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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
FAA's many soft spots [Re: Russell Holton]
      #397222 - 10/01/14 01:29 AM

>> It's all about cost/benefit. If smoke alarms cost $100,000, no I wouldn't
have them. <<

Oh? That's a pretty negative approach to realism. Few emergancy procedures
have a cost of 10000%.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #397224 - 10/01/14 02:07 AM

Few things cost $20.

Does your home have fire sprinklers? If it does, did it come with them or did you have them installed?

And let's not forget that not all costs are installation costs. Having two rooms is likely to encounter operational costs as well.

It's really not a question of can it be done - it's a question of if the benefit is worth it. Are they trying to protect safety or maintain operations? How much does it cost? What is the risks that it's to protect against? (Past case history plays a big part of this.)


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B. Butler (Oregonian)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 9760
Loc: Ashland, Oregon
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Russell Holton]
      #397227 - 10/01/14 02:42 AM

Quote:


Are they trying to protect safety or maintain operations? How much does it cost?




Just so.

Larry has the best perspective on this. The contingency plan was to maintain safety while restoring maximum capacity over time...and that is exactly what happened. This was not a failure, it was a success, although those folks who had to sleep in the terminal may never see it that way.

--------------------
"Why not be a nihilist? A man has to believe in something."
-Bernie Gunther


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Terry Carraway
Top Gun


Reged: 06/02/04
Posts: 7098
Loc: Maryland
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Russell Holton]
      #397239 - 10/01/14 09:43 AM

Quote:

That too, but it also sounds like a case of problems of co-located communication lines. I'm sure everyone considered single-point failure of individual boxes, but I'm not sure as they considered single-point failure at the room level.

At some point you have to consider single-point failure of the entire tower. And that may be what mode they're running in now.

Perhaps a room-level fault was considered too remote.




The big problem is, THEY SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERED THIS.

There are many reasons a center could go down/off the air. And there really should be some plan to deal with it in a reasonable manner.

--------------------
Terry
Mostly 0W3


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Terry Carraway
Top Gun


Reged: 06/02/04
Posts: 7098
Loc: Maryland
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: sreyoB yrraL]
      #397240 - 10/01/14 09:44 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Perhaps a room-level fault was considered too remote.



Or the level of backup was too costly.

Several times per year you have disruptions of similar scale from severe weather events. At some point it becomes cheaper to just shut down for a day, or so, then it does to have a sufficiently robust backup. Especially true when such an event does not happen with any regularity as does the weather events.




It may be cheaper for the FAA to shutdown, but how about on the airlines?

Or maybe the FAA should be liable to for paying the airlines and passengers for the problems they cause. Might have them consider other plans versus just shutting down.

--------------------
Terry
Mostly 0W3


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Terry Carraway]
      #397268 - 10/01/14 06:01 PM

Quote:

There are many reasons a center could go down/off the air. And there really should be some plan to deal with it in a reasonable manner.




A center shut down. Are you saying they didn't have a plan? That plan might not include maintaining normal operations.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Terry Carraway]
      #397269 - 10/01/14 06:04 PM

Quote:

It may be cheaper for the FAA to shutdown, but how about on the airlines?




What about the airlines. Weather shuts down airports with regularity. Don't they have a plan for that?


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B. Butler (Oregonian)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 9760
Loc: Ashland, Oregon
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: B. Butler (Oregonian)]
      #397427 - 10/04/14 06:08 PM

A former colleague who works in one of the "continuity of service" facilities has written. Here's a few of the things going on:

Quote:

AZO and surrounding approach controls (Muskegon, Grand Rapids, South Bend, Fort Wayne) have taken airspace up to 15,000 (usually 10,000). Lateral boundaries are the same. These approach controls are also all working 24/7 now, usually only FWA does that. You can imagine that facilities that aren't staffed for working mid-shifts are seriously straining to meet the requirements of the crisis,...


ZAU is dead in the water. Surrounding facilities are without FDIO and interface, so 100% of flights are being manually coordinated and handed off. They have instituted a web-based data transfer that has lightened the workload some.


Adjacent centers (ZOB, ZID, ZKC, ZMP) have all "leaned in" to provide total coverage over the top. ZAU airspace is only open to arrival and departures -- no overflights. ...


To add fuel to the flames, Notre Dame has a home game tomorrow, they're predicting 175 extra arrivals to SBN as a result!




There's been some talk about the vetting of "sub-contractors", but I'm willing to bet that this guy identified as a "tele-communications" techician is a member of the regular workforce. Much of the responsibility for FAA maintenance which was once done by federal General Schedule employees is no done by "Beltway Bandit" firms, using similarly qualified employees at discount pricing.

Heard the FAA Administrator on NPR this morning. Thought he handled himself well; while concerned, he was unapologetic for the way the system responded to a unique catastrophe.

--------------------
"Why not be a nihilist? A man has to believe in something."
-Bernie Gunther

Edited by B. Butler (Oregonian) (10/04/14 06:09 PM)


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Scott Dunham (RDU)
Top Gun


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 6470
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: B. Butler (Oregonian)]
      #397468 - 10/05/14 09:46 PM

The fellow apparently worked for Harris Corporation, which is the prime contractor for the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure networks. As such, he would have had (and needed...) full access to the secure parts of the system. I suspect he also would have had at least a secret clearance as well as full building perimeter access. I see that the FAA is "increasing security" at the centers, but since they already have armed guards and run visitors through metal detectors I don't know what else would have in mind. I don't expect that searching all personnel, personal effects, and cars coming into the facility is going to fly, but that's what stopping something like this would take.

I really don't know how we'd ever be able to prevent attacks by trusted persons - unless there ARE no trusted persons, but that sounds like a work environment I'd be happy to get the heck out of ASAP.


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Todd Alfes
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/29/12
Posts: 41
Re: FAA's many soft spots [Re: Scott Dunham (RDU)]
      #397482 - 10/05/14 11:31 PM

Scott,

Quote:

I've never seen that done in 34 years




Here's an excerpt from a recent FAA press release:

"More than 140 air traffic controllers from Chicago Center are now working at other en route centers, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities and towers. Thirty-five controllers are working at the Chicago TRACON in Elgin, IL and 11 are working at O’Hare, Midway and Rockford towers. Another 70 Chicago Center controllers are working at en route centers for Minneapolis, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Kansas City, and 26 are staffing TRACONS in Moline, IL, South Bend, IN, Volk Field, WI, Peoria, IL, Milwaukee, WI and Green Bay, WI."


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