Hurricanes: how is ATC handled in areas with them?

HonuPineapple

New Member
Maybe some of you who do ATC in hurricane locations could give me some info that I've been wondering about lately.

A little background: I lived in pre-Katrina New Orleans, but haven't gone back since the storm. I've been homesick for NOLA lately and want to move back, but my family down there still struggles a bit. It may not be the time to move back yet, but it's getting there. I am interested in several geographic preferences (when the time comes) in New Orleans and Florida, which got me thinking about the storms and what would happen on-the-job if a bad one comes.

If a city evacuates, do the ATC staff stay on or get to evacuate? My guess is that some stay, since after a bad storm you need air transport into the city and it may be impossible for controllers to get back into the city (my family wasn't allowed back into New Orleans for weeks and then it was only for a few hours, and the area was not suitable to live in anyway). Is this the case? If some controllers do in fact stay, what does the local FAA and ATC do to keep them safe at the facility and at home?

Thanks for answering. I know it's a heavy topic, but I've been wondering about it a lot. I really want to go back to NOLA, but don't know when to do it. My family there wants out, but with the levees still not really stable, the flood insurance is too high for anyone to buy their house. Things for them are OK but not normal, but I think I could deal with that ... but I want to know if I do have to move back that if another bad storm comes, that the FAA would be on my side and not fire me or something if I evacuate or force me to stay for a really bad storm without some sort of protection.

Thoughts?
 

On_welfare

New Member
Didn't you just answer all of your own questions?!?!:confused: Note to self...... Never fly into NOLA when he's on duty!:crazy:
 

HonuPineapple

New Member
My questions are what are the procedures during a hurricane, and what does the FAA/ATC do if you have to stick around. I didn't answer these myself anywhere in my first post, but I did speculate about an answer.

I think these are valid and important things to know before I decide whether I want to move back or not.

You are being rude and it's absolutely uncalled for. Don't forget that you're dealing with actual people on these forums. You wouldn't say that to someone in person (unless you have some sort of disorder) and it's just as shameful to say that online.

 

gourgi18

New Member
Good questions. I hope someone answers you seriously if they know. I'm curious about it as well as there is no natural disaster that freaks me out as bad as a hurricane and I have a great attraction to NOLA. I would think there would be procedures in place as the airport closes before the storm hits. Could probably have another tower or center handle the radar approach and have tower controllers on the last takeoff/first landing at the airport.
 

Barty

Well-Known Member
Every TRACON facility in the country can have its positions taken over by the center that surrounds its airspace. In the cases of continuously running facilities, this of course is only done in the event of an emergency or equipment failure, but in some facilities that don't run 24/7, the center often assumes the duties of the local TRACON once it has closed for the evening, although the airspace usually reverts to Class E, relieving pilots of the need to contact ATC to enter the airspace. Services are still provided to aircraft on IFR flight plans or VFR flight following.

It goes without saying that in the event of a weather emergency that the tower would go unmanned. No pilot in their right mind would try to land or take off there anyway.

I would have to imagine that there is some redundancy between centers as well. Not only for the event of natural disasters, but also in the event of a "smoking hole", if you catch my drift.
 

On_welfare

New Member
You wouldn't say that to someone in person (unless you have some sort of disorder) and it's just as shameful to say that online.
I missed the part where what I said was rude. Lighten up! I'm sorry I hurt your little feelings. Somebody telling you the procedure of how a hurricane is handled isn't all too relevant and shouldn't be a decision maker as to where you move. That said, pm me your address and I'll tell you the same thing to your face if I'm ever in your neighborhood. Have a nice day!:rawk:
 

HonuPineapple

New Member
Note to self...... Never fly into NOLA when he's on duty!:crazy: ... Lighten up! I'm sorry I hurt your little feelings.
I missed the part where what I said was rude
Somebody telling you the procedure of how a hurricane is handled isn't all too relevant and shouldn't be a decision maker as to where you move.
I want to know if I could be fired if I want to evacuate.

