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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Burbank, Anyone?

Nice upbeat story just in time for your holiday travel. Money quote from the San Jose Mercury News:


National Air Traffic Contollers Association local president Michael Foote says tired LAX tower controllers could miss close calls on runways.

Foote told the City Council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee that "the biggest safety concern at the airport is the lack of experienced controllers working at LAX tower."

Traffic controller error is a big risk at LAX, the small but critical union says. There are lots of trainees there, too.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

They're working on Bill Rosendahl at the behest of the NO LAX EXPANSION crowd he represents. That's why he even brought this up at Council, hoping to influence LAWA and those who think the FAA has a point that when runways are so close, they have to drive more carefully than two cars on a dirt road, collisions are more likely.

It is likely true that air traffic controllers and pilots need more sleep and turnaround time, but that is a national problem. Saying they are more tired at LAX than elsewhere is just a political lie.

Those residents will have to move, at least that fast food burger joint goes. Tough breaks but there are huge dollars at stake if the big new planes can't land at LAX.

I'm not driving to Palmdale early in the morning in traffic to catch a plane. Anyone outside metro L A should be encoraged to, though.

The LAX neighbors are justifiably mad at the NIMBYs in OC who refused to expand John Wayne and preferred to let L A pick up the extra tab for their residents coming up here.

Charge them tolls, surcharges when buying tickets, bill the O C City Council and Supervisors. They're a miserly and selfish bunch. Corona didn't fall far from the tree.

December 20, 2007 4:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

problem is its a really big tree...

December 20, 2007 5:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:53 has hid head in his ass.

Runway separation on the north airfield is indeed necessary to accomodate the A380 safely, but it will have a negligible impact on the existing safety problem.

Runway separation would prevent 1 in 10 incursions, but will not do nearly as much to increase safety as properly staffing the tower. Proper staffing could address the other 90 percent.

Just two years ago, when NO ONE was making noise about safety issues on the north airfield (almost all the problems were on the south), the tower was staffed with 45-47 people. Now, they are down to 33 people. That is a dramatic and significant cut -- which happens to coincide with the recent spike in runway incursions on the north.

Not only will proper staffing solve more of a problem than runway separation, it can be done dramatically quickly and significantly cheaper.

Separate the damn runways if you want. But let's be clear: the need is mainly economic, to accomodate the a380. If you want to fix safety, stop short-staffing the tower.

December 20, 2007 8:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:42 and other LAX-area NIMBYs want to persuade us that adding a dozen people will do more than moving the runways and making physical space for big planes so they don't collide. These near-collisions have been with average-sized planes, and the pilots concur that the airport configuration is dangerous.

Sorry, you guys have stalled safety improvements long enough.

December 20, 2007 8:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The folks in Westchester and Playa del Rey have been lied to and jerked around so much by LAWA over the years that it is no wonder they have no faith or trust in anything LAWA tells them. And this includes the pitch about needing to move the runway north into the Westchester business district....

December 20, 2007 8:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Rosendahl is an idiot, but that doesn't change the basic principle:

Be wary of people trotting out "security" (national or othewise) or public safety, when money is at stake.

Heck, even phony wars have been fought over that.

Ya think?

The flight controllers need to have a cup of coffee and do their jobs. Like firefighters, minesweepers, and heart surgeons, there is no room for error.

The concept that they are going to plant a story in the media how they are working OT, "so their might be some accidents" is frankly disgusting.

December 20, 2007 9:38 PM  

Blogger westchesterkids.org said:

NIMBY's?? Read the following and remember the number 4400.

CityWatch

That was a lot of backyards that were appropriated.

Secondly.. if safety is such an issue, why does the LAWA chief Gina Marie Lindsey downplay the air traffic controller staffing as merely a labor-management dispute?

Finally read what LAX ATC president Michael Foote says about how best to minimize incursions at

Airport Expansion

December 20, 2007 10:59 PM  

Blogger Aviation Fan said:

Nobody has to be forced to move. LAX can be safely operated in its current configuration with the A380. The two A380 visits this year have proven that the A380 can safely land, taxi and take-off at LAX. Three of the four runways were used in those tests. One A380 gate with dual level passenger loading bridges is ready at the International Terminal and a second one will be ready in a few months. Eight additional A380 gates will be built as part of a midfield concourse behind the International Terminal. There may be up to 14 A380 flights a day at LAX by 2015, but not all of those aircraft will be at the gates at the same time.

With regards to runway incursions, there are simple commercial-off-of-the-shelf solutions that can be implemented immediately. LAX needs better airfield signage, lighting, striping and Runway Status Lights to warn pilots if it is unsafe to cross a runway. The GAO recently made these same runway safety recommendations that LAX neighbors have been making for years!

Airlines need to install cockpit voice warning systems to alert pilots of potential runway incursions. Some airlines are already doing this as well as installing Electronic Flight Bags that provide pilots with electronic moving maps of the aircraft's position on the airfield. These technological breakthroughs further reduce the threat of incursions. Pilot error is the chief cause of runway incursions, not runway geometry.

Increasing the separation between the north runways and installing a centerline taxiway will make LAX less safe. The centerline taxiway increases the complexity of the north airfield resulting in the need for MORE air traffic controllers. Pilots have been known to accidentally land and take-off on taxiways. This is a common problem at Las Vegas and Seattle. Note that increasing runway separation is not a recommendation in the GAO report.

On the south runway complex, the number of more serious incursions INCREASED during construction of the new south runway and the centerline taxiway. In August 2007, an aircraft caused an incursion on the south airfield AFTER the separation between the runways had been increased.

The only way to virtually stop runway incursions is to eliminate runway crossings. This means that either the north runway is closed and removed or end-around taxiways are installed. Munich has one runway on each side of the passenger terminal complex and had only one incursion in 14 years. End-around taxiways are proving their safety value in Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth.

There are win-win solutions for LAX neighbors and the airport on runway safety, but that debate keeps getting muddied by those interests who want fat construction contracts to move runways.

December 21, 2007 3:14 AM  

Blogger Aviation Fan said:

The A380 won’t be going to Las Vegas or Phoenix. Las Vegas has refused to make any runway or terminal improvements to accommodate the A380.

San Francisco will be welcoming the A380 at their expensive new international terminal, but they have less spacing than LAX between their fog shrouded runways.

LAX is not losing any flights to SFO that weren’t already there in the past.

December 21, 2007 3:19 AM  

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