Got an email from a trainee earlier today about this article in the Chicago Tribune. I’ll write my thoughts on it later, but I thought I’d give you an edited version of the email I received as a teaser. (BTW, I updated my “About” page to include an email address; I neglected to do that when I originally set up this blog.)
Note: I only edited/sanitized information that might identify the trainee and corrected spelling. Additionally, the link at the end for the approach may not work once AirNav updates their charts. It’s easy enough to search their site to find the approach mentioned.
I got your email address from Don Brown, to whom I wrote the following email about a Chicago Tribune article that appeared over the weekend…I’m keenly interested and concerned about where NextGen is headed and have read your blog with interest. Obviously since I’m still on my probationary period, I don’t feel safe writing about this stuff on my own, so thought I’d send it your way if you haven’t already seen it. It was striking to me how the “best equipped, best served” mantra has already slipped so quickly from jargon-laden government reports into the popular media without so much as a mention of where that phrase came from, what it really means, or what it replaces.
———- Forwarded message ———-
I thought you’d find this article… interesting. I have a lot of respect for the Chicago Tribune but this reads a lot like an ADS-B propaganda press release with few facts/statistics to back things up. This kind of thing infuriates me…
About 40 percent of U.S. commercial aircraft are equipped to fly the new routes [just RNP approaches, the article later describes], according to the FAA. But air-traffic controllers have no way to distinguish planes outfitted with the latest tools from those with older systems [my equipment suffix list tells me otherwise]. And while the FAA plan incorporates the air-traffic management philosophy “best equipped/best served,” many controllers aren’t trained to direct state-of-the-art aircraft to the new air lanes [that statement seems insulting of every C90 controller].
Not to mention that everything I’ve learned at the Academy recently has been predicated on “first come/first served”.
One of the first NextGen initiatives is to allow planes to fly shorter, direct routes by eliminating their dependence on ground-based radar towers. The idea is to make better use of a free and nearly limitless resource —airspace — instead of leaving airports like O’Hare to focus on costly runway construction projects to reduce delays.
That sure sounds familiar, but now claiming you can cut delays without building more runways, that’s brazen. So we’re going to land two at a time on Midway’s 6,522-foot 13C? I doubt that very much…
“The only thing that’s preventing us from using a NextGen-type airspace to deconnect O’Hare and Midway isn’t technical, it’s political,” said Will, the American captain. “Once we can get past that, Chicago will reap the benefits of what the airlines are capable of doing.”
Is that so? Then why is the RNP Y 13C approach already published? And since it’s already published, what exactly is the problem? Oh and by the way, let’s all notice that one of the IAFs for that fancy-shmancy satellite-based approach is the Joliet VOR.