is inaccurate -- the story behind the link says that the tower is being built. Even so, it's still an intriguing story.

Seems that, after four months of negotiations between the local skydiving operator and the city of DeLand, city commissioners have signed off on an agreement that will, "... give Skydive DeLand pilots priority over others in takeoffs and landings and absolves them of the responsibility to notify the tower every time they take off or land."

So, the city of DeLand can waive the FAR's regarding communication with operating control towers, and they can mandate that controllers give preference to one operator over another at the local airport?

Don't tell Richard Daley that cities have this kind of power. He'll be selling NORDO landing rights at O'Hare to the highest bidder and directing controllers to give priority based on highest gross weight ...

Denny Cunningham

AVweb Replies:

Thanks for the clarification. We've corrected the story here on the Web site.

Mary Grady
NewsWriter


Kudos

I'm a member of both AOPA and EAA but your newsletter is the one I read through most regularly. I think you are able to interpret the news without putting an alphabet spin on it.

I've actually supported the newsletter by using some of the sponsors. I'm going to do the deal on Trade-a-Plane now.

Mike Doherty


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