Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
09/30/14 09:09 PM
Re: FAA's many soft spots

One of my Mitre pals invented a method of spacing aircraft on converging approach paths and finally got it through the FAA bureaucracy and into the field. He did a briefing for us on the (nightmare) process. One of the comments was that the software had to be approved in some way by something like 95 different offices. As he put it, in the FAA no one could say "yes" and get the project implemented, but any one of those 95 offices could say "no." It's a pretty hidebound operation.

The funny thing is that when they HAVE to, they can get things done, and done well - mostly because they focus on the work instead of the BS. For instance, they were scared to death about the Y2K problem crashing the system, so they plowed through all the (in some cases ancient) software and fixed whatever needed fixing. I'm sure the Tech Ops people in Chicago are working 24/7 to get the facility back up, and I'll bet they get it done inside of the initially estimated restoral time. They're really a great bunch when they're cut loose to do what they're good at.

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