“…someone ought to be asking some serious questions of the FAA”

LeehamNews is a Seattle-based blog that offers steady, thoughtful insight into Boeing, Airbus, other commercial aircraft manufacturers, and related topics. In a 8/19/2014 Post, LeehamNews points out FAA inconsistencies in imposing airspace bans, from Ukraine to Syria to Ferguson, MO. Here is a copy:

FAA overflights: It’s big news here in the USA, likely far less so in the rest of the world: the racial unrest in the small Missouri town of Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, where an unarmed 18-year African-American male was shot six times by a white policeman. Police say the young man attacked a police office. Witnesses say he had his hands up to comply with the officer’s orders. A grand jury will attempt to sort out facts. In the meantime, demonstrations–some peaceful, some not, some with looting–have turned Ferguson into an armed camp of police looking like the Army, in Humvees, battle gear and automatic weapons.

The US Federal Aviation Administration quickly instituted a low-level flight ban over Ferguson.

Then yesterday, we received a call from the Voice of America asking us to comment on the FAA issuing a flight ban over Syria, a war zone, where combat has been underway for three years.

This comes, of course, after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.

Over the decades, the FAA has been criticized as being a “tombstone” agency: wait until people die before implementing a rule to save lives. While mostly hyperbole, the characterization, like most cliches, is rooted in basis of fact.

When VOA called, we were, to be frank, gobsmacked the FAA hadn’t previously banned Syrian overflights. Prior to Ukraine, can anyone think of any place on earth where there was a more dangerous combat zone where overflights might not be a good idea?

We’re loath to encourage a hack Congress to do much of anything these days, but someone ought to be asking some serious questions of the FAA.