Trumps Air Traffic Control Initiative

Sierra Kilo

Junior Member
Dec 29, 2016
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But luckily, you are following this closely, and so you understand how pivotal a stable funding stream will be for us and everything we do.

Oh look, we keep falling behind on satellite target data presentation. Whoops. Looks like we just lost some or all of our oceanic airspace to Nav Canada and their subsidiary that's been developing the technology. Guess those controllers had better find some radar jobs elsewhere in the building. And look, Micro-EARTS just shit the bed on Guam and the other out-of-the-way locations that use it. Nav Canada to the rescue. Well, maybe.

And I'd really like to move somewhere else in the agency, and the only thing that will make that happen is more Academy graduates entering training somewhere and certifying. But unfortunately no one teaches at the Academy unless a budget has been approved, and we just delayed our umpteenth class for the umpteenth time because somebody in the Senate wanted to make a point about the lives of the unborn. Guess my career progression will just have to wait a few more months. Thank God I have NATCA to blame for it all.

There is no situation in which haphazard, stop-and-go funding for the organization is not felt by us and our customers. We don't need privatization to solve this problem (e.g., FAA spending moves off-budget with an indefinite right to collect ticket and fuel taxes, everywhere in America stops voting for the Republican Party), but that's not up to us.
I pretty much agree with all of this, but the Shuster proposals are not the ideal solution in my eyes. I can see the merit in some of it, but I'm not sold in the current form.

Your last paragraph is essentially how I feel about all of this too. Just frustrating seeing how it got to this point and being a realist, how screwed it all is with a Republican congress. Watching it stall is encouraging, but I would hope NATCA uses this time to try and work out something more favorable for controllers as a whole.
 

DontCallMeShirley

Senior Analyst
Mar 31, 2012
838
22
18
Pushing Tin SUCKS
But luckily, you are following this closely, and so you understand how pivotal a stable funding stream will be for us and everything we do.

Oh look, we keep falling behind on satellite target data presentation. Whoops. Looks like we just lost some or all of our oceanic airspace to Nav Canada and their subsidiary that's been developing the technology. Guess those controllers had better find some radar jobs elsewhere in the building. And look, Micro-EARTS just shit the bed on Guam and the other out-of-the-way locations that use it. Nav Canada to the rescue. Well, maybe.

And I'd really like to move somewhere else in the agency, and the only thing that will make that happen is more Academy graduates entering training somewhere and certifying. But unfortunately no one teaches at the Academy unless a budget has been approved, and we just delayed our umpteenth class for the umpteenth time because somebody in the Senate wanted to make a point about the lives of the unborn. Guess my career progression will just have to wait a few more months. Thank God I have NATCA to blame for it all.

There is no situation in which haphazard, stop-and-go funding for the organization is not felt by us and our customers. We don't need privatization to solve this problem (e.g., FAA spending moves off-budget with an indefinite right to collect ticket and fuel taxes, everywhere in America stops voting for the Republican Party), but that's not up to us.
I'm on board with most of this too. My issue isn't with NATCA looking to the future; the status quo obviously has to change. It's just not being able to stomach support for a future where protections for workers are hazy at best and gutted at worse. It's a shit state of affairs no matter how we look at it.

I don't know whether to think Republican's not being on board is a good thing or a bad thing at this point. Gives more time to consider alternatives, but I don't want to see each new proposal get more draconian than the last to appease the conservative holdouts.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
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What I really don't like is how NATCA seemed to have just brushed the Senate bill of non-privatizing aside to focus entirely on privatization. Now maybe they're working with the Senators to amend the parts they didn't like, but if they are NATCA sure isn't telling anyone. They didn't even tell us why they don't support it other then the generic "it doesn't meet our core values" or whatever. NATCA says reform needs to happen and they don't care how it happens, so you would think they would give equal voice to any bill that would guarantee a funding stream, but that doesn't seem to be happening.
 

SMS

Trusted Member
Oct 28, 2014
399
2
18
I'm on board with most of this too. My issue isn't with NATCA looking to the future; the status quo obviously has to change. It's just not being able to stomach support for a future where protections for workers are hazy at best and gutted at worse. It's a shit state of affairs no matter how we look at it.

I don't know whether to think Republican's not being on board is a good thing or a bad thing at this point. Gives more time to consider alternatives, but I don't want to see each new proposal get more draconian than the last to appease the conservative holdouts.
Most of the "Conservative holdouts", actual conservatives as opposed to the batch of crony capitalists that people confuse with conservatives these days, aren't holding out for something more draconian. They are holding out because they realize that some things are inherently governmental and need to be kept within the sphere of control of the American people through our constitutionally created structure.
 

SMS

Trusted Member
Oct 28, 2014
399
2
18
What I really don't like is how NATCA seemed to have just brushed the Senate bill of non-privatizing aside to focus entirely on privatization. Now maybe they're working with the Senators to amend the parts they didn't like, but if they are NATCA sure isn't telling anyone. They didn't even tell us why they don't support it other then the generic "it doesn't meet our core values" or whatever. NATCA says reform needs to happen and they don't care how it happens, so you would think they would give equal voice to any bill that would guarantee a funding stream, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

They also brushed aside DeFazio's House bill that fixes the funding issue but keeps the FAA whole. NATCA has spent a lot of time talking out both sides of its mouth.
 

SayAgain3

Trusted Member
Feb 13, 2017
359
5
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Paul and Trish have said they haven't outwardly supported DeFazios bill because (although better) it doesn't stand a chance in hell against the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure's bill. When push comes to shove, as long as the bare minimum 4 standards are met, they'll lay in bed with the frontrunner.
 
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SMS

Trusted Member
Oct 28, 2014
399
2
18
yeah that's the senate bill I was talking about.
Defazio's was in the House. Not endorsing it because they felt it didn't have a chance to pass is ridiculous. If they had endorsed it, it might've received some attention...even if Shuster controls the committee.
 
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nhstadt

Epic Member
Mar 24, 2011
2,980
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south "Murica
But luckily, you are following this closely, and so you understand how pivotal a stable funding stream will be for us and everything we do.

Oh look, we keep falling behind on satellite target data presentation. Whoops. Looks like we just lost some or all of our oceanic airspace to Nav Canada and their subsidiary that's been developing the technology. Guess those controllers had better find some radar jobs elsewhere in the building. And look, Micro-EARTS just shit the bed on Guam and the other out-of-the-way locations that use it. Nav Canada to the rescue. Well, maybe.

And I'd really like to move somewhere else in the agency, and the only thing that will make that happen is more Academy graduates entering training somewhere and certifying. But unfortunately no one teaches at the Academy unless a budget has been approved, and we just delayed our umpteenth class for the umpteenth time because somebody in the Senate wanted to make a point about the lives of the unborn. Guess my career progression will just have to wait a few more months. Thank God I have NATCA to blame for it all.

There is no situation in which haphazard, stop-and-go funding for the organization is not felt by us and our customers. We don't need privatization to solve this problem (e.g., FAA spending moves off-budget with an indefinite right to collect ticket and fuel taxes, everywhere in America stops voting for the Republican Party), but that's not up to us.
I agree a lot of that isnt on us, or the agency when it comes to funding. I get that. But to say the FAA recognizing the staffing trends and problems and the implications of that we are currently feeling has anything to do with the current funding (or lack thereof) stream is asinine. The FAA has known about the problem we are facing for much longer than the period of time the GOP has decided government agency funding was a political weapon. They've been saying for ten plus years they need to hire more controllers. That's why I got into it in the military to begin with back in.....2004? still took me years to get hired, not because of funding but because the hiring process is inefficient as :p:p:p:p. funding in terms of hiring, or anything else, was never and issue until the GOP decided to throw a temper tantrum over obamacare in 2014 or so. So because of 3 years of our government failing us we are going to potentially set ourselves up for a career of getting screwed, not to mention those that come after us? :p:p:p:p that homie. That's bullshit and you know it just like i do.

moreover, to insinuate anyone is going to lose airspace to NAVcanada or lose their job by not privatizing is :p:p:p:p:p:p:p ridiculous. I'm more afraid for my job by privatizing than not. who spouted that line at you?

Is the government in general broken right now? absofuckinglutely. Declining to fund necessary services should never be a political weapon. You'll get no arguments there from me on that. but everything you said there is scare tactic garbage. you don't run the NATCA FB page by chance do you?
 

lowapproach

Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
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I agree a lot of that isnt on us, or the agency when it comes to funding. I get that. But to say the FAA recognizing the staffing trends and problems and the implications of that we are currently feeling has anything to do with the current funding (or lack thereof) stream is asinine. The FAA has known about the problem we are facing for much longer than the period of time the GOP has decided government agency funding was a political weapon. They've been saying for ten plus years they need to hire more controllers. That's why I got into it in the military to begin with back in.....2004? still took me years to get hired, not because of funding but because the hiring process is inefficient as :p:p:p:p. funding in terms of hiring, or anything else, was never and issue until the GOP decided to throw a temper tantrum over obamacare in 2014 or so. So because of 3 years of our government failing us we are going to potentially set ourselves up for a career of getting screwed, not to mention those that come after us? :p:p:p:p that homie. That's bullshit and you know it just like i do.

moreover, to insinuate anyone is going to lose airspace to NAVcanada or lose their job by not privatizing is :p:p:p:p:p:p:p ridiculous. I'm more afraid for my job by privatizing than not. who spouted that line at you?

Is the government in general broken right now? absofuckinglutely. Declining to fund necessary services should never be a political weapon. You'll get no arguments there from me on that. but everything you said there is scare tactic garbage. you don't run the NATCA FB page by chance do you?
This is where listening, maybe even a little, to shit you don't want to hear would be helpful to understanding why we are here now.

