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View Diary: What Do You Mean My Flight Is Canceled Due To SEQUESTRATION??? (27 comments)

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  •  Wow, Big Problems with Small Tower Closures (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, eztempo, craiger, ladybug53

    I noticed the tower at Santa Monica airport on the closure list.  I assume that means that the airport would then be run in unmanned mode. That seems like a serious problem for an airport that averages over 250 takeoffs and landings a day with peak days well over 400.  The pilots I know are all very competent, but self-organizing 10 or 15 planes trying to use the same approach with another 10 trying to takeoff on the same runway seems like too much to ask, not even considering the proximity of LAX and the potential for straying into those flight paths.  Would there be some attempt to restrict traffic?

    Seems like a bad idea.

    Republican motto: " The only thing we have is fear itself."

    by lgrabowski on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:21:30 PM PST

    •  How many VFR days does Santa Monica have? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, lgrabowski, ladybug53, craiger

      There could be days where the weather won't permit ANY use of the runways whatsoever -- so not just the tower, but the whole facility shuts down.

      That could have some interesting repercussions...

      •  KSMO is used by some powerful donors (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgrabowski, ladybug53

        The weather is generally clear with great visibility, but it is "rainy season" with coastal fog days coming ... and Santa Monica's airport is a favorite of a whole lot of politically connected wallets.  Of course, many of 'em are entertainment industry Democrats, so calls to local Congresspeople aren't gonna change many votes.

        But, hey, maybe stories & rumors of $$ pouring into OFA & MoveOn.org targeting vulnerable swing Rethugs might nudge a vote or two out of Boehner's column?

      •  Not Many (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, craiger

        I'm not a pilot nor do I know all that much about aviation, but from what I can glean from checking out the reports here, it looks like only 2 days in the last 6 months have had all flights come in under IFR.  It does look like about 20% to 25% of the flights do operate under IFR, but there is no indication whether it is required by weather or not.  A good number of jets use the field and there may be rules about jets having to use IFR - I don't know.

        Republican motto: " The only thing we have is fear itself."

        by lgrabowski on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:51:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  jets usually IFR (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgrabowski

          IFR is mandatory for all flights above 18,000 feet.  Jets like to fly (way) above 18,000 because they get really lousy fuel economy at low altitudes.  And most airline flights are conducted under rules (called Part 121) that require IFR handling at all times.  So practically speaking, most jets are IFR most of the time.

          "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

          by craiger on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:51:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  ATCT not required for an IFR departure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgrabowski, cynndara

        LAX is still going to be open, and SoCal TRACON will still be herding traffic in the air.

        The way this works is the same way it works at night when the tower is closed.  The pilot calls up a flight service station and requests his IFR clearance over the phone.  He's told that he is released at a certain time, and clearance void if not off by a time about 10 minutes later.  Take off IFR, and call the TRACON in the air.

        Of course it's not the most efficient way to handle congested traffic, so there might be long waits for the clearance time, and effectively metering of the traffic based on how long people are willing to wait.

        The closest historical precedent would be back when Reagan fired all the PATCO controllers.

        "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

        by craiger on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:41:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          craiger

          It's always nice when somebody who really knows what they are talking about shows up on a thread.

          Since it seems like you might know, if the tower were to be closed, how would VFR traffic work at the airport?  Would it actually be like a crop-duster strip where the pilots work it out among themselves about approach and takeoff priorities?  That seems a little crazy for an airport with traffic of KSMO not to mention the interesting mix of fast jets and pokey little singe-engine two-seaters.

          Republican motto: " The only thing we have is fear itself."

          by lgrabowski on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:49:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's exactly right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgrabowski

            On the way out the door, SMO controllers will record an ATIS (continuous loop radio transmission of airport conditions) stating that the tower is closed, all pilots to report intentions on whatever frequency.

            At that point it's totally up to pilots whether they want to take off or land east or west. Basic rules give right of way to landing aircraft over departing. Still it's up to everyone flying to see and be seen, and to negotiate their own sequence.

            My own airport does a level of traffic comparable to Van Nuys, so we are not on the hit list. But I've reviewed the list and there are places I would not want to be at a busy time without the ATCT running the show.

            "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

            by craiger on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:13:59 PM PST

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            •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

              In that case I want to give thanks for the apparent competence of all the pilots I've known, but I'll also give thanks that I no longer live close to that airport and my friends who flew out of there have moved on.

              Republican motto: " The only thing we have is fear itself."

              by lgrabowski on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:44:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And BTW (0+ / 0-)

            You seem to know enough about flying to ask some really good questions. You would make a great student pilot. :-)

            "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

            by craiger on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:29:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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