Odds and Ends: Dual sourcing; FAA overflight bans; Super Constellation

Dual sourcing: There is always much angst in Seattle among the labor groups and Washington State’s elected officials when Boeing decides to put work outside the state. Much of this angst is because Boeing uses this as a sledgehammer to beat up unions for concessions and the state for tax breaks.

But dual sourcing isn’t really a bad thing. Pratt & Whitney is dual sourcing to avoid a single point of failure, as this article explains. Boeing, of course, has made the same point but it always gets submerged by its heavier-handed tactics. We’ve often made the point that if Boeing wants to set up assembly lines elsewhere, why not use the Natural Disaster Risk Diversion as the reason–and nobody could argue the point (well, they could, but it is a valid concern).

FAA overflights: It’s big news here in the USA, likely far less so in the rest of the world: the racial unrest in the small Missouri town of Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, where an unarmed 18-year African-American male was shot six times by a white policeman. Police say the young man attacked a police office. Witnesses say he had his hands up to comply with the officer’s orders. A grand jury will attempt to sort out facts. In the meantime, demonstrations–some peaceful, some not, some with looting–have turned Ferguson into an armed camp of police looking like the Army, in Humvees, battle gear and automatic weapons.

The US Federal Aviation Administration quickly instituted a low-level flight ban over Ferguson.

Then yesterday, we received a call from the Voice of America asking us to comment on the FAA issuing a flight ban over Syria, a war zone, where combat has been underway for three years.

This comes, of course, after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.

Over the decades, the FAA has been criticized as being a “tombstone” agency: wait until people die before implementing a rule to save lives. While mostly hyperbole, the characterization, like most cliches, is rooted in basis of fact.

When VOA called, we were, to be frank, gobsmacked the FAA hadn’t previously banned Syrian overflights. Prior to Ukraine, can anyone think of any place on earth where there was a more dangerous combat zone where overflights might not be a good idea?

We’re loath to encourage a hack Congress to do much of anything these days, but someone ought to be asking some serious questions of the FAA.

Flying the Super Connie: Flight Global has this interesting interview with the captain of the Breitling Super Constellation:



9 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Dual sourcing; FAA overflight bans; Super Constellation

  1. Agreed, the do-nothing (hack) Senate won’t take action on anything until a change of power happens. And the executive branch (whose appointee runs the FAA, and State of course on a daily basis) is the most reactionary in the world, unless of course “their” people are involved; case in point being Ferguson. I haven’t heard from Huerta much but I think the FAA’s administration (that is a bit redundant?) has been in some turmoil since Babbitt was arrested on a DUI a year or so ago (irony alert; Babbitt now works as a VP for labor cost reductions for Southwest Airlines).

    Still, there’s been a longstanding notice to airmen not to fly over Syria, just not an outright ban. I doubt it’s been flown over too much for the past couple of years.

    • The House of Oil & Defense Company Representatives is no better than the Senate. Your guy started 2 wars and tanked the economy and installed a Supreme Court that believes the rights of Corporations are greater than the rights of Humans. Your religious and tea party fanatics in the House have done everything they could for the last 6 years to keep it tanked because they can’t stand the idea of a black man in the white house.

      hey, how about we keep the rampant political diatribes and racism (“their people”) out of our aviation forum?

      none of what you said has anything to do with the fact that the FAA has been a “Policy by Tombstone”, industry controlled “regulatory agency” for 50+ years and isn’t going to change any time soon. when the regulated write the regulations, you get what you pay for.

      I was flabbergasted to learn when MH17 went down that the ICAO had not instituted a no-fly over the Ukraine when it had been well publicized that they were shooting down large (military) aircraft for weeks prior to MH17.

      I was equally flabbergasted that any airline, regardless of ICAO or FAA action would be stupid and criminally negligent enough to allow their aircraft to overfly an active combat zone where Anti Aircraft systems were in active use.

      further flabbergasted that the insurance companies of said airlines wouldn’t make clear to them that they were not going to cover them if they flew over an active combat zone.

      • BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised is Scott ban-hammered me for responding to the previous poster the way I did.

        Scott, if you want to ban-hammer me, that’s all right, I understand. or just delete both of our posts and make a note that blatant irrelevant political/racist posts will not be tolerated.

  2. Pingback: “…someone ought to be asking some serious questions of the FAA” | Aviation Impact Reform

  3. It’s big news all over the world. The biggest shock appears to be that the Ferguson police force looks more like Blackwater in Iraq than small-town coppers. I guess there is no budget shortage in Ferguson if they can afford to buy this much military hardware.

  4. The military equipment for law enforcement (and other outfits) comes courtesy of a US government program to distribute surplus equipment. There is little cost involved to the participating agencies, hence a desire to grab “free stuff.”