Article in the Chicago Tribune.

jon007

New Member
Read the part about how air travel and flight voulme could set reconds in ORD and MDW next year. Still a some pretty scary stats.

ENJOY:


Errors rise in flight control
Tower crews cite heavier workload

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published December 5, 2003, 8:21 AM CST

Air-traffic errors in the Chicago area have increased six-fold this year, and planes waiting for parking gates are jeopardizing safety at the city's two airports, according to data released Thursday and concerns raised by controllers.

Regional controllers handling planes near O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport committed 24 errors so far this year that resulted in violations of the required minimum spacing between aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Eight of the errors made by controllers at the FAA facility in Elgin occurred since Oct. 1, corresponding with a surge in air travel that is expected to continue expand next year.

Four controller errors were made in 2002, and eight were made in 2001 at the facility. In 2000, before the steep downturn in the airline industry caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks a year later, the FAA recorded 10 errors at the facility.

"Traffic demands are rapidly increasing, and the error rate is symptomatic of the problems. The safety margins over Chicago skies are at the thinnest they have been," said Ray Gibbons, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at the facility.

Traffic at O'Hare and Midway has bounced back more vibrantly than that of at most major U.S. airports, surpassing the passenger loads and flight volumes seen of before the terrorist attacks. Recent trends hint that new records could be set next year.

The increasing congestion in the skies and on the ground, however, is a clear sign the flight growth the clearest sign yet that the dramatic growth in flights threatens a return to the crippling delays that paralyzed commercial aviation before the attacks.

Airlines are reporting on-time arrival rates of 85 percent or better this year, but the achievement is helped because airlines pad the amount of time scheduled for flights.

Passengers who depart se flights depart one city an hour or more behind schedule but , only to arrive at their destination "on time",'' are beginning to complain again.

After running out of space on taxiways, controllers at Midway routinely line up planes filled with passengers on inactive runways until gates at the terminal are freed up, said veteran controller Kevin Rojek. He said the situation creates the potential for danger if in the event a pilot makes a wrong turn taxiing, or if an airplane breaking through the clouds layer were to land on the wrong runway.

"It's harder and harder each day to get planes safely in and out of the airport," said Rojek, president of the controllers union at Midway.

In what has become an almost daily occurrence, flights to O'Hare were delayed through the day Thursday. It wasn't due to weather problems at other their departure airports — O'Hare simply could not accommodate the number of arriving flights, scheduled to arrive at O'Hare exceeded what the airport could accommodate, according to an FAA airport status report.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday at O'Hare, more than 50 aircraft were parked on holding pads waiting for other aircraft to board passengers and leave vacate gates, officials said.

"Traffic is skyrocketing, and we are back to the craziness of pre-Sept. 11," said Craig Burzych, the controllers union president at O'Hare. "Controllers are making mistakes because they are constantly pounding airplanes in and out. There is no time to catch up."

Passenger traffic is up 5 percent at O'Hare and 9 percent at Midway this year compared with last year, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

O'Hare has more than 2,700 takeoffs and landings daily, up from about 2,500 flights a day before 9/11 the terrorist attacks, the Aviation Department said. Airlines serving O'Hare added 150 flights a day in November and 150 more new flights are planned for January, officials said.

"We always knew traffic would recover," said Chicago aviation spokeswoman Monique Bond. "The consolidation of American Airlines' St. Louis hub has brought more flights to O'Hare, and the recovery of United Airlines from bankruptcy is adding to the numbers."

On the Southwest Side, about 1,000 planes arrive and depart from Midway each day, compared with to 850 flights before the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said.

One reason for the controller error increase may be that the airlines are concentrating more flights into certain times hours of the day, said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro. He said a definitive explanation for the errors has not been established.

"We are beginning to see that we are losing our peaks and valleys [in the flow of arrivals and departures]. It's becoming all peaks," Molinaro said.

But he said safety is being maintained.

"The standards for separating aircraft are very conservative. Even when the standards are compromised, we are very confident that safety is not compromised," he said.

Gibbons, the controllers union president, said reasons for the higher error rate include a more complicated mix of large jetliners, small regional jets and corporate planes flying at different speeds. Each type of aircraft requires different spacing distances to avoid the dangers of wake turbulence from the aircraft in front of it.

Gibbons also said staffing losses in fully qualified controllers, caused by retirements and illnesses at the Elgin facility, has affected performance.

The FAA said 96 controllers are working live traffic at the facility, four controllers short of the agreed-upon level, and that more controllers are being hired.
 

Mahesh

New Member
I am taking courses in Air Transportation Systems. One of our projects was to collect data at DCA and analyze arrival/departure rates, inter-arrival times etc.

Through our analysis, we discovered that there is a possibility that DCA violates minimum separation quite a bit!

Anyway, it looks like the market is picking up. My flight instructor got recalled by Eagle (after being furloghed a couple of days after 9/11).

Great news!

Mahesh
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
O'Hare has more than 2,700 takeoffs and landings daily, up from about 2,500 flights a day before 9/11 the terrorist attacks, the Aviation Department said. Airlines serving O'Hare added 150 flights a day in November and 150 more new flights are planned for January, officials said.



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Yeah, looking on the bright side, that's good news as well! Finally things seem to be bouncing back.
 

pavelump

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]


O'Hare has more than 2,700 takeoffs and landings daily, up from about 2,500 flights a day before 9/11 the terrorist attacks, the Aviation Department said. Airlines serving O'Hare added 150 flights a day in November and 150 more new flights are planned for January, officials said.



[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, looking on the bright side, that's good news as well! Finally things seem to be bouncing back.

[/ QUOTE ]

It's probably all of the spill-over from Meigs...


sorry,
Dave
 

FL270

New Member
I doubt much of the Meigs spillover is going to O'Hare but I'm quite certain a lot of it is going to MDW. Losing CGX is going to prove to be costly in more ways than one.

When traveling by airline, I avoid ORD like the plague ... delays get ugly there even on good days. Something about trying to shovel ten gallons of manure in to a five gallon pail ...

FL270
 

M.L

Well-Known Member
It seems that the traffic has increased. And there is a flow over into MDW from CGX. I take the Orange Line from home to school and looking at Midway's crossing runways the planes seem to be closer and closer together, and even sometimes airplanes aren't sitting at gates.
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

"We are beginning to see that we are losing our peaks and valleys [in the flow of arrivals and departures]. It's becoming all peaks," Molinaro said.


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Caution: picky English degree speaking

How can you have all peaks? Wouldn't that be a plateau? By definition, if there are peaks, there must also be valleys, right?
 
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