An unstable funding stream has been an issue for over a decade now. The FAA knew or should have known that everyone it hired between 1981 and 1992 was going to begin retiring in the mid-'00s, and the peak of the wave would hit between 2011-2015. But money is what allows you to do something about it. Take a look at the staffing chart (NATCA Bookshelf - NIW Today 2016) in the handout for NiW last year. In 2012, they're almost 60 short. In 2013, the year of the shutdown, they're 800 short. In 2016, we have 1,000 fewer CPCs and 600 fewer trainees in the system than we did in 2011, with the same number eligible to retire (about 3,000). And I won't argue that the hiring process doesn't help (especially the biographical questionnaire that screens out veterans and CTIs in favor of sandwich artists - thanks, HR) and it put the Academy in a position of having to eliminate a bigger percentage of the incoming classes than was previously necessary. But our problem has been not hiring in absolute numbers as big as we've needed, for years, and that's about money.

I am also not saying that the failure to privatize by itself is going to cost airspace or jobs. I am saying that the lack of stable funding jeopardizes technology implementation, and the resulting service degradation or failure could easily cost airspace or jobs. If the best we can do with nonradar separation over the ocean is 10 minutes or 20 miles for most of the airspace controlled by New York in the Atlantic and Oakland in the Pacific, and Nav Canada can run them 5 miles apart with 99.99% uptime for their ADS-B system, ICAO has good reason to move towards giving that airspace to someone else because the FAA can't provide the best service available to the customer. There is no replacement pipeline for Micro-EARTS, and it's passing its lifecycle now. What happens when there's a major service interruption related to the technology? And here's another no one wants to think about right now: N90 is in a staffing death spiral, and that fact causes delays expressed as bigger in-trail requirements all day from all directions and longer ground stops, at a time when the airlines are adding flights because the economy's improved. For the first time in years, I'm working JFKs 25 MIT until 1:30 on the mid. Are the airlines going to tolerate the delays forever, if staffing continues to decline? Or are they going to push for adjacent facilities to get some or all of the airspace if N90 can't return to health?
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
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"Or are they going to push for adjacent facilities to get some or all of the airspace if N90 can't return to health?"

that's not a viable or doable option from any perspective.
 

lowapproach

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Oct 29, 2010
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"Or are they going to push for adjacent facilities to get some or all of the airspace if N90 can't return to health?"

that's not a viable or doable option from any perspective.
Give it another couple of years of delays for staffing alone, with no end in sight, and we'll see what the FAA and the airlines consider viable or doable.

I believe that there is an amount of money that gets enough people into the building, and it will probably amount to a 50%+ premium pay on top of base and locality. Maybe raise everybody to the cap upon checkout, all base, no locality. It would probably help if they would grant extensions to anybody who reached mandatory retirement and somehow wanted one. But I know that the training money isn't enough, the PCS money isn't enough, and you guys are bleeding out.
 

BrewnATC

Epic Member
Jan 28, 2015
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Ass deep in a folding chair
Give it another couple of years of delays for staffing alone, with no end in sight, and we'll see what the FAA and the airlines consider viable or doable.

I believe that there is an amount of money that gets enough people into the building, and it will probably amount to a 50%+ premium pay on top of base and locality. Maybe raise everybody to the cap upon checkout, all base, no locality. It would probably help if they would grant extensions to anybody who reached mandatory retirement and somehow wanted one. But I know that the training money isn't enough, the PCS money isn't enough, and you guys are bleeding out.
Maybe they should get rid of the level 8 requirement and institute a screen. Doesn't waste a ton of training time, opens up a ton of CPCs at the majority of facilities, most likely locked down due to NCEPT that may transfer there.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
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Maybe they should get rid of the level 8 requirement and institute a screen. Doesn't waste a ton of training time, opens up a ton of CPCs at the majority of facilities, most likely locked down due to NCEPT that may transfer there.
i think they did get rid of the level 8 requirement the last bid
 

Jax

Senior Analyst
Nov 17, 2010
869
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N90-EWR
Give it another couple of years of delays for staffing alone, with no end in sight, and we'll see what the FAA and the airlines consider viable or doable.

I believe that there is an amount of money that gets enough people into the building, and it will probably amount to a 50%+ premium pay on top of base and locality. Maybe raise everybody to the cap upon checkout, all base, no locality. It would probably help if they would grant extensions to anybody who reached mandatory retirement and somehow wanted one. But I know that the training money isn't enough, the PCS money isn't enough, and you guys are bleeding out.
50% premium pay would probably do it. By the way, like NE said...there's no viable option to spread the airspace to adjacent facilities. Like really, not a chance in hell that would work. Only somebody that has never seen the clusterphuck that is the NY airspace would even think something like that would work. It is a miracle we make this shit work (we do so much crap that's borderline "illegal"), and that's with all the airspace/areas in the same building. Trying to spread the airspace to different facilities and try make it work would result in even bigger delays because nobody else would come even close of running this shit so borderline extremely close.