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NASA Releases Cryptic Airline Safety Data

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-you-wanted-the-key-too dept.

NASA 148

An anonymous reader writes "NASA released part of a controversial study about air traffic safety Monday. The space agency spent $11 million on a survey of airline pilots. Agency officials were so disturbed by the findings that they intended to destroy the information rather than release it. But at an October congressional hearing, NASA administrator Michael Griffin changed tack and said the agency would release its findings. The research shows that safety problems occur far more often than previously recognized. NASA has been criticized however for not providing 'documentation on how to use its data, nor did it provide keys to unlock the cryptic codes used in the dataset.'"

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148 comments

Oh no! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871266)

This makes me afraid to fly with pilots on board. It would probably be safer if only computers flew the planes. There would also be no way to hijack a plane. I'm very scared.

I think the airlines should lobby to make me safer by having no pilots on board, then the fares would go down too.

I'm very afraid. Fire the pilots, or at least only have one on board. That would be safer.

Getting rid of my rights to a fair trial would also make me feel safer.

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21873072)

Getting rid of my rights to a fair trial would also make me feel safer.
You are absolutely right. Jury trials are overrated. Why would you want empty-headed 12 idiots deciding your fate? For that matter, even judges introduce random element to trials. I would feel much more comfortable being judged by a computer algorithm. At least then trials would be deterministic.

Re:Oh no! (3, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873334)

You trust software developers who cannot handle even checking null pointers to fly your plane? I sure don't from my experience in the software industry. I get nervous when I fly high tech, I am more and more a analogue kinda guy rather than techie nowdays for good reason.

Right! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871314)

I'm going to print out the PDF and masturbate to it. If no-one knows how to interpret the data, I'll do it in a sexy way.

Re:Right! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871360)

at a medium pace?

Re:Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871498)

best comment so far!

Re:Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872488)

I've seen you naked - there's nothing sexy about that!

Probably appropriate (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873076)

nor did it provide keys to unlock the cryptic codes used in the dataset

I'm going to print out the PDF and mastrbate to it
Wow, so you figured out it was encrypted porn!

NASA's mission (3, Insightful)

Butisol (994224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871322)

NASA lost 2 of their 5 space-worthy shuttles. Are these really the people we should be listening to about safety?

Re:NASA's mission (2, Insightful)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871768)

Nah, theyre the people we should be listening to when they say something lacks it: they clearly have experience in that area.

Re:NASA's mission (5, Insightful)

bitrex (859228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871790)

Richard Fenyman's report on the Challenger disaster stated that shuttle engineers on average believed that a catastrophic vehicle loss would occur once for every 100 flights - as they're on STS 127 now the Space Shuttle program is doing approximately par for the course. Space flight is orders of magnitude more risky than air transport, and while both disasters were caused by engineering flaws in the end it seems unfair to make such an apples to oranges comparison and say that NASA knows nothing about safety. Perhaps their management knows little about safety (they wildly overestimated the shuttle's reliability to the media, after all), but given the complexities involved it seems a miracle of engineering safety and otherwise that anyone comes back alive at all.

Re:NASA's mission (5, Insightful)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873310)

In Engineering you never fire an Engineer that lived through a disaster that is his mistake. They just lesson cost them 1 billion dollars. You don't fire somebody after having lived through that lesson. He/She is gold. Making mistakes or living through exceptional disasters are invaluable. You do fire somebody if they repeat mistakes. G

Re:NASA's mission (1)

tic!lock (1207584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871806)

Yes. The shuttle is the first "space truck" every built. Considering the complexity of the systems and problems and the fact that the whole program was underfunded pretty much from day one, it's amazing what they've accomplished and how few people we've lost. Now we need the funding and real cross-administration political will to do something even better, but we aren't going to get it anytime soon, because there are too many people who have little understanding of what it costs to explore a new frontier. A shame. It's a good thing many of our ancestors didn't seem to share that view.

Re:NASA's mission (3, Interesting)

ChronosWS (706209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871848)

We need a motivation. In the past, this has almost always been for one of two reasons:
1) Profit.
2) Beat our competition to it so we don't look weak.

Number 1 is a pretty hard sell at the moment because we don't really have a clue how to monetize space yet. Some rich people are beginning to take those risks for various reasons, and hopefully something will fall out of that. Don't expect people to be seriously considering bringing in trillion dollar asteroids to NEO to mine though.

Number 2 hasn't been a motivation for a while. The few players in this arena who can field whole space programs themselves don't view each other as competitors, nor do they view failing to make it to the next milestone first as a defeat in any sense. If China proves out a full, impressive space program which looks like it might be a military or economic threat to the West, then perhaps we will see something. Until then, I wouldn't count on this as a motivator either.

Straight risk-taking isn't really an option for governments right now either, especially Western ones, due to monetary concerns (like shoveling billions into various police actions.) This leaves us basically with billionaires that have a lot of time on their hands to bring down the cost so that governments, which ultimately are most likely to take those risks, will be able to justify the cost of doing so. So if you want to see space really done right, support those companies and persons who are working to make it cheap.

Re:NASA's mission (3, Interesting)

tic!lock (1207584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872056)

We need a motivation. In the past, this has almost always been for one of two reasons:
1) Profit.
2) Beat our competition to it so we don't look weak.


  Sometimes in the past groups of humans have done "crazy" things in the name of survival, as well. :)

  Number 1 is a pretty hard sell at the moment because we don't really have a clue how to monetize space yet. Some rich people are beginning to take those risks for various reasons, and hopefully something will fall out of that. Don't expect people to be seriously considering bringing in trillion dollar asteroids to NEO to mine though.

  For your first point, I'd say we already have monetized "space" - communications. The real problem is we don't have efficient and inexpensive high-volume launch systems that can handle cargo, crew, or both in significant amounts to do more than comm sats. This is a solvable problem however, without inventing new technologies.

  As to trillion dollar NEAs, why not? Many if not most of them are likely to be old comets without a lot of heavy metals, but if we could find one that had high concentrations of heavy metals, we're likely only talking about a 100-150m diameter rock. It might take a generation or two to bring it in, but we could do it with existing technology.

  If we had really good tracking abilities (radar installations spread along Earth's orbit and large arrays of multiple optic and radar scopes in orbit, which really wouldn't cost that much) there's no reason why we couldn't find one in an easy to alter orbit and bring it in. If we were successful it's not like it's going to go away, we'd have all the time we need to exploit it's resources. The experience in doing so, even with just automated or remote-controlled devices, would benefit everyone on the planet.

Number 2 hasn't been a motivation for a while. The few players in this arena who can field whole space programs themselves don't view each other as competitors, nor do they view failing to make it to the next milestone first as a defeat in any sense. If China proves out a full, impressive space program which looks like it might be a military or economic threat to the West, then perhaps we will see something. Until then, I wouldn't count on this as a motivator either.

Straight risk-taking isn't really an option for governments right now either, especially Western ones, due to monetary concerns (like shoveling billions into various police actions.) This leaves us basically with billionaires that have a lot of time on their hands to bring down the cost so that governments, which ultimately are most likely to take those risks, will be able to justify the cost of doing so. So if you want to see space really done right, support those companies and persons who are working to make it cheap.


  There I agree, with one caveat; if we ever do face an "immediate" impact threat without preparation, it's likely it's going to take government sized-monies to counter it, and their populations are going to demand that they do... so it's in the governments interest (if it has any) to make sure it can.* :)

  * assuming rational government policy, hah.

  Personally, I'd like to see Paul Allen fund a nice sized telescope array for searching for NEAs (and perhaps help keep Arecibo alive, as well)... I wrote to him about it but never received a response.

 

Youre kidding right? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872800)

Number 1 is a pretty hard sell at the moment because we don't really have a clue how to monetize space yet.


you're kidding right?
people have run estimates on metallic asteroids and valued them in hundreds of trillions of dollars
in a more near earth application there is already a very early form of space tourism.

The issue is not that people don't know how to monetize space, its that nobody has the guts to start up and/or invest in something so long term with such large cash outlay.

People who created the dutch east india corporation would be very disappointed in our generation.

Re:NASA's mission (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873716)

Just for one minute think about the space program you could have had for the cost of the Iraq war...

Not to even think about all the tech spin-offs and basic industrial advances.

Re:NASA's mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871944)

Sure - they were meant to be destroyed!

1. Build giant firework - say it cost billions.
2. Destroy on take-off.
3. Allocate funds elsewhere for 'secret' projects.
4. Profit!

Hmmm... I think I'm missing a step somewhere.

Re:NASA's mission (5, Funny)

Butisol (994224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872274)

That has to be the stupidest comment I've ever posted to Slashdot... and I get a "5, Insightful." WTF?

Re:NASA's mission (3, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872606)

That has to be the stupidest comment I've ever posted to Slashdot... and I get a "5, Insightful." WTF?
Once I've posted a comment that said:
"Mod me insightful, please"
And mind what? got an instant 5+ insightful.

Re:NASA's mission (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872320)

Yes, the same people that are re-inventing the Apollo space capsule for the "next generation space craft". Sigh.

Re:NASA's mission (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873026)

Simple. NASA knows quite a bit about aviation safety. However, they're not responsible for it in any direct manner.

This makes me fairly inclined to believe what they have to say -- they're in the unique position of being experts on the subject, but also relatively unbiased. If NASA releases an overwhelmingly positive or negative report about the state of the FAA, it's not going to considerably effect NASA no matter what the outcome. (Although, an accurate report outlining specific failures of the FAA could bolster NASA's reputation and credibility)

Although NASA's had some serious management problems, I get the feeling that they know quite a bit about how aviation safety "should be" even if there might have been implementing it in the past. On a similar note, the two shuttles that were lost failed both times due to engineering failures, which isn't even relevant to the report at hand. If NASA lost a shuttle because it entered civilian airspace, and struck another aircraft, I'd question their credibility. However, as it is, they've done a pretty good job with regard to general aviation safety, and are an extremely qualified and unbiased body to do an external audit of the FAA.

Re:NASA's mission (1)

twms2h (473383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873192)

Yes, we should. They were able to get those ancient garbage cans fly to LEO and back for years without losing them and without killing many people. Try to do that yourself.

Also, even if that were a valid argument: What does their ability to perform a survey, statistical analysis of the answers and interpretation of the data have to do with their supposed inability to send people to LEO safely?

blame the media (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871324)

I think our retarded media has more to do with government secrecy then any conspiracy. I'm a pilot. None of this data is surprising, unexpected, or really, in any way new. However, the retards at fox news and CNN will spin this to sell add space instead of to show how safe aviation really is. As in ... Oh my GOD!!!! the airplanes were 4.8 miles apart instead of 5 miles. Panic!!!!!

Re:blame the media (2, Interesting)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873990)

Don't worry, you won't be hearing about the 4.8's any more. The FAA has reclassified anything better than 90% of required separation as a Proximity Event instead of an Operational Error. Expect a major reduction in Operation Errors real soon.

On a wing and a prayer (2, Informative)

T1girl (213375) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871332)

"Earlier characterizations from people who have seen the results said they would show that events like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than previously recognized. Such information could not be gleaned from the 16,208 pages posted by NASA on its Web site, however, because of information that was edited out. "

Your tax dollars at work.

his reminds me of the time President Bush dismissed an EPA http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/03/tech/main510920.shtml? [cbsnews.com] Bush dismisses global warming warning on global sarming as the work of the the bureaucracy.

that G-sey feeling (4, Interesting)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873524)

