This Circus is FREE, and it Comes to YOU!

In an ideal world, our elected officials would tend to the business of keeping our transportation modes moving, such as by non-politically passing FAA’s re-authorization in a timely manner. This world, lately, is not looking too ideal.

BUT, we do get to watch the circus acts and all the AIPs at Work. And, even though it is just video, you can still smell the elephant dung. It comes today via this livestream of the ‘markup’ session for FAA’s Bill Shuster’s Airline for America’s AIRR Act, scheduled to start at 10AM EST:

Here is the 9.5-hour video. Actual hearing starts at time 0:11:43. Went into recess for just over an hour at 5:56:30, resuming at 7:13:58. A ’10-minute break’ at 8:50:55, resuming at 9:16:46.

LIVESTREAM: AIRR Act Hearing

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is holding an AIRR Act hearing at this moment, chaired by Bill Shuster. Two hours in, the witnesses include Ed Bolen, Robert Poole, Paul Rinaldi and Nick Calio, all of whom (except Bolen) are strong advocates of this corporate giveaway. Shuster has unfortunately set such small time allotments that the representatives and witnesses simply cannot get into sufficient depth to clearly debate the issues and arrive at solid solutions. Nonetheless, lots of concerns and opposition are being strongly declared.

Here is an embed for the livestream … The hearing ended at 1:43pm EST. Here is a link to a video of the full hearing, which ran for nearly 4-hours:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-OC0cfW_Nc&feature=youtu.be&t=690

Note the link starts at 690-seconds into the recording; it appears that the recording was begun nearly 11-minutes prior to the actual gaveled opening by Shuster.

See also this opinion piece from TheHill.com (PDF below, annotated by aiREFORM):

This pop-out view is scrollable, and the PDF copy may be downloaded.

UPDATED at 1:00pm EST on 2/10/2016: — 5-minute recess; will resume with session #2 momentarily.

AIRR Act is Shuster Serving the Airline Corporatocracy

This past week, in a very-coordinated effort including lobbyists, airlines, past FAA officials and the always-loyal aviation media outlets, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster released his proposed legislation, the AIRR Act.  The most significant element of the Aviation Innovation, Reform & Reauthorization Act is that it proposes to remove ATC from the FAA and place it into a corporate body with a governing panel consisting primarily of industry players.

20160202scp.. FAA Over-Delivering on Destroying Communities (A.Lilling tweet)

…a recent tweet about FAA failure…

Does FAA need reform? Absolutely. So, too, Congress needs reform. And both FAA and Congress need reform for the same reason: they are both failing to serve.

Our Founding Fathers designed a system that was to protect the delicate balance between government powers and the rights of individual citizens. This system means that, where a federal agency (such as FAA) is imposing burdens on communities (such as Charlotte, Boston, Flushing, Phoenix and many other ‘NextGen-victims’), the Congress will act to remedy the problem. But, due in no small part to both extreme gerrymandering and plutocratic allegiance, we have not had a functioning Congress for well over a decade. Instead, for the most part, we have had a fraternity of rich lawyers all hyper-focused on manipulating district boundaries and collecting contributions to fund their reelections.

When you think about the long list of FAA failures in recent years, and the consistent inability of most elected officials to take decisive actions, it starts to appear as if our elected leaders actually wanted to perpetuate the failures, to create a population so desperate for impact relief, they would be easily manipulated to call their representatives and tell them to vote in favor. Thus, stacking up these problems might actually up the odds of passing the eventual proposal.

So many failures went unresolved, and virtually everywhere:

  •  the lack of control by local authorities to manage problems at their local airport.
  • the horrific impacts related to NextGen implementations, creating new noise-ghettos.
  • the many lies and misrepresentations – the outright fraud packaged under the name ‘NextGen’.
  • the continued spewing of toxic lead by small planes DECADES beyond health-mandated deadlines

We have seen a few rare exceptions (they are almost always freshman representatives who perhaps have not yet lost their idealism and loyalty to true service?), but, for the most part, Congress continues to do nothing. Then, suddenly, we as citizens watch as Mr. Shuster springs to life and offers the AIRR Act. Of course, at the same time, via a media blitz, we are also being told by Mr. Shuster, by the airlines, by lobbyist ‘Airlines for America’, and by a gaggle of former FAA officials (including David Grizzle and Russ Chew) that this is a great idea. Even the controller’s union, NATCA, announced support … though all the other unions came out in strong opposition, which raises the question: what bone has been promised to NATCA for the inexplicable support?

There are many things WRONG about the AIRR Act. The main objective is clearly to insulate ATC from both Congressional oversight and public accountability/transparency, neither of which is a worthy or acceptable goal. But, for now, consider just the simple truth, that failure should never be rewarded. Passing this legislation would reward players in both the Congress and at FAA. Congress should not be in the business of giving away authority in exchange for contributions from profitable airline during a campaign year. FAA should not be functioning as a captured regulator, serving only the industry while creating more and worsening problems for the People. Both are failing, so why would any intelligent person want to reward that failure?

How about this instead: if FAA et al really want to outsource ATC, grant their proposal only after both FAA and Congress have cleaned up their acts and are performing their duties. We all deserve and demand an ACCOUNTABLE Federal Aviation Administration.

NextGen is Being Used to Justify Lower & Noisier Flying While Ignoring the Impacts

On both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, aviation regulators are working with their ‘stakeholders’ to give the airline industry relief from pesky noise-abatement procedures. This translates to allowing turns immediately after takeoff, as well as turning arrivals lower and closer to the landing runway. It also means jamming local flights lower so they remain below these designed departure and arrival flows.

(click on image to view article at AirportWatch.org.UK)

(click on image to view article at AirportWatch.org.UK)

The impacted neighbors near London appear to be a few years ahead of U.S. residents in the area of citizen activism. They have numerous airport groups who are creating a steady flow of actions and news stories aimed at stopping airport expansion. Thanks to some insensitive NextGen implementations creating new noise ghettoes, though, U.S. citizens are increasingly speaking up. They have to, to protect their quality of life.

FAA continues to implement new routes without environmental review. In a way, they have to, for this is all part of their ‘NextGen’ program. FAA has oversold the claimed benefits of NextGen to both the Public and to Congress, because they need Congress to continue approving billions in additional funding. FAA has also made deals with the unions and the airlines, to ensure they will not speak out of line about FAA’s NextGen ambitions.

We Don’t Need NextGen to Benefit from the GPS Technologies

But FAA is conveniently not sharing the fact that the GPS technologies have been around for decades, and have been practically and routinely used in ATC for more than a decade. Instead, FAA has chosen to ‘package’ these technologies and present them as a new and costly program wrapped in their carefully-crafted, glossy sales pitch. The program frankly offers no practical safety benefit; the monies approved by Congress and spent by FAA serve mostly to justify excess FAA positions and duties (from headquarters to the regions to the union leaders who spend much of their work time ‘collaborating’ on committees at each facility) while also propping up a handful of aviation industry contractors. And when they retire, many employees at the top of FAA (and quite a few at the lower ranks, too) will do as their predecessors did: hire into second careers with these same contractors, to richly supplement their already ample federal pensions.

And What Exactly did FAA Use to Buy Airline Silence?

Well, they promised to shave off a few miles (translating to a few million in added airline profits), by removing all environmental restrictions on departures. Hence, the TNNIS departure off LaGuardia, the stressful noise impacts over Laveen and F.Q. Story in Phoenix, and the newly created NextGen noise ghettoes around American’s new hub in Charlotte, NC. And, they promised the same lower (and noisier) routes with tighter turns on arrivals, such as the SERFR arrival into SFO.

Fly Up, FAA!!

Poster - 'Fly Up FAA'

(click on image to view slideshow of 7/24/2015 rally by Save our Skies Santa Cruz)

So, is it any wonder that more people are hating FAA and the airlines with greater intensity? Is there really any surprise that this sign was carried at a recent protest against FAA’s NextGen noise?

Multiple Awards won by Mario Diaz’s Series on FAA Failures

U.S. News reporters who ask the hard questions and do the investigating to expose FAA failures are rare. One of the best today is Mario Diaz, at PIX11 News, serving the New York market area. He won multiple award for ‘Below the Radar’, a five-part series that aired in mid-2014. This website posted twice about the series, first in mid-May (after the first four episodes), and again in mid-August (after the fifth episode).

Mario’s awards include:

A compilation of the full series of five episodes has been posted at YouTube. It runs nearly 30-minutes, and offers much to think about:

(click on image to see the full video of the investigative report)

(click on image to view the investigative report at YouTube)

Our Collective ADD, and Some History on US Airways

The general public lacks awareness of major trends in U.S. aviation, not just in the past hundred years, but even in the past decade. Indeed, the current set of popular communications technologies (internet, twitter, etc.) bombard us with so much rapid information that Public memory has arguably been all but destroyed . Many of us fail to process events from mere weeks ago. So, it is not surprising that people have no idea how contentious U.S. aviation history has been, getting to where we are today, with just four remaining major U.S. airlines: American, Delta, Southwest, and United.

It does not help that all of our aviation professionals do nothing to nurture a citizenry that is vastly informed and technically savvy, empowered by knowledge. Instead, FAA, NATCA, A4A and other members of the Av-Gov Complex seem to want to keep us ignorant. So, they always tend to hand us off to technical experts, and shout off infinite acronyms as effective weapons of mass confusion. They religiously avoid talking about safety deficiencies, wasteful spending, controller errors, etc. And all this they do while speaking cheerfully, as if from a Koolaid Bowl, to promote air travel (and thus their personal paychecks and pensions).

In total, we have been collectively dumbed down; nearly all of us now suffer a substantial culturally-based Attention Deficit Disorder. This ensures that meaningful decisions by governmental agencies, such as FAA’s NextGen implementations, will continue to happen in a vacuum. It also means that most impacted people will be too flustered (or too distracted onto other life matters or by trivialities – hey, did you see the great catch by what’s his name?) to focus through repairing FAA’s damages.

US Airways: An Airline Dysfunction Case Study?

While researching a recent aiREFORM Post about FAA’s NextGen Hydra at Charlotte, NC, it became clear that a closer look at Charlotte, and the airline at the heart of the airport’s history, might help educate us all. There is much that needs to be learned….

…So, take a look at the Wikipedia page on US Airways. Especially, be sure to read their history, with bankruptcies in both 2002 AND 2004. This was one of the first major U.S. airlines to liquidate the pensions of its pilots, as they did in 2003. This is also an airline that built up a huge hub at Pittsburgh [KPIT], got the airport authority to spend billions in new facilities, then abruptly up and left when the airport authority refused their ultimatum to lower airline operating fees.

By the way, Pittsburgh is one a growing number of U.S. airports that have seen enormous federal investment, only to be abandoned by their main airline (see also Delta at Cincinnati [KCVG], American at St. Louis [KSTL], Northwest (now Delta) at Detroit [KDTW], and Continental (now United) at Cleveland [KCLE].

And on the subject of airline dysfunction, it seems notable that the newest merger – American-US Airways – is deeply at the heart of nearly all of the biggest NextGen rollout debacles: at Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, New York’s JFK, and Phoenix. This one airline, if they shook their head and said ‘NO’ to FAA’s NextGen routes, could make a hugely positive quality of life difference for hundreds of thousands of airport neighbors.

We need to know history…

…and we need to apply what we know. Otherwise, we will keep doing the same stupid things, over and over again. Money will be wasted. Neighborhoods will be ruined. And a slim few will get rich.

What is Regulatory Capture?

Here is a short definition, as cleanly summarized at Wikipedia:

“…Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called “captured agencies”….”

