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: