Author Topic: Controller Shortage?  (Read 8961 times)

Offline Mike

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Controller Shortage?
« on: April 15, 2006, 04:12:41 AM »
Check this out guys, this is scary:

http://www.natca.org/flyussafe/staffing.msp

Any thoughts?


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Offline Frank N. O.

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2006, 10:06:36 PM »
I didn't read all of it yet but it doesn't sound good at all. Did I understand it correctly that experienced ATC's aren't allowed to transfer to a bigger airport and therefore there isn't a good place to start teaching new ATC's at the same time (since it can't be a good thing to start new ones at a big airport)?

Frank
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Offline Gulfstream Driver

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006, 06:04:23 PM »
That is scary, but I'm not surprised.  If you think about how long it's taken for the FAA to realize the ATC computer system is 50 years old, then this is just par for the course. 
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Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 07:28:12 PM »
One of the other drivers in the staffing is the number of "operations" at a given airport being used to determine staffing levels.  While this makes sense in some regard for scheduling purposes, it's also being used overall.  I suspect that the FAA is trying to play games in order to claim they need a bigger budget, and they want to get out from under the current hierarchy they report to organizationally.

A perfect example of this is at Lambert Field here in St. Louis (KSTL).  I was doing some instrument approach practices at Spirit of St. Louis airport (KSUS), which is a nearby airport located SW of KSTL.  This is an airport where TWA had it's main hub prior to being taken over by American airlines, then American decided to move their hub elsewhere... AFTER Lambert decided to go ahead with the runway expansion project here to handle the bigger projected traffic loads.  Anyway, while doing practice approaches (this is before the new runway had started construction, but was in final planning stages and property purchasing), I hear the offer from ATC to see if I wanted to do a few over there!  They needed the operation count bump apparently!  It was not the only incident such as this that I've heard of.  Apparently the FAA considers an "operation" to be a single landing or takeoff, which makes sense, but then they guage total staffing levels by counts inappropriately.  At least, that's the story that seems to be emerging out of all this.

So... in addition to all that, and with having the Class B TCA changed for the new runway here, the level of commercial traffic no longer justifies the new runway project in reality.  I will say that the benefit to the airport is being able to do true simultaneous IFR approaches in parallel.  They've been having to step-stage approaches because the runways that existed before the expansion didn't have sufficient distance between them to avoid conflict alerts.
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Offline Mike

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2006, 07:43:31 PM »
I think what's happening is that the FAA is starting to privatize most of their operations eventually because they don't have any money. But of course they can't say that because it scares people to have any kind of control in private hands. Look what's happening with the flight service stations! Lockheed Martin took over the contract and I think eventually somebody like that might be running the whole thing. And guess who will be paying for the services from then on?
 We are only a few steps away but it's gonna happen very quietly. Our FSDO also has very little examiners left and one of them even mentioned that they might privatize the POI's as well eventually. Now we are a little scared about that because then every checkride is going to cost us money and we do a lot of checkrides, let me tell you...


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Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2006, 08:38:38 PM »
I think what's happening is that the FAA is starting to privatize most of their operations eventually because they don't have any money. But of course they can't say that because it scares people to have any kind of control in private hands. Look what's happening with the flight service stations! Lockheed Martin took over the contract and I think eventually somebody like that might be running the whole thing. And guess who will be paying for the services from then on?
 We are only a few steps away but it's gonna happen very quietly. Our FSDO also has very little examiners left and one of them even mentioned that they might privatize the POI's as well eventually. Now we are a little scared about that because then every checkride is going to cost us money and we do a lot of checkrides, let me tell you...


I agree with you about the privatization trend.  The only thing I would say is that the FAA budget has not been cut.  In reality, it has recieved more money than in last years budget, etc.  There was a reduction in the amount of the increase they got, but they did get an increase.  This fact leads me to suspect the current FAA Administrator is playing games in hopes of getting the FAA out from under the current agency structure they report to by trying to claim it doesn't have the personnel to do it's job, hence generating an artifical privatization urgency, which then gives them the excuse for more fee-based access to services, etc.  That ends up snowballing into another government entity with it's own out of control budget, and lets them do what they will with our tax money, and fee money.  We really need to keep the FAA in check on this, or we'll end up like Canada, where one pays a high price to travel from point a to point b using a GA aircraft!

Just my two cents.... which if the FAA continues it's trend will cost $5.00 USD!
We're going to have to come in pretty low!  It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land!  -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

Offline Frank N. O.

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2006, 08:43:50 PM »
I suspect that the FAA is trying to play games in order to claim they need a bigger budget, and they want to get out from under the current hierarchy they report to organizationally.
Isn't that potentially a life-threatening game?

The big airports in DK are all privately run now, and they seem to work ok, but not all. Odense Airport is run by a english company but they've failed to gather the money for the airport in the contract etc. for 2 years now so it's not looking good. Kastrup (Copenhagen, EKCH) and Roskilde Airport the main training and GA airport in DK (EKRK) are run by the same company and they seem to be working ok but of course I'm sadly not that knowledge about those places.

It seems like many things aviation in USA are free or cheap vs in Europe, like low taxes and fees if any, that's interesting since that's what we have for more normal things here in Scandinavia. Free health-care, road-care (no road-pricing and only the great-belt bridge requires payment to cross but that's to pay it off), free schools right up to and including universities, and there is a system for financial support for students that doesn't have to be repaid as long as you don't cheat of course, and then there are normal study loans. I'd never have gotten my student-exam if DK didn't have that since my dad lost his job due to heart-trouble when I was 16 (he got a blod-clog near the heart the morning after my 16th birthday and that was the only time he's ever been seriously sick in his life). I actually think it's possible to get study support for the  ATP education in DK but I'm not sure, it does require about 500K DKK which is about 80K USD I think.

Btw we haven't gotten an ATC in here so far have we? Could be great to hear from them since they are a crucial part of flying too, actually I think there are three people/groups to make aviation work, the controller, the pilot and the mechanic.

Frank
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Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2006, 09:05:19 PM »
I suspect that the FAA is trying to play games in order to claim they need a bigger budget, and they want to get out from under the current hierarchy they report to organizationally.
Isn't that potentially a life-threatening game?

The big airports in DK are all privately run now, and they seem to work ok, but not all. Odense Airport is run by a english company but they've failed to gather the money for the airport in the contract etc. for 2 years now so it's not looking good. Kastrup (Copenhagen, EKCH) and Roskilde Airport the main training and GA airport in DK (EKRK) are run by the same company and they seem to be working ok but of course I'm sadly not that knowledge about those places.

It seems like many things aviation in USA are free or cheap vs in Europe, like low taxes and fees if any, that's interesting since that's what we have for more normal things here in Scandinavia. Free health-care, road-care (no road-pricing and only the great-belt bridge requires payment to cross but that's to pay it off), free schools right up to and including universities, and there is a system for financial support for students that doesn't have to be repaid as long as you don't cheat of course, and then there are normal study loans. I'd never have gotten my student-exam if DK didn't have that since my dad lost his job due to heart-trouble when I was 16 (he got a blod-clog near the heart the morning after my 16th birthday and that was the only time he's ever been seriously sick in his life). I actually think it's possible to get study support for the  ATP education in DK but I'm not sure, it does require about 500K DKK which is about 80K USD I think.

Btw we haven't gotten an ATC in here so far have we? Could be great to hear from them since they are a crucial part of flying too, actually I think there are three people/groups to make aviation work, the controller, the pilot and the mechanic.

Frank

Potentially dangerous... perhaps... but it does depend on the traffic density involved.  There are many more low-volume airports in the USA that have no control tower at all, than those with towers and controllers.  In fact, if you look on a sectional chart for any part of the USA, look at the number of magenta airport symbols (dentoting uncontrolled fields), versus the blue airport symbols (denoting those with control towers).  It's quite an eye opener indeed!  In uncontrolled fields, the pilots flying into, and out of those airports are required to do their own separation using proper communication and approach techniques.  It does require an extra bit of diligence, and talking, to properly manage flights into, out of, and around uncontrolled fields, but it is done safely daily many times over.  It would, however, be unthinkable to have such a situation at a high volume airport.  I much prefer having a controller with an extra set of Mark I eyeballs and possibly radar to help look out for traffic... not that it abbrogates the PIC's duties to also maintain vigilance in the cockpit.  After all, the ultimate authority is the pilot.. hence the hard-earned title and privledge of Pilot In Command.  A heady title.... with heavy responsibility in reality.

As for things in the USA being free versus other countries, it all depends on one's perspective.  Nothing is truly free, when it comes right down to it.  The FAA is funded by tax money, which we as citizens pay in.  Of course, taxpayers, and the flying public (via taxes on airline tickets) all pay into the funding of the system.  So, even if one may not pay a fee for ATC services when flying a GA aircraft here (yet), it's being paid for in other ways, and likely, in part, by the pilot using the services via taxes anyway.

In Europe it seems that taxes are very high, and they still impose such user fees on flights, to make up the difference allowing them to provide the free health care, road care, and tuition.  In other words, the European system is much more akin to socialism in that regard, with wanting to provide a lot of "free" services paid for by the governments, but they still get their money from the people... one way or the other.
We're going to have to come in pretty low!  It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land!  -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

Offline Frank N. O.

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2006, 11:17:16 PM »
Very true words, it takes a lot to pilot a vehicle, even on the ground and it shouldn't be underestimated but people have to work together for it to work (traffic). I do like to add that it doesn't need to be nervewrecking though, I still think piloting a vehicle is a great pleasure and I only enjoy it when I know what's going on and aren't left guessing. Btw, when is one a PIC, is that only for an ATP or anyone flying an aircraft?

Also true that costs have to be covered and the difference between USA and Europe is basically when and how you pay for the services. I could think it could be nice to have an idea on how much money was needed for a trip from one airport to another but I need a PPL to go into detail about that.

Frank
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
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Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2006, 11:52:54 PM »
Very true words, it takes a lot to pilot a vehicle, even on the ground and it shouldn't be underestimated but people have to work together for it to work (traffic). I do like to add that it doesn't need to be nervewrecking though, I still think piloting a vehicle is a great pleasure and I only enjoy it when I know what's going on and aren't left guessing. Btw, when is one a PIC, is that only for an ATP or anyone flying an aircraft?

Also true that costs have to be covered and the difference between USA and Europe is basically when and how you pay for the services. I could think it could be nice to have an idea on how much money was needed for a trip from one airport to another but I need a PPL to go into detail about that.

Frank

The person operating the controls of the aircraft is considered the Pilot In Command.  The only time this is not true is if you are a student pilot, and have an instructor with you.   If you hold a rating for that category, and class of aircraft (i.e. Single Engine, Land) then you are considered P.I.C. if you are the sole manipulator of the controls.  The time period when you are doing that is the time you log as P.I.C. in your logbook.  If you let someone who is not rated in that plane fly it with you in it, they can't be considered P.I.C. because they are not rated in it, hence it's still your responsibility to maintain the safety and security of the flight.  The term applies to all persons operating aircraft.  And, as P.I.C. if you have an emergency, you are allowed, by regulations, to violate other rules and regulations to the extent necessary to meet that emergency.  You don't have to obey an ATC order, for instance, if, in your judgement, you are not able to comply, or you feel it would increase danger.  This is not a ticket to violate regulations, as you would be called upon to explain your actions, but I mention it because when the term Pilot In Command is used... it means just that.  You as P.I.C. are the ultimate, and final authority regarding the safe conduct of your flight.  It also is why it's an easy catch-all to blame pilots who fail to comply with all aspects of pre-flight preparations, or not following procedures by the book in flight, as having been contributory, or even the sole cause of a mishap.  If you read through the NTSB reports some time, you'll see how they word things with the analysis.  They'll say something like "CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS: Failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient control inputs during a crosswind landing", etc.

We're going to have to come in pretty low!  It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land!  -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

Offline Gulfstream Driver

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 04:00:30 AM »
Very true words, it takes a lot to pilot a vehicle, even on the ground and it shouldn't be underestimated but people have to work together for it to work (traffic). I do like to add that it doesn't need to be nervewrecking though, I still think piloting a vehicle is a great pleasure and I only enjoy it when I know what's going on and aren't left guessing. Btw, when is one a PIC, is that only for an ATP or anyone flying an aircraft?

Also true that costs have to be covered and the difference between USA and Europe is basically when and how you pay for the services. I could think it could be nice to have an idea on how much money was needed for a trip from one airport to another but I need a PPL to go into detail about that.

Frank

The person operating the controls of the aircraft is considered the Pilot In Command. The only time this is not true is if you are a student pilot, and have an instructor with you. If you hold a rating for that category, and class of aircraft (i.e. Single Engine, Land) then you are considered P.I.C. if you are the sole manipulator of the controls. The time period when you are doing that is the time you log as P.I.C. in your logbook. If you let someone who is not rated in that plane fly it with you in it, they can't be considered P.I.C. because they are not rated in it, hence it's still your responsibility to maintain the safety and security of the flight. The term applies to all persons operating aircraft. And, as P.I.C. if you have an emergency, you are allowed, by regulations, to violate other rules and regulations to the extent necessary to meet that emergency. You don't have to obey an ATC order, for instance, if, in your judgement, you are not able to comply, or you feel it would increase danger. This is not a ticket to violate regulations, as you would be called upon to explain your actions, but I mention it because when the term Pilot In Command is used... it means just that. You as P.I.C. are the ultimate, and final authority regarding the safe conduct of your flight. It also is why it's an easy catch-all to blame pilots who fail to comply with all aspects of pre-flight preparations, or not following procedures by the book in flight, as having been contributory, or even the sole cause of a mishap. If you read through the NTSB reports some time, you'll see how they word things with the analysis. They'll say something like "CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS: Failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient control inputs during a crosswind landing", etc.

This is also why, if they really want to, the FAA can always find some way to violate you under careless/reckless operations.  Even if you didn't technically break any rules, you can still get in trouble.
Behind every great man, there is a woman rolling her eyes.  --Bruce Almighty

Offline Mike

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2006, 04:12:21 PM »
I remember having to pay $3.00 per landing in Austria when I was learning how to fly. You got some sort of a discount if you were a student pilot and you were doing touch and go's (like a block rate) but you had to pay for EACH LANDING!!
I think if the FAA keeps developing the way it has been, especially the whole "we-don't-have-any-money" attitude although they didn't get any cuts yet if what Ted said is true, then I can forsee a lot of airports getting privatized which means more fees for us. Fees for the examiner, fees for each landing, fees for each checkride, fees fees fees...
At least the AOPA is fighting for us wherever they can.


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Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2006, 05:04:04 PM »
I remember having to pay $3.00 per landing in Austria when I was learning how to fly. You got some sort of a discount if you were a student pilot and you were doing touch and go's (like a block rate) but you had to pay for EACH LANDING!!
I think if the FAA keeps developing the way it has been, especially the whole "we-don't-have-any-money" attitude although they didn't get any cuts yet if what Ted said is true, then I can forsee a lot of airports getting privatized which means more fees for us. Fees for the examiner, fees for each landing, fees for each checkride, fees fees fees...
At least the AOPA is fighting for us wherever they can.

That really stinks!  A per landing charge could be rough on new students regardless!  Imagine how much it would have cost Chuck when doing landing training!  *Bounce* ($) *Bounce* ($) *Bounce* ($)!!!!

By the way, if you want to read the budget for the FAA....

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/aba/budgets_brief/media/bib2006.pdf

I think you'll find it interesting.

One of the other things that people often hear about is the AIP Program cuts, which is the Airport Improvement Program.  It had a true, proposed cut for FY 2006 that would have brought it below a the funding level where smaller airports would have had financial support for facility improvements.  This is still undergoing review, and I have not heard if it will pass or not.  Regardless, the AIP program is SEPARATE from FAA operational budgets, and should not affect controller staffing in either case.
We're going to have to come in pretty low!  It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land!  -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2006, 09:45:17 AM »

By the way, if you want to read the budget for the FAA....

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/aba/budgets_brief/media/bib2006.pdf

I think you'll find it interesting...........

Thanks for the suggestion Ted---My checkride is tomorrow and I needed something in addition to warm milk so I could get back to sleep---*YAWN!!*   Yep, it's working....nitey nite,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.....................

Offline Ted_Stryker

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Re: Controller Shortage?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 03:10:27 PM »

By the way, if you want to read the budget for the FAA....

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/aba/budgets_brief/media/bib2006.pdf

I think you'll find it interesting...........

Thanks for the suggestion Ted---My checkride is tomorrow and I needed something in addition to warm milk so I could get back to sleep---*YAWN!!*   Yep, it's working....nitey nite,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.....................

ROFL!!!  Glad to be of help!!   ;D ;D ;D
We're going to have to come in pretty low!  It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land!  -- Ted Striker - Airplane!