I once flew out of Chicago, early 1990s, 737 IIRC, where coming up off the runway the plane banked *hard* like I've never experienced before or after. It felt like a 30 degree bank, but it was probably more like 5 degrees, the human mind tends to exaggerate slopes so badly. The G force exceeded anything I've ever felt on a runway. At the crazy angle (I was on the down-wing side) the flight attendants strapped in beside the exit doors seemed like they were a floor or two above me. I was concentrating on keeping my head centered at the top of my neck, so I didn't orient myself to ground features. People gasped, but no-one vocalized. Not even a kick in the aft to lift out of Denver on a hot summer day would compare to G-force we were pulling. The plane seemed to also pitch nose upward and climb hard. It was smooth, forceful, and disorienting. I had visions of children tearing the wings off a fly. Those wings really are amazingly strong. Then the plane smoothly returned to level flight.

Moments later, with no hesitation at all, the pilot came onto the intercom in the most baritone lounge-chair voice you can imagine:

"I just had a chat with air traffic who told me they would feel a lot more comfortable if I banked to the right. I said to myself 'if they're more comfortable, then I'm more comfortable' so we did. Now we're all feeling very comfortable. It should be a smooth ride into Toronto, so relax and enjoy the in-flight service."

No doubt we were bearing toward Baltimore as he spoke and air traffic was still busy determining how to turn him around again.

I also wondered what additional service is required when they ping the G ball for 15 seconds like that. I just found a web page that states that the g-force limit of a 737 is unknown. Fortunately, the answer wasn't recovered from the flight recorder of the plane I was on that day.

My father was once on a flight that dumped fuel over the ocean, circled back, and landed five minutes after takeoff. I've always suspected that incidents were more frequent than the airline industry wishes to publicize. I wonder if that smooth recovery speech is part of the pilot simulator training. I wonder if he was giving us that speech while the copilot was checking out the lights that indicate the wings are indeed still attached.

Woopteedoo (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871336)

The columns in the PDF document are:
Flight Hours, Flight Legs, Career Hours, Aircraft 1, % Hours Aircraft 1, Aircraft 2, % Hours Aircraft 2, Aircraft 3, % Hours Aircraft 3, Aircraft 4, % Hours Aircraft 4, Aircraft 5, % Hours Aircraft 5, Aircraft 6, % Hours Aircraft 6.

How this is useful safety information is left as an excersize for the reader.

Re:Woopteedoo (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872424)

Getting their data into 1NF is left as an exercise to the reader.

THESE people launch the space shuttle? The reason they don't build a fifth one is because their inventory database has the columns:

Name,SKU, QtyShuttle1, QtyShuttle2 , QtyShuttle3 , QtyShuttle4

2500 pages of partial SQL in PDF - nice. (2, Informative)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871348)

So, the first 1500 pages seem to be one or two columns of data on the pilots involved (# of flight hours?) The next 1000 pages are incident reports (planes 1 thru 6, but mostly 1 or 2 planes,) with so few columns you can't tell who, what, or when the incident occurred.

Hey, NASA, thanks a lot.

(oh, and if you're worried about people using a modified/hacked data set, publish a hash on your website.)

Re:2500 pages of partial SQL in PDF - nice. (5, Informative)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871506)

-- you can't tell who, what, or when the incident occurred.

That's part of the point. The data collection is ANONYMOUS. The goal is that pilots will report MORE if they know that their voluntary reporting of incidents that don't require FAA reports will stay anonymous. Stuff happens up there. Sometimes it's bad stuff that's nobody's fault. But a pilot is far more likely to call attention to a potentially bad situation that's nobody's fault if he knows that it won't come back and bite him.

If you add the exact time and coordinates of every incident it wouldn't be hard to back-track and put names with each one. There are VERY detailed FAA records of who flew every flight leg in the country over the last few years. It's not hard to back-up anonymous data if you leave too many variables that can be referenced with outside data -- see what happened to Netflix/IMBD [slashdot.org].

If it takes anonymity to get better data, then let's get better data. I'd much rather have more anonymous pilots reporting close calls truthfully than have fewer pilots reporting data and trying to put a positive spin on it. You can make as many laws as you want requiring disclosure, but every single pilot in the known universe will always put a positive spin on things if he knows that his job (and his family) are on the line.

