Wall Street Journal Passing On FAA’s ‘Fake News’ About NextGen

FAA and other industry players have been using some incredibly phony sales pitches for well over a decade now, in their coordinated effort to sell NextGen as ‘transformational’. One of those false pitch points is the claim that NextGen will do away with commercial flights flying zig-zag routes across the nation, from one electronic navaid to the next. Readers are led to believe that today’s air navigation is constrained by these locations, and a lot of people get fooled, simply because the vast majority of us are not trained and employed in a way that would cause us to know better. Well, today’s air navigation is NOT constrained that way, and frankly has not been so constrained for many decades. Even as early as the 1970s, entire airline fleets were configured for direct navigation using inertial navigation systems, followed by many new and improved systems including Omega, Loran, GPS, etc.

It’s a fact, and an embarrassment on FAA, that for each of the airspace redesigns in recent years, FAA and contractors have created thousands of pages of slick documentation… and every documentation package, for each airspace redesign, has at least one copy of this image (or a close variation):

The graphic clearly implies that ‘current’ navigation is via zigzags over navaids. All you have to do is study actual flight routes, at a website like Flightaware. Everyday, multiple websites upload data for tens of thousands of U.S. commercial flights; for each of those days, you could spend a week or longer reviewing every individual flight history, and chances are you would NOT find even one flight wasting time and energy on navaid-to-navaid zigzags.

So, it looks like all that propaganda is now taking a big victim: even the esteemed Wall Street Journal now believes we need NextGen to advance us past airplanes that ‘bounce from one radio point to the next…’!

Check out their March 22nd opinion piece, archived below with aiR footnotes added:

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

See also:

GANews: ‘Polls show voters overwhelmingly oppose privatizing ATC’

General Aviation News, one of the oldest periodicals serving GA and based in the Seattle area, posted the above headline. The article went on to discuss a telephone survey of 801 registered voters conducted in mid-August by Global Strategy Group. Officials with the polling company concluded that voters are very clearly expressing an “if-it-ain’t-broke don’t fix it” attitude about FAA and so-called ATC privatization.

A more focused discussion ensued between two GANews readers. One person argued for ‘privatization’ on the premise that FAA is so broken, gosh, we’ve got do something. The other person argued that ‘privatization’ of ATC will only make things worse, by further insulating FAA and ATC from accountability, for example:

“Privatization of the ATC and/or FAA is a very bad idea. It is not efficient and a waste of time and money.

Mr. Schuster, Congress will lose control over the agency just like AMTRAK. There will be no one to hold their feet to the fire when things go wrong. More monies will be wasted just thru the added bureaucracy. Also don’t forget about the additional time factor of everything.

There really are some people within the FAA and ATC system who really try to do the right thing but as with all organizations there are politics. If your idea of privatization happens then a completely new set of politics will rule and nothing will ever get done or done correctly.

I know – I have worked for a very large organization for over 32 years and many of the higher ups play the game so they can maintain their position because they enjoy manipulating things. They are not looking for solutions. It’s called “Job Security”, and WHY? Because they can. Plain and simple.

ATC Privatization is wrong and a very bad idea in this instance.

The full interchange is an interesting read, accurately presenting the two sides of the argument. Click on page two for a scrollable PDF created to cleanly present the back-and-forth between these two readers: