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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com March 25, 2011 at 9:14 am 1,286 7 Comments

Tax Rate Hearing Sparsely Attended — Compared to the three-hour, 75-speaker bonanza that was the March 22 budget hearing, last night’s County Board tax rate hearing was an intimate, low-key affair. The board heard a half hour of testimony from two polar opposite sides: those who want the tax rate lowered and those who want to see the tax rate raised. [Sun Gazette]

DCA Controller Suspended — An air traffic controller suspected of snoozing on the job while two planes landed has been suspended by the Federal Aviation Administration. While some are calling the incident a major safety failure, one retired pilot says the air safety system worked as intended when a regional air traffic controller stepped in to guide the planes. [Christian Science Monitor]

Wakefield High School Construction Approved — The school board approved the final design of a new, $115 million Wakefield High School last night. Construction on the new school is expected to begin in July. The school is designed to house up to 1,622 students, with provisions for increasing capacity beyond 2,000 students, if necessary. The current Wakefield High School, which was built in the 1950s, has a capacity of 1,797 and a projected 2012 enrollment of 1,356. [Sun Gazette]

  • local

    Actually, the planes guided themselves in by broadcasting their positions by radio to other planes, just as they do at the 95% or so of airfields in the US that have no air traffic control at all.

    • Sully

      “Broadcasting their position” to other planes has absolutely no effect on how they navigate to the runway. They followed published procedures for arrival and approach, communicated with the ground or listened to ATIS to determine the active runway, and either flew a precision approach on autopilot or a visual approach, all under guidance from regional ATC.

      Also, any commercial flight operating under 14 CFR Part 121, as these no doubt were, is going to be under air traffic control during its entire flight.

      • local

        Yes, but they still broadcast their position. I wasn’t talking about navigation, but rather the procedure they used, in the absence of a controller, to coordinate with other aircraft in the air.

        You obviously know how they do it – my point was, as you confirm, that they didn’t need a controller to “guide them in.” That’s all.

  • SoArlRes

    Hooray! Hope the new Wakefield looks as good as the new W&L. That place really draws a crowd for after-school uses (track, pool, etc.).

  • I agree SArliRes –

    I’m happy too – that school needs major renovations. Will be a great thing for home owners in S Arl like me.

    About the 2 airplanes that landed at National – I’m just happy and greatful the pilots are so experienced that they can take care of themselves under unusual circumstances. Regardless of the existence or nonexistence of a control tower.

    • labor rocks

      Both pilots are represented by unions by the way.

  • Hank

    Pilots only join unions so they have something to complain about between takeoffs and landings.

    @ Lauren – right on about the highly trained. As Part 121 operators they also have very restrictive operations manuals they have to abide by. Nothing unusual about these circumstances though. Control towers close all the time. When you call and get no response you assume the tower is closed, land the airplane, and let your dispatcher close the IFR flight plan.

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