Last year, a Washington Post article by Will Baude took another look at regulatory capture, noting that the problem may in fact go further, into academia and the legal profession. Here is a paragraph from his article [PDF], where he is quoting University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales:

“When economists talk about regulatory capture, they do not imply that regulators are corrupt or lack integrity. In fact, if regulatory capture was just due to illegal behavior, it would be easier to fight. Regulatory capture is so pervasive precisely because it is driven by standard economic incentives, which push even the most well-intentioned regulators to cater to the interest of the regulated. These incentives are built in their positions. Regulators depend upon the regulated for much of the information they need to do their job properly. This dependency creates a need to cater to the information providers. The regulated are also the only real audience of the regulators, since taxpayers have all the incentives to remain ignorant. Hence, the regulators’ on the job performance will be naturally defined with the regulated in mind, pushing the regulators to cater to the interest of the regulated. Finally, career incentives play a big role. The regulators human capital is highly industry specific and the best job for people holding that specific human capital are with the regulated. Hence, the desire to preserve future career options makes it difficult for the regulator not to cater to the regulated.”

Examples of FAA’s Regulatory Capture

FAA is a captured agency. Indeed, a careful study of FAA’s history suggests that this agency has nearly always been serving aviation interests first, frequently with complete indifference to the negative impacts upon the general public.

One early example was fifty years ago, in 1964. The Av-Gov Complex wanted to make money by developing supersonic air travel. So, they got the Military-Industrial Complex to help out, to use military aircraft to ‘test’ the impacts of sonic booms on people in Oklahoma. Very similar to how today, FAA is ‘testing’ noise impacts of their flawed and oversold NextGen technologies, in Phoenix and Flushing and elsewhere. Check out this recent article at Gizmodo.com:

An example from a few years ago is the Colgan crash in Buffalo, in January 2009. Fifty were killed in this horrific accident which plainly exposed a bucketload of failure within commercial passenger aviation: FAA’s lack of effective oversight, underpaid and chronically fatigued feeder pilots, airline deceptive marketing (e.g., Continental was selling Colgan seats as ‘Continental’ flights), and more. The regulatory capture aspect of this was well defined in a Buffalo News Op/Ed in July 2014.

And the latest example is the ongoing NextGen implementation debacle. The use of GPS satellite signals for air navigation began in earnest in 1994. FAA spent a decade fine-tuning their funding proposal, then finally got Congress’ blessing (i.e., funding authorization) in 2003. They spent a few more years lining up needed support from their employee unions (NATCA, PASS), and also made deals with airline and manufacturer stakeholders to get their ‘collaboration’. All of this meticulous groundwork by FAA was to ensure none of the stakeholders would oppose what FAA was preparing to take to Congress. With that done, in early 2012, FAA got Congress to pass ambiguous legislation that waives the longstanding requirement to conduct public environmental review of new air traffic routes. Which brings us to today’s NextGen mess.

FAA has done years of hard work for the airlines (and for the manufacturers who are raking in $billions$ for new systems and mandated products). And the result? Thousands of residents in communities across the country have risen loudly AFTER FAA has imposed new, noise-impactful NextGen routes. Astonishingly, even after local officials and senior Senators send written appeals to FAA, all FAA does is delay fixing the problems created by NextGen; in fact, they salt the fresh wounds by continuing to aggressively sell NextGen as ‘green’, and by conducting months and years of ‘studies’.

Just like in 1964.

FAA imposes an impact, and then they waste airline passenger taxes to spend years inconclusively ‘studying’ the impacts.

It seems that, at FAA, regulatory capture is more than just a phenomenon: it is an entrenched culture.

See also… (blue dates link to online content)

10/5/2012
Aviation Impacts & FAA’s Regulatory Capture: the Reasons the aiReform.com Website was Created
Early post from the first month of aiREFORM.com, with a deeper look at FAA history and citing numerous examples of FAA’s Regulatory Capture.

NextGen Derailed: Here is What NextGen was SUPPOSED to be in late 2004

Sometimes, when a program is failing to meet targets, it is a good idea to pause and evaluate the history. For NextGen, a good question is: What was the original expectation, and how has that evolved over time?

Taking just a few minutes to research this question, it quickly becomes clear that FAA has spent a lot of time and money ‘selling’ NextGen, and one unfortunate element of that sales job has been to sacrifice local airport environment to gain needed ‘stakeholder’ support from the airlines. I.e., FAA has thrown away residential quality of life near major airports in Phoenix, Boston, New York, Charlotte and elsewhere, by knowingly ignoring obvious adverse noise impacts. They are giving the airlines what they want (slightly shorter flights) via very concentrated NextGen departure routes with early turns.

The extent of FAA’s NextGen failure will eventually become clear, supplanting the positive spin that FAA, NATCA, A4A and other so-called ‘collaborating stakeholders’ have carefully delivered since 2003. In time, it will become clear that certain human habits and political realities are behind the REAL NextGen, including:

  • FAA has a very long history of collecting airline passenger fees and applying these taxes to perpetually upgrade ATC equipment. Similar to the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned about. Every year, hundreds of millions are spent on new contracts for hardware, software and services.
  • FAA and the handful of firms who win FAA’s contracts are strongly motivated to impose new programs, simply because they want the money. They have zero incentive for cost savings, because their paychecks are directly connected to the NextGen program. The bigger the program, the bigger the individual paycheck.
  • NextGen Benefits will be (and have been) grossly exaggerated; NextGen costs and deficiencies will be (and have been) routinely understated and/or concealed.
  • It is irresponsible, disingenuous,  and absolutely ludicrous for FAA to encourage the media to paint a picture of an archaic ATC system in desperate need of an upgrade.
  • DON’T BLAME CONGRESS  for the FAA-related legislation they pass. The precise language within NextGen legislation, such as the ambiguous Section 213 passed in early 2012, did not originate with Congress; it was pieced together by FAA and their principal clients, the airlines and manufacturers. When Congress passed the ambiguous language in 2012, FAA then chose to take full advantage of the ambiguity and misapply ‘Categorical Exclusions’ to ignore the public; i.e., it was FAA’s knowing choice to impose environmentally impactful departures, such as the MAYSA and FTHLS departures at KPHX and the TNNIS departure at KLGA.
  • DO BLAME CONGRESS for their failure to compel FAA to clean up the mess they have made with the NextGen rollouts. It appears they are too beholden to the moneyed interests that fund their reelection campaigns. Sadly, we no longer expect assertive constituent services, but instead have come to expect our elected officials to fall into two groups: those who stay quiet, and those who grandstand on the issue to generate voter support (but it is just grandstanding, and the problems never get solved). We have also come to expect that what officials say to cameras generally is not consistent with what they do out of view.
  • Follow the money and it is hard to see otherwise: our aviation system, like our political system, is broken; it primarily serves money, with generally no regard for the concerns of the average citizen.

Originally, Noise REDUCTION was Part of the NextGen Plan!

NextGen first took form in late 2003, when Congress passed the ‘Vision 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act’. At Section 709 of the legislation (see page 95 of the PDF copy), Congress ordered FAA to form the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) for NextGen implementation. Amazingly, the plan first articulated by Congress in 2003 included the environment. At paragraph (c) of Section 709, Congress listed the seven goals they expected FAA to pursue. Here is a screen capture of a portion of Section 709, with the noise impact goal highlighted: 20031212scp.. Noise reduction goal (from Sec.7, PL 108-176)If FAA was applying Goal #7, we would not have KPHX departures inundating Grand Avenue and Laveen with noise, as they have been since September 18th. Nor would we have the TNNIS departure being used so destructively off of La Guardia. But we do have these impacts, and FAA plans more.

NextGen Technologies go Back 40+ Years

Instead of honoring the intent Congress had stated in Goal #7, FAA is doubling down with their spin job. They, and the other stakeholders, carefully coordinate their statements to dupe the larger public into believing that NextGen is transformational, a collection of amazing and new technologies.

It is important to understand that these satellite positioning technologies have actually been around for a long time. The U.S. GPS system dates back to the 1970’s for military use, but was made available for civilian use in 1995. It was eight years later (in 2003) that FAA got Congress to initiate NextGen, and another eight years later (in early 2012) that FAA got Congress to accelerate implementation of their ‘new’ NextGen plan, with ambiguous language that FAA then used to bypass environmental review.

And, yes, all of that legislation was drafted by FAA, principally to serve the industry players, especially the airlines and the avionics manufacturers.

