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Dreadnought
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Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:56 am

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...-to-make-new-safety-rules-pay.html

Quote:
More than a decade has passed since the last major-airline accident on U.S. soil. That’s great news for aviation companies and their passengers

Sounds like great news, right? But...

Quote:
-- and a complication for rule makers trying to improve flight safety.

The benefits of aviation rules are calculated primarily on how many deaths they may prevent, so the safest decade in modern airline history is making it harder to justify the cost of new requirements.

“If anyone wants to advance safety through regulation, it can’t be done without further loss of life,” said William Voss, chief executive officer of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Flight Safety Foundation.

It's been more than 10 years since the last major airliner crash in the US (keep fingers crossed), and in spite of ever increasing record numbers of flights in the air, accident rates are at such low rates that the FAA are worried that there is not enough justification for more regulations that they draft every day.

If there ever was a good example of the dangers of the bureaucratic mindset, I don't know what is.

Here is a flippant idea... what if federal regulators decide to sabotage a plane, watch it go down, and gleefully renew their efforts to regulate the hell out of everything? Oh wait - they already tried that. It was called "Fast and Furious", wasn't it? CBS disclosed how the ATF hoped that the deaths caused by the lost guns could be used to increase gun control regulations.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_16...make-the-case-for-gun-regulations/

Quote:
ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF's Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

"Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."


[Edited 2012-06-27 19:59:16]
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texan
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:13 am

Your criticism is off base. Here's the thrust:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
The benefits of aviation rules are calculated primarily on how many deaths they may prevent, so the safest decade in modern airline history is making it harder to justify the cost of new requirements.

As new technologies/procedures come online, the regulators need to be able to prescribe how and when those technologies/procedures can be used. Otherwise, if the regs and rules don't mention them, those new things can't be used. The focus on the cost of the rulemaking versus how many lives it saves often misses the point: new rules and regs can be useful (they can be useless, too) but by focusing on only one area, it prevents both bad and good rules and regs from going forward. And to remove useless rules and regs is almost as difficult!

So calm down. Nobody wants more disasters. What regulators (usually) want is to be able to get common sense rules and regs that promote new technology and procedures passed so that the industry can use them.

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ltbewr
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:56 am

You still have major crashes in other partt of the worlde and serious incidents even within the USA that still need consideration of improved regulations here and throughout the world.
 
StarAC17
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:05 am

Quote:
The last U.S. accident involving a large jetliner was in November 2001, and only 140 airline passengers have been killed since 2002. Most recently, 45 of those died in February 2009 when a commuter plane operated by Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (PNCLQ)’s Colgan Air crashed near Buffalo, New York. That accident raised pilot-fatigue concerns and prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to overhaul decades-old work rules.

This wasn't a big loss of life but the cause of this crash is a big cause for concern. If the FAA doesn't mandate proper rest periods for pilots then this is a ticking bomb when potentially a wide body faces the same fate.
The fact that passenger carriers have different regulations that cargo carriers is plain crap as they are operating the same piece of equipment. On land a truck and bus driver have similar rest requirements, why not the same in the air.

Also just because there have been no crashes that doesn't mean there haven't been close calls where the NTSB has been called in to investigate, we just don't know about it. Maybe the regulations are sufficient in the present time so keep them that way unless it warrants a change.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Here is a flippant idea... what if federal regulators decide to sabotage a plane, watch it go down, and gleefully renew their efforts to regulate the hell out of everything? Oh wait - they already tried that. It was called "Fast and Furious", wasn't it? CBS disclosed how the ATF hoped that the deaths caused by the lost guns could be used to increase gun control regulations.

How are regulators going to sabotage a plane to make it crash without someone blowing the whistle??

With Fast and Furious they allegedly sold guns to trace them and that is apples and oranges, from sabotaging an airliner that is not in government hands.

Quoting texan (Reply 1):
As new technologies/procedures come online, the regulators need to be able to prescribe how and when those technologies/procedures can be used. Otherwise, if the regs and rules don't mention them, those new things can't be used.

