Saturday, March 08, 2008

Start Worrying

The F.A.A. says (as dutifully reported here) hey, not to worry! Those two planes that were put into danger in the air near Pittsburgh by a rookie controller had beaucoup distance between them! Hundreds of feet! Besides, anti-collision systems are foolproof!

Dunno, but I seem to recall a pretty harrowing personal experience in an airplane collision 37,000 feet over the Amazon, put in place by an inexperienced Brazilian air traffic controller who had two planes on a direct collision course, while his colleagues failed to notice that they'd had no contact with one plane for 50 minutes in an area known for spotty radio and radar. When the anti-collision warning system also failed, 154 people died -- and the seven of us who lived still can't figure out how we walked away alive.

Now look at the safety violations piling up in the United States. (Hello, Southwest). Look at the increase in reports of runway incursions. Look at the amount of maintenance outsourcing.

Remember that the nation's air traffic control towers are understaffed, and that all those controllers hired en masse during the Reagan Administration are reaching retirement age. And the F.A.A. has been dragging its feet getting up to staff.



In other news...

Excited Drudge headline of the day:
"French women 'are the sexual predators now'...'

Hey, dude: Chill! You've seen Sarkozy trying to stay balanced on his little white pony! Get back to those breathless stories about Prince Harry -- he's the one that looks like the butler, innit? -- that absolutely nobody else in the world besides the Queen-obsessed UK Telegraph newspaper cares about.


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