This is the kind of thing that has some pilots actually considering moving to Costa Rica…for good:
It appears to be more important for our Federal government to spend $344,023,218,699 (that’s $344 billion and change – as of Nov. 21, 2006 at 1729Z**) to blast innocent Iraqis out of what’s still left of their homes than for the FAA to spend $100 million to make sure the power stays on at their ATC Centers so large airliners full of tourists can avoid trading paint.
According to a report by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, the FAA needs to spend up to $100 million NOW to make sure the lights, computers and consoles stay powered up at its most important air traffic control facilities. This is in response to repeated power failures that shut down the ILS and led to the intentional disabling of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) at LAX.
The report explains that last July 18, a traffic accident knocked out power to L.A. Center:
The center’s backup system did activate and ran for about an hour before a component failed and the screens went blank. A technician tried to bring the system back online manually, but that caused another failure. More than 300 flights were affected.Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has asked the DOT to investigate the L.A. Center power failures. In his response to Boxer, DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovell III is reported to have said this:
“The power problems at Los Angeles Center could be repeated at other major ATC facilities and the FAA needs to fix the problems sooner rather than later.” He also noted that there’s no money in the FAA budget for the project.So let me get this straight. There seems to be an endless river of imaginary money flowing to the defense department and a select group of contractor cronies to fund this loser of a war Bush got us into, but no money to upgrade power systems at FAA facilities?
When it comes to airline safety, what could possibly be more important than keeping the juice flowing to the guys and gals in our headsets that somehow manage to maintain separation when the sky is filled with westbound birds all descending on one small patch at the edge of Los Angeles metro?
** This figure for the cost of the Iraq war is from a site called the National Priorities Project, which shows a running total that is supposed to be changing in something resembling real-time. The current number that was shown at 2140Z today would have provided 16,682,705 students with four-year scholarships at public universities – dp