  

We do not allow new pharmaceuticals on the market without testing, why should this be any different with new places and airline related infrastructure.

Quoting texan (Reply 1):
The focus on the cost of the rulemaking versus how many lives it saves often misses the point: new rules and regs can be useful (they can be useless, too) but by focusing on only one area, it prevents both bad and good rules and regs from going forward. And to remove useless rules and regs is almost as difficult!

Call me just as cynical but on the other side, airlines probably want regulations stripped away because it saves them money and if an accident happens they will be cleared of breaking regulations (because technically they didn't) and we will determine that the regulation was insufficient and the cycle begins again.
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Maverick623
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:18 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
It's been more than 10 years since the last major airliner crash in the US

It has been 10 years since the last fatal mainline "crash".

Colgan 3407 (fatal), Continental 1404 (crash, nonfatal), and just a few months ago an ExpressJet EMB145 hit the approach lights at DEN.

EDIT: Should have said "mainline crash that killed passengers". WN1248 overran the runway in ORD in 2005 and killed a 6 year-old boy in a car that got hit.

[Edited 2012-06-27 21:27:45]

[Edited 2012-06-27 21:29:41]
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:19 am

And I inadvertently clicked on a fast and furious thread. Wow, speechless.

The premise of this thread is absolutely absurd. Everyone knows far too often it takes a horrific event that could have been completely preventable to bring about the change that should have been there in the first place. Due to lack of political will, human nature, ease, or many other things.

It's called being proactive, and I guess it's apparently a sin in the conservative mind.

Speechless.

[Edited 2012-06-27 21:25:01]
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zippyjet
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:27 am

Leave it to our government. I guess they ran out of occasions to make three day paid weekends at our expense. Thank God about aviation safety recently. If the government ever had the flying Amtrak this would change. Let us hope this never happens!
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:29 am

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
Leave it to our government. I guess they ran out of occasions to make three day paid weekends at our expense. Thank God about aviation safety recently. If the government ever had the flying Amtrak this would change. Let us hope this never happens!

Yes, instead of thanking all the competent employees on the ground or in the air, and effective oversight by the evil government bureaucracies with the audacity to desire to make air travel an extremely safe endeavor, let's just thank God.

Ok.
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:33 am

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 7):

Of course we should take much of the credit and give ourselves a pat on the back.
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StarAC17
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:40 am

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
If the government ever had the flying Amtrak this would change. Let us hope this never happens!

What is wrong with Amtrak in terms of safety on the rails??
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:59 am

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 9):
What is wrong with Amtrak in terms of safety on the rails??

They've had a lot of safety issues in it's existence. They have derailments and other things. A lot of it is due to letting the rail infrastructure decay in many areas.
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Mir
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:18 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
It's been more than 10 years since the last major airliner crash in the US (keep fingers crossed), and in spite of ever increasing record numbers of flights in the air, accident rates are at such low rates that the FAA are worried that there is not enough justification for more regulations that they draft every day.

Their concern is perfectly understandable. Put yourself in the position of the FAA - you see reports of problems that could very well lead to accidents (for every accident due to a particular cause, there are lots of near-accidents due to that cause), you want to address them, but you can't do anything because the airlines will say that there's nothing wrong and it'll cost them too much money. We've seen how hard it's been to get new rest rules in place, and those have been badly needed for years. And still the airlines fought tooth and nail against them.

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 10):
A lot of it is due to letting the rail infrastructure decay in many areas.

Which, since they don't own their own infrastructure outside of the northeast, you can't really hold against Amtrak.

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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:18 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):

It's been more than 10 years since the last major airliner crash in the US (keep fingers crossed), and in spite of ever increasing record numbers of flights in the air, accident rates are at such low rates that the FAA are worried that there is not enough justification for more regulations that they draft every day.
Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
It's been more than 10 years since the last major airliner crash in the US (keep fingers crossed), and in spite of ever increasing record numbers of flights in the air, accident rates are at such low rates that the FAA are worried that there is not enough justification for more regulations that they draft every day.

So the 50 people that died in 2006 at LEX when a Comair CRJ took off on the wrong runway isn't considered a major crash? Or the 50 that died on the Continental Express Dash 8?
 
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:29 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):

Don't forget OH 191 in LEX
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:37 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If there ever was a good example of the dangers of the bureaucratic mindset, I don't know what is.

While the headline talks about federal bureaucrats - I don't see anything in the article that actually talks about federal bureaucrats being concerned.

As the article says - while it has been a decade since the crash of a large jetliner - there have still been 140 airline passengers killed in crashes of several regional airliners.

There are also several deaths each year from general aviation crashes. The NTSB is fully and actively involved in several aircraft crash investigations which occurred outside the US. Along with their other jobs of railroad, highway, shipping, pipeline and other responsibilities

The article only seems to be a slow news day puff-piece against the FAA proposal to make cargo pilots meet the same rest and off-duty time requirements as airline pilots.

The persons I see quoted are all from the side of the issue opposed to equal enforcement of the rules.
 
StarAC17
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:29 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
Quoting zippyjet (Reply 10):
A lot of it is due to letting the rail infrastructure decay in many areas.

Which, since they don't own their own infrastructure outside of the northeast, you can't really hold against Amtrak.

  

The same applies if there is an engine failure of a plane because of runway debris or if the ATC is negligent and a mid air collision occurs. Those incidents aren't the fault of the airline.

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
Their concern is perfectly understandable. Put yourself in the position of the FAA - you see reports of problems that could very well lead to accidents (for every accident due to a particular cause, there are lots of near-accidents due to that cause), you want to address them, but you can't do anything because the airlines will say that there's nothing wrong and it'll cost them too much money. We've seen how hard it's been to get new rest rules in place, and those have been badly needed for years. And still the airlines fought tooth and nail against them.

Regulating a seating configuration, bag fess, ticket pricing transparency etc. we can do without, and let the airlines make their own decision on that.

But when it comes to safety follow CASA's model here in Australia. They set the rules and if airlines don't follow them their air worthiness certificate is suspended like what they did with Tiger last year. Regulating bodies are not supposed to make the lives who they are regulating easier they are supposed to make sure that they are followed.

As a civil engineer I can't design a building or a road however I see fit, I have to follow a minimum code to get the design approved and built. If I do it wrong and something fails I lose my license to practice and deal with whatever litigation from that failure, possibly jail time.

Airlines should be following the regulations when it comes to maintenance and rest periods to keep the skies safe. I think we have been spoiled with cheap fares for too long and have to realize that flying is an expensive operation.

[Edited 2012-06-28 01:31:20]
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 10):
A lot of it is due to letting the rail infrastructure decay in many areas.
Quoting Mir (Reply 11):

Which, since they don't own their own infrastructure outside of the northeast, you can't really hold against Amtrak.

Exactly, Mir. Outside of the NEC, the rail infrastructure is owned by the freight railways. Aside from that, how many Amtrak derailments can be placed squarely on equipment/operations? When the Piedmont derailed in Burlington, NC a few years ago it was some idjit trucker didn't read the posted warning signs that lowboy trailers couldn't cross at that particular crossing. His lowboy got hung up on the tracks and shortly thereafter the Piedmont collided with it. Locomotive catches on fire, burns, and ends up getting written off. That's on Amtrak/NCDOT how? I'd wager the majority of Amtrak's incidents are caused by factors other than operational safety/equipment - idiot drivers trying to play beat the train, suicide attempts, rail maintenance on non-NEC trackage, etc.
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StarAC17
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:17 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 16):
idiot drivers trying to play beat the train, suicide attempts, rail maintenance on non-NEC trackage, etc.

Beat the train is not just a factor for drivers, there are a lot of pedestrian traffic that tries to beat the train that they need to catch at least in Melbourne.

