Posts Tagged: Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Cleared for Takeoff

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve a bill this morning written by the House that will resume operations at the Federal Aviation Administration — at least until Sep. 16, reports the New York Times’ Edward Wyatt. At issue in the FAA’s shutdown is a Congressional dispute over whether the agency should give subsidies so rural airports get commercial airline service. The broader issue is Congress’s astonishing indifference about a functioning federal agency. (more…)

Crisis at the FAA

Overlooked in the agreement reached by Barack Obama and Congress on the debt ceiling is that an entire federal agency — the Federal Aviation Administration — has shut down with Congress on vacation until September. That means, among other issues,  that the agency has no authorization to keep funding projects like the expansion of O’Hare airport in Chicago or, as Nathan Hurst of the Detroit News reports on today, the reconstruction of a taxi way at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The agency has shut down because of a dispute over how airline workers can unionize and how much subsidies should be provided to rural airports. These are fairly significant issues — but ones that a Congress that cares in the slightest about a functional aviation agency should have been able to solve.



FAA shutdown could ground O’Hare expansion

The Federal Aviation Administration’s partial shutdown – where the chief debate is over whether or not the agency should provide subsidies to rural airports – has temporarily stopped airport construction projects country-wide dead in their tracks. The Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch had a good piece yesterday on how the federal dispute could delay the already absurdly delayed expansion of O’Hare airport. Funding for a new runway could be halted, along with the dozens of other airport improvement projects across the country that rely on federal funds.

Airplane!: The inspection

As you may have heard, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 recently landed in Sacramento — with a five-foot fuselage tear along the roof. Consequently, the Federal Aviation Administration wants Chicago-based Boeing to inspect all 400-500 of their 737 planes, Reuters reports. These are some of the older planes in the Boeing fleet: the model with a fuselage hole had been around 15 years and flown about 39,000 times.

O’Hare expansion created dangerous conditions

The expansion of O’Hare airport is not just taking too long, it’s also taking too many chances. Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Federal Aviation Administration found several near-tragic incidents at Chicago’s O’Hare airport that were, in essence, caused by airport expansion construction. For example, one plane was inches away from crashing into a concrete blast fence erected to protect construction equipment. FAA said it will revise its daily alerts to O’Hare pilots as new runway construction gets underway.

Air traffic out-of-control at O’Hare

The Federal Aviation Administration reports that mistakes have increased among O’Hare air traffic controllers, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch. Most of the controllers’ mistakes involve not keeping a proper distance between planes, and they happen more while new air traffic controllers are being trained. O’Hare has trained more air traffic controllers in the past year due to the aiport’s planned expansion. Dept. of Transportation investigators are visiting O’Hare today to “examine staffing levels and other issues that affect safety.”