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February 4, 2009
The FAA is planning to consolidate and reduce the number of meteorologists in air route traffic control centers (ARTCCs). Currently, these meteorologists serve in the center weather service units (CWSUs) of each ARTCC, lending their expertise and local knowledge to controllers in high-workload periods when adverse weather prevails.
AOPA has sent a letter to FAA management detailing the association’s concerns with this proposal.
“There still exists an intrinsic, safety-based value in having an onsite NWS meteorologist at the ARTCC facilities. In order to capitalize on these benefits and maximize their use in today’s air traffic environment, it may be necessary to redefine the role of the meteorologists and the way they interact with the air traffic controllers,” Randy Kenagy, AOPA acting vice president of regulatory affairs, said in a letter to Nancy Kalinowski, the FAA’s vice president of systems operations services.
“According to the FAA’s 10-year strategy for the Air Traffic Control Workforce 2008-2017, the FAA plans to hire nearly 17,000 new controllers. These controllers will not have the same knowledge or historical understanding of local area weather patterns to draw on, compared to the controllers they are replacing,” Kenagy continued.
AOPA will be following this issue closely and will continue to engage the FAA to ensure the situation is resolved favorably.
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