Also there are people that are textings and listening to their Ipods that get in the way of trains all the time here. I pity the driver who has to live with the fact that he just couldn't stop in time and takes a life.  .

Suicide attempts are another factor in a lot of crossing accidents.
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:40 pm

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 5):
a sin in the conservative mind.

Oh give it a rest. Just because one person who may be conservative thinks one thing doesn't mean all of them do. You know that just as well as everybody else and know you shouldn't make such broad, sweeping statements like that.

 
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:26 pm

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 5):
The premise of this thread is absolutely absurd. Everyone knows far too often it takes a horrific event that could have been completely preventable to bring about the change that should have been there in the first place. Due to lack of political will, human nature, ease, or many other things.

It's called being proactive, and I guess it's apparently a sin in the conservative mind.

First of all, nobody is advocating that there should be no regulations on airlines or anything else. Back in the early days of widespread airline travel (and crash rates a hundred times what they are now), those regulations were critical in getting the industry to get their acts together and offer safe transportation. Without those regs, we'd probably be losing a 100+ seat airliner every week.

Let's put it simply. The question is related to the law of diminishing returns. Let's say that the aviation industry was completely and utterly deregulated, and there were airliner-related craters all over the landscape. A new regulatory body is created, the FAA, and they start pumping out regulations. The industry screams, but submits.

The first 100 pages of regulations, once implemented, result in a 50% drop in the accident rate. These were the obvious regulations, like requiring regular maintenance and not letting a pilot fly after downing a fifth of JD.

The second 100 pages results in a 20% drop (on the original base).

The third 100 pages results in a 10% drop.

As you go on, the regulations become more and more involved with minutia with smaller and smaller results. Each hundred pages have similar compliance costs, both on the part of industry and on the part of the government to enforce.

At a certain point, each new page of regulations ends up costing money, but results in no measurable benefit. All you do is add cost, and are not making people any safer that statisticians can detect. Now a government bureaucracy has no problem with that - it's not their money and it's a power trip for them. But we do - we have to pay the bills, either through taxes or higher airfares.

This is oversimplified of course, but the principle is there. The FAA is governed by corporate mentality like anything else - growth is good. Their managers like it when the FAA needs more employees, more office space, bigger budgets. To justify that growth they need to churn out more and more rules, and are not at all concerned about maybe getting rid of some which are out of date, which would alleviate the cost of the new ones.
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Mir
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:21 pm

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 15):
Regulating a seating configuration, bag fess, ticket pricing transparency etc. we can do without, and let the airlines make their own decision on that.

The FAA doesn't regulate those. The DOT (which is above the FAA on the food chain) does - the FAA just deals with operational safety and regulations.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):
All you do is add cost, and are not making people any safer that statisticians can detect.

But therein lies the "problem" of too few accidents (I use quotes because it's not really a problem, but it does present challenges for those trying to make the industry even safer). It's gotten to the point where accident statistics are useless, because they happen so rarely that any single one alters the numbers dramatically. So you have to start looking at incidents and occurrences, which are far more numerous and can point to accidents about to happen. But the public doesn't see those, so it makes it a tough sell. It's also a tough sell because you generally can't point to a regulation and say "this regulation prevented X number of accidents last year" - proving a negative is very difficult.

But I can guarantee that if we had an accident tomorrow and the investigation pointed out numerous reports of similar things happening that, for one reason or another, didn't result in accidents, the regulators at the FAA would be pilloried for not doing anything. We'd hear about how the FAA is only be reactive about safety, how they wait for someone to die before they do anything, etc. So there's really no winning for them.

-Mir
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seb146
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:30 pm

The original post has two completely different topics and should be broken up as such.

Topic 1: Air safety. Since there has been no major accidents in 10 years, what new regulations need to be put in place? Now is the time that bureaucrats are dotting I's and crossing T's, so to speak. What's wrong with that? Without bureaucrats, we would not have ETOPS. Imagine how many lives would have been lost on all those LAX-SYD flights using DC-9-10 or 737-200. Bureaucrats also decided that 767 and 777 are exempt. Evil bureaucrats.

Topic 2: Gun shops selling multiple "long guns" to one person. Seems like a good idea. That does not restrict private citizens from owning "long guns" just from shops selling 100 to one person. Why any one person needs more than one is beyond me, but, they have their reasons. It just seems to me that if one shop sells 100 long guns to one person, they are easily lost. F&F proves that. It says nothing about limiting gun ownership. Non issue for a different thread.
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:17 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):
Let's put it simply. The question is related to the law of diminishing returns.

You hit it squarely here...

One other thing that hasn't come up in this thread is the growth of programs such as the IOSA registry, FOQA, SMS, etc. The science and processes behind safety program management is so mature now, from teh training of crews to hard systems.

Aviation safety is a wonderful success story in our lifetimes and should be rightfully hailed as an accomplishment for many parties.
 
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:34 pm

Quoting slider (Reply 22):
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):
Let's put it simply. The question is related to the law of diminishing returns.

You hit it squarely here...

But the detection of that point is debatable.

We need regualtions, and we need oversight as new products and technology come about.

Perhaps old ones should be tossed, but it is sometimes difficult to obsolete old ruled until their technology is gone.
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:16 pm

I find it funny that you claim "Federal Bureaucrats" are worried about too few crashes, but not a single federal bureaucrat was actually interviewed or said they were worried about too few crashes. So your entire claim is baseless and just filled with the opinions of some consultants and lobbyists.

I also think it's funny and sad that people are so desperate to criticize a government agency that has done it's job too well.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):
Their managers like it when the FAA needs more employees, more office space, bigger budgets.

Except the safety regulation side of the FAA is a tiny part of FAA's overall budget. The Aviation Safety Office, which is responsible for the FAA's safety regulations, accounts for less than 10% of the FAA's budget. Most of FAA's budget goes to salaries for employees and facilities/equipment repair/replacement. I'd also note that the FAA's FY13 budget request calls for 42,491 FTE's (full-time equivalents) versus 42,538 FTE's the FAA had in FY11, so FAA headcount isn't growing.

I would also note that the FAA's overall budget is basically stagnant and shows a slight shrinkage for the upcoming Fiscal Year request.
 
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:38 pm

Not enough air crashes?...no worry,...once the skies are flooded with government UAV's,...flying in anything will be threacherous. Already seen (three) in New york airspace.
 
Mir
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:12 am

Quoting slider (Reply 22):
One other thing that hasn't come up in this thread is the growth of programs such as the IOSA registry, FOQA, SMS, etc.

Which all have a cost to the operators. But they're designed to go after trends that could lead to accidents, since accidents are now so rare that waiting until one happens to make changes isn't good enough.

-Mir
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StarAC17
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:43 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 20):
The FAA doesn't regulate those. The DOT (which is above the FAA on the food chain) does - the FAA just deals with operational safety and regulations.

Fair enough and those regulations are the ones that I find more useless than anything the FAA does.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):
Let's put it simply. The question is related to the law of diminishing returns. Let's say that the aviation industry was completely and utterly deregulated, and there were airliner-related craters all over the landscape. A new regulatory body is created, the FAA, and they start pumping out regulations. The industry screams, but submits.

The first 100 pages of regulations, once implemented, result in a 50% drop in the accident rate. These were the obvious regulations, like requiring regular maintenance and not letting a pilot fly after downing a fifth of JD.

But what regulations that the FAA enforce that you don't like?

Is it the one in the original article that pilots of cargo airlines should have less rest time than those of airlines?
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RE: Too Few Air Crashes. Federal Bureaucrats Worried

Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:51 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 26):
Which all have a cost to the operators. But they're designed to go after trends that could lead to accidents, since accidents are now so rare that waiting until one happens to make changes isn't good enough.

Right. But safety is, besides a moral issue, an economic one. A pint of sweat (or dollars as it were) now saves a gallon of blood later.

I appreciate the proactive approach that aviation safety has now as opposed to reactive.

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