Re:2500 pages of partial SQL in PDF - nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871838)

Yes. Anonymity is essential.

Which is why it would be a joke if NASA thinks releasing the data as a page formatted PDF file would make a speck of difference to keeping it anonymous. I sure hope that isn't the rationale for doing it this way.

Re:2500 pages of partial SQL in PDF - nice. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872126)

They collect phone numbers, names, addresses, date, time, and location of incident, and make and model of aircraft involved. They (claim to) remove the identifying information but there is no mention of removing the information about the incident itself. Indeed they should not, as this information is valuable. Much more important in encouraging pilots to submit reports is the fact that submitting a report on an incident, with some exceptions, makes the submitting pilot immune to any enforcement action related to that incident. Certainly they don't release this information publicly (and they are prohibited from giving it to the FAA), but they definitely collect it and store most of it.

There are VERY detailed FAA records of who flew every flight leg in the country over the last few years.
Not in the least. There are records of every flight for which a flight plan was filed, and detailed records of IFR flights, but there are thousands of flights a day (at least) in the US about which the FAA knows basically nothing. Many non-pilots may not know this but it is possible and perfectly legal to fly from the vast majority of American airports without either asking permission, contacting any kind of controlling agency, or indeed informing anyone else if your flight at all. I have personally made over one hundred flights in the last year and a half of which the FAA has absolutely no record whatsoever.

If it takes anonymity to get better data, then let's get better data.
It takes more than anonymity. I guarantee that if the ASRS system were merely anonymous that it wouldn't get a tenth of the submissions it actually gets. Hiding the identities of the reporters and giving them immunity from prosecution really helps people to submit reports, because not only is there no cost in doing so, but there is actually a great benefit.

Re:2500 pages of partial SQL in PDF - nice. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871748)

piss off, wanker.

Not Your Job (4, Informative)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871350)

NASA begrudgingly released some results Monday from an $11.3 million federal air safety study it previously withheld from the public over concerns it would upset travelers and hurt airline profits.
Hey NASA, it's not in your charter to protect airline profits. You know what IS in your charter?

"[the agency shall] provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof."

Re:Not Your Job (3, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872130)

Fortunately, since it was public knowledge that NASA was conducting the study, it was more difficult for certain factions within NASA or low-level political appointees to pull a Philip Cooney [wikipedia.org] style "editing" of the results and conclusions. The truth must be told, no matter how bad it is or how much it hurts the airlines. Failure to release the full report because the average American might "draw the wrong conclusions" or become scared or "lose confidence" in the airlines is NOT an acceptable excuse to edit, quash, or destroy the report. The people have a right to know what risks they are taking when they fly, particularly when their tax dollars paid for the formal analysis of those risks by qualified scientists and other experts.

Summary: (5, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871374)

"OMG! WE ALL GUNNA DIE!"
It further advises to:

"Kiss your ass goodbye, because the proles don't want to spend the money to fix the antiquated system."
I hope the translation is accurate, but my bureaucratese is a little rusty - much like the wings of the planes you people flew in during your holiday travels. :)

Re:Summary: (0, Offtopic)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871504)

What astounds me the most is not the findings released by NASA.

It is the fact that your comment has already been noted by Google.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Kiss+your+ass+goodbye%2C+because+the+proles+don't+want+to+spend+the+money+to+fix+the+antiquated+system.%22 [google.com]

Re:Summary: (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871656)

It is the fact that your comment has already been noted by Google.
VINDICATION FOR MY PARANOIA!

This is proof that my tinfoil hat, cell blocking paint, magic underwear and living in a basement are prudent methods of self-protection!

People are out to get me! They're googling me and my words!

