FAA’s NextGen: Just like the Little Man in ‘Wizard of Oz’

20150712cpy.. OZ's little man behind curtain, FAA SpinMeisterFAA’s attitude about citizen concerns is incredibly well illustrated by a scene from the film classic, Wizard of Oz. It is a scene that illustrates how power can be just an illusion, carefully spun and projected by an agency PR machine.

Little Man (with a booming voice, amplified by whiz-bang technologies): “Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz. I said come back tomorrow!”

Dorothy:  “If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises.”

Little Man: “Do you presume to criticize the great Oz? You ungrateful creatures. Think yourselves lucky, that I’m giving you audience tomorrow instead of twenty years from now.”

Little Man then turns to see that the dog has pulled open the curtain, showing him manipulating the controls that project the booming voice of Oz. Little Man returns to his microphone, utters a startled “Oh!!”, then broadcasts: “The Great Oz has spoken!”

Little Man then turns again and quickly pulls the curtain shut, then broadcasts: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The Great Oz has spoken!”

Finally, when Dorothy pulls open the curtain and addresses Little Man, the fact is revealed: he is just an illusion of power, bolstered by the application of whiz-bang technology.

L. Frank Baum’s book was published in 1899, and the hugely popular movie came out in 1939.

Generations later, here we are in Summer 2015. NextGen is the newest ‘whiz-bang’ technology, sold to us by an increasingly Ozian FAA. The agency spends billions collected from passengers each year, to manipulate public perception that FAA serves aviation safety (…maybe like a tick aids canine health?), and that money needs to be spent on their over-promoted ‘whiz-bang NextGen’ technologies. This same FAA also ignores (and conceals) concerns about problems created by NextGen … not just noise issues (Phoenix, Santa Cruz, Charlotte, Boston, Chicago, Queens, etc.), but even safety issues, such as apparently contributed to the recent midair collision in South Carolina.

Clearly, we need to start paying very close attention to the FAA man behind the curtain. And we need Congress to step up their game, and force FAA to clean up its act.