I want to know what they do to protect employees if they have to stay.

This is entirely relevant information when deciding whether to take a job there. I want a life-long career; I don't want to have to worry about getting the boot if I feel like it would be necessary to leave the city. So I need to figure out if that's a risk before I put myself in a situation where it could happen.
 

HonuPineapple

New Member
It goes without saying that in the event of a weather emergency that the tower would go unmanned. No pilot in their right mind would try to land or take off there anyway.
Thanks for the info.

I figured this is the case for the emergency, but what I'm not sure about is if they keep a tower crew in the city during the storm for after a hurricane passes. So that they can put people right back into the tower to control flights in that may have emergency supplies or the like.

I could picture something like that happening, but I have no idea if it does or not. It can be hard to get back in after a storm, but the ATCers would be an important part of emergency assistance. So I thought maybe some have to weather the storm...if they do, I wondered if they'd have to do it at home, near the facility somewhere, or something like that.

Like this was a DOT press release or whatnot, talking about what ATC was doing, but not about where they got the people to do it from:

September 3, 2005
LARGEST AIRLIFT IN U.S. HISTORY TO GET OVER 10,000 PEOPLE OUT OF NEW ORLEANS BY END OF TODAY By the end of today over 10,000 people will be flown out of New Orleans as part of the largest ever airlift on U.S. soil, Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced. Nearly 40 commercial and military aircraft have been involved in the round-the-clock airlift from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, bringing in supplies and taking people out, Mineta added.
“Starting virtually from scratch, we’ve worked to put together the largest air lift on U.S. soil in history to get supplies in and take people out of New Orleans,” said Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. “We are going to keep at this for as long as necessary to make sure we get as many people safely out of New Orleans by air as possible.”

Department of Transportation personnel, including air traffic controllers and technicians, have been working non-stop since Hurricane Katrina passed through New Orleans to put in place temporary air traffic control equipment, a tower, generators, fuel, mobile satellite-based communications, and runway, taxiway and ramp lighting to support relief and rescue operations.
Thanks to their efforts, two major runways are now open to air traffic and additional ramp and taxiways have been cleared, Mineta noted. The Secretary noted that the airlift will continue for as long as needed and that the Department would commit every available resource to ensure success.
The airlift, know as Operation Air Care, is being made possible with the support of other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. and foreign commercial airlines, and the men and women of the New Orleans International Airport.
 

HonuPineapple

New Member
Good questions. I hope someone answers you seriously if they know. I'm curious about it as well as there is no natural disaster that freaks me out as bad as a hurricane and I have a great attraction to NOLA.
It's an amazing place to live. I don't think any other place in America has a culture so rich and varied, except maybe somewhere like Hawaii. You are always close to amazing food, music, and interesting people. Even when you take out the more tacky touristy-type things, the city is still fascinating. I lived out at Tulane, a half hour from the famous French Quarter and past the beautiful garden district. It's more like a sprawling suburb there. You've never seen such big oak trees in your life!

Or at least it was. I haven't been back. But it seems worth the risk to try it again as long as I know the job would be stable.
 

scongdon

Well-Known Member
It's an amazing place to live. I don't think any other place in America has a culture so rich and varied, except maybe somewhere like Hawaii. You are always close to amazing food, music, and interesting people. Even when you take out the more tacky touristy-type things, the city is still fascinating. I lived out at Tulane, a half hour from the famous French Quarter and past the beautiful garden district. It's more like a sprawling suburb there. You've never seen such big oak trees in your life!

Or at least it was. I haven't been back. But it seems worth the risk to try it again as long as I know the job would be stable.
I live in the country's arm pit.
I've been within 15 miles of the ocean, but never seen it.
Our idea of culture is a radio station that plays country songs from the 80's.

... You're killing me here, lady.

(Waits patiently for the "should've joined the military" crowd) :D
 
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