Birmingham Controllers Latest To Be Left In The Dark | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 07.25.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.25.14 **
** Airborne 07.23.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.23.14 **
** Airborne 07.21.14--CLICK HERE! ** HD iPad-Friendly Version--Airborne 07.21.14 **

Sat, Feb 17, 2007

Birmingham Controllers Latest To Be Left In The Dark

January 17 Radar Outage Delayed Flights More Than Five Hours

Air traffic controllers in Birmingham, AL continue to butt heads with the FAA over the severity of a radar outage last month, that snarled flights for over five hours.

Local NATCA president Scott Pressley told the Birmingham News "safety was definitely compromised" when radar scopes at the Birmingham TRACON went blank at 4:45 pm January 17. The outage, which the paper states also affected the tower at BHM, delayed 15 departing flights and many arrivals.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen disputes Pressley's assertions. "Controllers are trained for any contingency," she said. "They do an outstanding job at Birmingham and throughout the system."

"When FAA says that safety wasn't compromised, it trivializes what we do as their traffic controllers," Pressley replied. "And safety was definitely compromised and it was the air traffic controllers and the compliance of the pilots that ensured the safety that day, not the FAA."

Pressley also states there is no true "backup" radar available... because controllers have used that secondary system since the airport's primary radar went down last month. That backup system only covers 50 miles; once the area's two long-range antennas are returned to operation, they will cover a 200-mile radius.

Bergen states Birmingham's primary system will be up and running later this month.

Making matters worse that night, Pressley says, is an apparent discrepancy between backup operations for Birmingham, and Atlanta Center -- which is supposed to "take over our air space and we just run the tower."

"They wouldn't take the air space," Pressley said, speaking of en route controllers, "so we had to continue running that air space without the radar when they could see it perfectly well. The controllers in Atlanta knew how unsafe the situation was and they were trying to help us ... and their managers wouldn't allow them to help us. We kind of had to make up the rules as we went."

Bergen replies the agreement requires Atlanta Center to handle airspace above 7,000 feet in the event of a failure at Birmingham. She says controllers in Alabama are well-versed with nonradar procedures in the area, so "the decision was made that they could implement the nonradar procedures for flights below 7,000 feet. The controllers in Atlanta could not work nonradar at those low altitudes."

A rash of radar system failures affected flights recently in such areas as Southern California, Chicago, and south Florida.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.natca.org

Advertisement

More News

It's Turbo Time! AeroVee Turbo Orders Now Accepted

Will Offer Significant Performance Boost For Sonex Aircraft Sonex Aircraft announced at a press and customer briefing Sunday morning that orders are now being accepted for the long>[...]

There's A New Light Sport Amphib Coming To The Block

MVP.Aero Introduces What It Calls The Worlds 'Most Versatile Plane' A new sport plane that is designed to operate from runways, water, and snow and ice was introduced Sunday aftern>[...]

Historic OSH2014 Sponsor: Bendix-King by Honeywell

OSH2014 Sponsor: Bendix-King by Honeywell The history of the Bendix name runs parallel to the development of King Radio until the mid-1980s, when the Allied Corporation purchased B>[...]

Revolutionary OSH2014 Sponsor -- Aviation Modifications Leaders

Aviation Modifications Leaders -- Unique Solutions For Critical Applications During two decades of designing, engineering and installation of Satcom systems with Honeywell (Allied >[...]

OSH2014 Sponsor: 'Super-App' ForeFlight

LONG-TIME ANN Sponsor, ForeFlight, Provides GREAT Guidance For Oshkosh 2014! ForeFlight was founded in 2007 by aviation entrepreneurs who set out to build elegant, high-performing >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC