Air Transport World

New day dawns for East Coast air operations. (Federal Aviation Administration's Expanded East Coast Plan)

New day dawns for East Coast air operations

February 12 was a red-letter day for FAA's Eastern Region. It was also a red-letter day for supervisory air traffic control specialist Harry Breimann. For more than ten years Breimann had been sketching ways to fit more aircraft into the perennially crowded airspace serving the New York metropolitan area's airports. Working with FAA colleagues in New York and the other regions covering the Eastern seaboard and as far west as Chicago and Atlanta, Breimann's efforts culminated in FAA's Expanded East Coast Plan (EECP) (ATW, 12/85). And on February 12 Phase I of the EECP went operational.

Maybe it would be more accurate to call it Phase I-A. Responding to flak from some controllers and several congressmen that the controller work force was too understaffed and under-trained for the task, FAA Administrator Donald Engen delayed implementation of some features of the plan for a few weeks to let controllers get used to it. So, for instance, the planned reduction in required horizontal separation between planes crossing area check points was delayed. FAA Eastern Region spokesmen insist that training has been more than adequate; controllers received 40-48 hours of intensive training, including simulated runs, they say.

EECP is the latest and most radical restructuring of the Air Traffic Control system in the eastern half of the U.S., particularly the area served by the New York TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility). This includes the three major airports of the New York metroplex--Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy--and some 30 satellite airports and heliports located within an area measuring 55 nm southeast, 60 nm southwest, 65 nm northwest and 100 nm northeast of Manhattan's World Trade Center. …

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