List of Amendments Submitted to House Rules Committee, for H.R. 2997

Noon on Monday was an important deadline, for the formal submission of amendments to the draft House legislation reauthorizing FAA. A flood of amendments were submitted, very many of them related to reigning in FAA’s abusive NextGen implementation. A list of 116 amendments, with summaries, was posted, and a PDF copy is archived here. One of the most important amendments was submitted by Representative Lynch (MA), calling for a National Academy of Medicine (NAM) “…expert consensus report that sets forth current scientific knowledge relating to the various health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution.” (this amendment was marked as #50, in the center column of the list).

(click on image to view source tweet)

Cindy Christiansen deserves much of the credit for this, as she has done a great job researching and focusing on a much-needed study. Below is an excerpt from her letter to Rep. Lynch, earlier this month (view archived copy here): she lays out the NextGen impacts that FAA and airport authorities continue to ignore, and not just at Boston but across the land:

“…over the last several years, the FAA has implemented NextGen technology that replaces radar navigation with satellite-based navigation systems (GPS). Now and because of the new technology, concentrated flight paths that vary by less than a few feet vertically and laterally, increased airline operations, decreased separation, and lower altitudes have created a public health crisis in communities across the country. The new navigation system was implemented without any investigation into the human capacity to withstand the concentrated and relentless aviation noise and exposure to pollution, but the evidence is there, in the peer-reviewed literature, that there are significant detrimental effects on population health that are associated with these changes. We need a National Academy of Medicine committee of experts to synthesize the evidence and to report their consensus….”

As a side note, this is one of the rare ‘studies’ that has a chance to be very quickly produced, and with meaningful positive impact. Too often, and for decades now, FAA et al have used ‘more study’ as a delay tactic, to perpetuate changes that serve airlines/industry while impacting residents. This study is quite different, and essentially will soon force FAA to acknowledge the compiled content of dozens of studies they continue to ignore. Clearly, a NAM consensus report makes good sense, and will help us to break out of this stuck cycle.

NextGen’s Capacity Goals are Only Increasing Aviation Noise and Air Pollution…

…And FAA is Failing to Consider the Impacts on our Children.

(click on image to view original Tweet)

(click on image to view original Tweet)

FAA and the moneyed interests in the aviation industry (the airlines, the manufacturers, the employee unions, the contractors and the lobbyists) have been selling the spin for decades: that Aviation is a great economic engine. Well, if you spend a little time researching the facts, and if you recognize that the money invested in aviation-growth would have been invested creating jobs and quality of life in other areas of the economy, you will quickly see that this is just SPIN.

Propaganda. PR. No thanks, FAA, you have better ways to spend our money.

On top of that, there are negative consequences of excessive aviation development. Airport vicinities tend to be blighted for miles, even uninhabitable. A zone where, due to noise and air pollutants, people become sleep-deprived and burdened with asthma and other illnesses. Most residents are quick to move away; only the poorest remain behind, often because they cannot afford to leave.

Aviation noise is known to undermine focus and concentration, critically needed by students. And the air pollutants are connected to IQ loss in growing children. Here are links to the two articles tweeted in the photo above:

The air in NYC lowers kids’ IQs
by Carl Campanile, New York Post
Sharp Rise in Occupational Therapy Cases at New York’s Schools
by Elizabeth Harris, NYTimes

Pee-testing for Boeing Management…?

…and a new Stainless Steel Sarcophagus.

Sometimes, when a problem develops such as a burning Li-Ion battery on the Boeing 787, months are spent engineering a solution. Why not just seal the problem inside a box? The picture on the left gives a sense of the size of the blue-boxed original battery; on the left is the new 150-pound stainless steel sarcophagus version.

Play video: 787 Battery Tests
Has this solution been tried before…

…where other technologies have failed? YES!!

It was used to contain escaping radiation after the Chernobyl reactor melted down in April 1986. Many of those responding to the emergency were irradiated (and died) in the struggle to build a massive concrete and steel sarcophagus. In truth, that shell leaks, and is rapidly disintegrating, so a new sarcophagus is being constructed nearby, and will eventually be slid into place to protect the first sarcophagus (the radiation over  the reactor was too intense and dangerous to construct in-place).

There is a clear difference of scale…

…between the 1986 technology failure at Chernobyl and the 2012 failures on board the Boeing 787. But, Boeing’s fix does beg the question: why not just revert to NiCad battery technologies, with a safer record? After all, by adding the expensive sarcophagus, there is no longer any weight-savings. One commentor to the Seattle Times article nailed it with this:

“…i just want to get the facts clear.

based on the current decision, the management of boeing should be pee tested for drugs on a daily basis. because only someone smoking dope would make such an illogical decision.

the correct decision, since both battery options weigh the same now, would have been to use ni-cad batteries….”