Aviation Safety

Randy Kuhl brought the chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee, Rep. John Mica, to the 29th yesterday to tour the Rochester and Corning/Elmira airports. Kuhl is the vice-chairman of that committee.

One of the issues discussed was consolidation of controller jobs at airports, through the use of improved software. This will reduce costs at smaller airports. What wasn't discussed was the flip side of that issue, which might have contributed to the deaths of 48 people in August in Lexington, KY. In that case, the single controller on duty cleared a Delta Express commuter jet for the correct runway and then did some paperwork. He didn't see the plane line up on the wrong runway, which was too short. Another set of eyes in the control tower might have made a life-saving difference that day.

I'd rather pay for a few extra controllers who might avert disasters like this, and lay off a bunch of security screeners. The current airport security screening process is mostly theater, and it needs to be re-designed.