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October 31, 2013


I have been following the FAA upgrade intermittently for a while now. I know the airlines have been complaining about the expense involved and no return on their investment yet. SFO needs a new runway first or reducing headway will not really help them when the planes still have to line up to land.

Ingineer--As you well know, there are difficulties in attempting to add a long runway(s) to any of the three international airports in the Bay Area. Mostly, while I was working there, I used San Jose - faster access to/from Sunnyvale. However, since leaving there in 1990, I've used only SFO and OAK for trips to do some birding or to work a disaster response.

They had a plan to build a new runway for SFO out in the bay so they would have enough separation to operate safely in foggy conditions, but the hippies voted it down. SFO is the most weather delayed airport in the nation and it never snows so that says they have a problem. OAK is a decent airport, but the puddle jumper from my town only goes to SFO.

Ingineer--I've forgotten the minimum separation between runways to allow simultaneous ILS operations; but, it's a problem at many airports. As to SFO's ontime record: Hooboy! If we could only suck up the fog. Too bad you can't use SJC. I recall that it was not as prone to fogging in. (But then, I don't recall having problems getting into/out of the Bay Area.)

What if, in addition to all the glitches, this system was under relentless political attack?
And what is this about hippies. Like my sister, I guess, and others who are dedicated to preserving what's left of the Bay Area wetlands.

Hattie--This system (NextGen) has been under relentless political attack. It just isn't as high-profile as some other programs. This comment is from
September 2, 2009 11:16 AM, By Marion C. Blakey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association:

"There is widespread agreement that NextGen is a game-changer when it comes to air travel. It will help us meet environmental goals and improve our economic health, while increasing airspace capacity by two- or three-fold. But, there are a number of hurdles to overcome before NextGen is implemented, and funding is chief among them.

"First, The FAA has been operating under a series of continuing resolutions and extensions since 2007. Failure to have a permanent spending bill has had a domino effect as critical NextGen projects are delayed under funding extensions.

"Second, deployment of such a massive project requires sustained government commitment. To fully fund FAA and the capital expenditures necessary for NextGen, we believe a more significant contribution from the Treasury’s General Fund in excess of 25 percent is needed. General taxpayer support is appropriate for our national airspace system because all Americans benefit in one way or another from services FAA provides."

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