12/12/2004: The First NextGen Report

One of the other actions Congress ordered in late 2003 was for FAA to report back “…not later than one year after the date of enactment of the Act.” Exactly one year after enactment, on 12/12/2004, FAA published a 41-page paper, JPDO’s ‘Next Generation Air Transportation System Integrated Plan’. The report includes more than a dozen references to managing noise. Here is a link to a PDF copy; to aid in an efficient review, yellow highlighting has been added to all references to ‘Noise’.

And, here is a screen-cap of the ‘abstract’ of JPDO’s ‘Next Generation Air Transportation System Integrated Plan’. The text was essentially extracted from the ‘Executive Summary’ (see pages 4-5 of the PDF copy).

Abstract : The United States has been at the forefront of aviation since the day the Wright Flyer made its historic 12-second flight. Since then, Americans have become the most mobile society on Earth. Imagine, though, what would happen to our economy and quality of life if we could no longer depend on air transportation for overnight delivery or we could no longer depend on arriving when we need to arrive? The U.S. air transportation system as we know it is under stress. The demand for air transportation**This was written at the end of 2004. Ten years later, at the end of 2014, total scheduled commercial domestic passenger departures have been steadily declining year after year, and are down 19% since 2004. is outpacing our ability to increase capacity in our airports. Operating and maintenance costs of the air traffic system are outpacing revenues and the air carrier industry is going through significant change. The terrible events of September 11, 2001, radically altered our country and they exposed a new impediment to the future of the air transportation industry. New security requirements are significantly impacting costs and the ability to efficiently move people and cargo. In addition, the growth in air transportation has provoked community concerns over aircraft noise, pollution, and congestion that affect our ability to respond adequately or rapidly enough to our changing world. Now imagine an alternative world where a traveler or shipper determines departure and arrival times instead of being confined to a predetermined schedule. Imagine a hassle-free travel experience where safety and security measures, ticketing, and baggage checks are all transparent as the traveler or package moves easily through the airport and on and off the aircraft. Think of the possibilities if owning a recreational plane, micro-jet, or a share of a jet capable of flying in nearly all weather conditions were affordable to more Americans. Imagine improved individual and community quality of life in a world with less aircraft noise and emissions pollution, even as significant increases in air transportation occur.

See also:

New Investigative Report on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Li-ion Battery Fires

20130117.. Burnt Li-ion Battery B787

An NTSB picture of a charred Li-ion battery, January 2013.

In early 2013, FAA was forced to ground the entire U.S. Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, after two serious incidents in which Li-ion batteries had caught fire. Many aviation safety professionals were very impressed with the transparency and safety advocacy subsequently shown by NTSB and NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman. At the same time, much of FAA’s response smacked of being a loyal waterboy for damage control efforts by Boeing and other corporations in the aviation world.

20140910.. Li-ion Battery becomes a torch

The battery design is extremely volatile. When shot during testing, it quickly became a veritable blow-torch.

FAA’s grounding of the Dreamliner went on for more than three months, and ended on 4/27/2013. In the months since, a few minor incidents have made the news, but more notably there has been a concerted effort by Boeing marketers (with assistance from FAA) to both re-shine the Dreamliner’s image AND micromanage the coverage of all incidents. Eventually, Ms. Hersman resigned her NTSB post and moved on, and Boeing stock has made more than a complete recovery. So, we wait and we hope.

If we are lucky, and if the re-configured marketing efforts were not just hype, we will not see a repeat battery fire or other problem. We will not dread the news when a  Dreamliner filled with passengers has a major failure, out over an ocean and two hours from land.

We hope.

A detailed 48-minute investigative report has been posted on YouTube. Will Jordan and an Al Jazeera team of reporters spent more than a year investigating. They talked with Whistleblowers, management, outsource ‘partners’, union officials, workers, and former DoT Inspector General Mary Schiavo, but they did not talk to any FAA officials. Clay Foushee (AAE-1), as head of the office that is supposed to protect aviation Whistleblowers, would have been an extremely appropriate interview … and his name appears on a memo at around 37-minutes. But, no FAA interviews or, if they did, perhaps the answers were empty and got edited out?

Here are a few quotes and time-marks from this excellent analysis of an FAA/Boeing work culture that appears to have drifted sharply, from safety to earnings reports.

4:50 “We have a contract with Boeing, so we can’t tell any comments to you.”
7:25 “After my building burned down, after that they realized, very emphatically, the danger of this chemistry.”
9:40 “When it comes to building airplanes, the FAA delegates oversight almost completely to the aircraft manufacturers .”
10:35 “I don’t think it’s a sufficient fix. Even inside that steel box, with all of its fortification, all the elements are still there for fire.”
13:50 “…it was almost as if, at times you thought Boeing executives believed, well maybe they could sit in Chicago and have other companies do things, and they would just rake in the money somehow by putting it all together and putting a Boeing sticker on it at the end.”
16:46 “More than any other single event, it was the big lie, and it was a statement that the Boeing Company is now all about the big lie.”
21:10 “They changed basic engineering principles to meet schedule. We all protested.”
24:15 “It’s been eating me alive to know what I know, and to have no avenue, no venue to say anything.”
32:00 The John Woods Whistleblower story (5-minutes)
35:20 “…He turned to the FAA, filing a Whistleblower complaint. The document alleged seven serious violations in the South Carolina plant.” Former DoT-IG Schiavo: “I’ve gotten to the page where they reach their conclusions and the discussion and what they found was that all the allegations, all but one of them they could not substantiate, and the one that they could substantiate, they asked Boeing to fix it, Boeing said ‘OK, we fixed it’, and then they close the investigation. And that’s pretty much how they all go, I mean I’ve seen this so many times.”
37:00 “…It shouldn’t be this hard to do the right thing.”
38:30 “One day you’re regulating the airline, and the next day you’re working for it. You can’t possibly be tough on the industry that you’re regulating, because you’ll never get that plum job after you leave. The regulators at the FAA will rarely cross Boeing.. They simply won’t.”
42:30 Interview with a Boeing VP (and GM of the 787 Program) (2-minutes in, the interview was stopped by Boeing’s Communications Director, and he asked that the cameras be turned off)

Here are links to the aiReform.com Posts related to this issue:

see also:

 

ANALYSIS: Controller Error & NMAC, east of Kona, on 4/25/2014

UPDATED, 5/19/2014…
When this article was originally Posted by aiREFORM, on 5/17 (22-days after the near-collision), FAA was still not sharing information. New information has since been released anonymously. It identifies the conflicting flight as USAir Flight #432, westbound at 33,000 feet. Details are updated below.

On Friday April 25, at approximately 4:16PM Pacific time, the pilot of an eastbound United B757 abruptly descended to avoid a westbound USAirways B757, northeast of Kona, Hawaii. The United flight (UAL1205) was heading from Kona to LAX; it had leveled at 33,000 feet and was established on the oceanic route R578, roughly 200 miles northeast of Kona. Two U.S. Airways flights were enroute westbound, thus nose-to-nose with the United flight. One was USAir663, from Phoenix to Kona, at 34,000 feet; the other was USAir432, from Phoenix to Maui, at 33,000 feet. All flights were tracking along the same oceanic route R578.

An account of this incident was posted online by Kevin Townsend. He notes that some passengers screamed when they experienced the sudden maneuver, and a flight attendant soon came over the intercom with, “the pilot took evasive action to avoid an aircraft in our flight path.” Then, to settle rattled nerves (and distract the passengers), she announced a few minutes later: “Aloha! United Airlines will be offering today’s DirecTV entertainment free of charge. Anyone who has already purchased in-flight entertainment will receive a reimbursement on their credit card.”

It turns out Mr. Townsend is a writer, based in San Francisco, who happened to be returning that Friday from a Hawaiian vacation. He is also a bit persistent and adept at online research and contacting FAA and airline officials, and from this he wrote an article. His article is an interesting read, but also a bit disturbing because he documents that, when he contacted FAA officials, they generally blew him off. It was weeks later before FAA initiated an investigation — and that delay may have allowed ATC audio tapes and other hard evidence to be destroyed. So much for accountability.

<< <> <<>> <> >>

For an analysis of this incident, including flight data and aviation charts,
please see page two of this aiREFORM Post.