Tag Archives: Hank Krakowski

Hank Krakowski: “We have included controllers in all phases of NextGen so far.”

The FAA’s Hank Krawkowski testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Security today, and summarized the last year’s worth of movement on ATC issues as well as the development of NextGen planning. One of the more interesting portions of Krakowski’s prepared remarks came at the very end, where he specifically addressed the labor dispute between the FAA and the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers:

I know that this Committee has always been interested in how FAA has interacted with our labor unions, and I would like to address that briefly. In his confirmation hearing before this Committee, Secretary LaHood made it very clear that resolving labor disputes was one of his top priorities for the FAA, and that he was seeking to fill the FAA Administrator position with someone who had the people skills to resolve our outstanding issues with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). As someone who has sat on both sides of the labor debate, I fully support the Secretary’s priority on this.

Our controllers, indeed, our entire workforce, are our most valuable assets in ensuring the safety of the traveling public. As such, we have included controllers in all phases of NextGen so far. Controller input has come from individual controllers who have been invited to participate in NextGen development, though they were not participating as official NATCA representatives. NATCA does have a seat on the NextGen Management Board, the governance structure that we originally put in place as our framework for achieving NextGen. I look forward to moving ahead towards a resolution of our differences. These have been challenging times for us, and I want to commend all the hard work that has occurred on both sides.

The full transcript is available here.


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Unmanned Aircraft Systems get boost in North Dakota

From the Grand Forks (ND) Herald:

Opening more North Dakota airspace to unmanned aircraft will now be a priority for the Federal Aviation Administration, one of the agency’s top officials said Monday in Grand Forks.

By summer 2010, the agency should have a solution in place, said Hank Krakowski, the chief operating officer in charge of air traffic control.
He was accompanied by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Gov. John Hoeven, who convened a meeting of key government and military leaders at UND to talk about the airspace issue.
[..] Asked if, after 2010, unmanned aircraft would have the same freedom as manned aircraft, Krakowski was cautious. “We want (unmanned aerial vehicles) to be able to do their missions.”

[..] Last week, Dorgan became the chairman of the commerce subcommittee on aviation, the Senate body where all legislation pertaining to the FAA starts.

This was the jackpot for the local effort to turn Grand Forks into a center for unmanned aircraft operations and research, according to a business leader involved.

Dorgan said he’s particularly interested in modernizing the nation’s air traffic control infrastructure, which would make it easier for unmanned aircraft to operate with manned aircraft.

While modern unmanned aircraft have sophisticated sensors that can spot man-sized targets from high in the air in the dark of night, the FAA is concerned that remote pilots won’t be able to look around them and see imminent collisions as easily as pilots of manned aircraft.

This concern wouldn’t exist if all aircraft were directed by air traffic controllers. But many private aircraft operate at low altitude and outside the purview of the FAA. It is the risk of colliding with those aircraft that has made the FAA hesitate.

“That’s the crux of the problem,” Krakowski said.

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