Ask any pilot, more regulations != not safer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871440)

Assuming the actual non-cryptic survey is eventually released: The number to focus on is the rate of actual crashes. Unless this survey reveals a RECENT change for the worse, I would hate to see the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) take action. After all, if a similar driving survey was taken, I believe that many of us would have one "almost crash" nearly every time we go out on the road: Flying is by far the safest way to travel and nothing has changed.

regulations can help (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871694)

For example, we could prohibit airlines from screwing with sleep patterns. If a guy sleeps from 8 AM to 4 PM, you don't suddenly switch him over to sleeping from 4 PM to midnight. Well, you don't do that unless you are an airline or a hospital!

Re:regulations can help (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871824)

Or in law enforcement. I know a guy who worked with the local sheriff department for a few months and quit because the hours drove him nuts. 12 on, 12 off, then after a few days youd switch shifts. Meh.

Re:regulations can help (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873296)

There are some regulations like that in both the airline industry and for air traffic controllers. The airlines bend over backwards to follow them even for mechanics and flight attendants, but air traffic controllers still get stuck with quick turn (8 hours off between shifts) and ironman (quick turn w/ 16 hours for the second shift) work schedules.

I am planning to become an air traffic controller, so it bugs me that flight attendants have stricter rules for work schedules than I will.

Shouldn't be hard to extract data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871452)

Extracting the data does not require OCR. It's not images, it's a PDF of formatted text (ASCII?). You can copy and paste from it. I've never tried it, but I assume you could also automate extraction of the data into a more dynamic format, such as a database or spreadsheet.

I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (5, Informative)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871466)

I am one of those anonymous pilots who has filed a NASA ASRA report. My report was not of coming close to hitting another aircraft. It was because of a violation of airspace (NASA's own Moffett Field) as a result of Air Traffic Controller mis-communication/hand off. While the pilot is ultimately responsible for communicating with ATC. This program was designed to be anonymous. It provided pilots with a way to discuss issues without having to be identified. This was designed to improve safety. I completely agree with this idea as it frees the pilot from having to come to call for reporting things that could be potentially hazardous or failures within the system. Unfortunately today, lawyers are always searching out new ways to prove negligence. Protecting pilots trying to help is even more important! In the aviation community, there is very little true negligence. Many husbands/spouses of pilots killed sue people after the pilot flew into a mountainside. Why? Because nobody knows why, and there could be many defendants (Airframe, engine, altimeter, radio navigation, radio communication, transponder, ATC (FAA/Government), Spark Plug manger, carberator, etc). Yes, they sue them all because if the jury thinks that any one person might possibly be responsible, it's millions. It's cheaper and/or a safer bet to sue than to buy life insurance it seems these days. I wouldn't mind if they released categoried data, ie, Phase: LANDING, Situation: NEAR MISS, Key 1: Distance, Value 1: 1500ft, etc... IE, you just say what happened, and nothing more. This is what the government really needs. I haven't reviewed all of the data, but, this is very reasonable in the light of trying to determine what is going wrong.

Re:I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871622)

And it too was one huge paragraph. With short choppy sentences. And run-on sentences.

Re:I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872152)

If you lack the reading comprehension skills to follow it then just shut the fuck up.

Re:I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872094)

I am a doctor, and a comparable situation exists in the medical profession. The current legal climate makes it very hard to analyze system failures with an eye toward making the system safer. Too many people want to "punish" mistakes, with the natural consequence that mistakes get buried as much as possible. It would be better for everyone if the emphasis were on figuring out what allows mistakes to propagate, and fix the system so that errors can be detected and corrected at an earlier stage, before someone gets hurt.

Re:I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872298)

Punish, and also "profit by". There's an entire legal profession that centers around extracting payouts from the medical system, deserved or not.

Re:I have filed a NASA ASRA Report! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21874298)

I've done forensics on a few cases, hence AC. In my experience a case has to be quite clear for a lawyer to spend time on it. So yes, it is profit for the lawyer, but there is no shortage of simple gross negligence cases to choose from. I've seen an ER physician who had been fired from one hospital for diluting a burn patient's fentanyl so he could use. He was suspected of being high again during a patient's death. This guy submitted a urine sample with a temperature of 80F. Amazingly the hospital considered it a valid sample. In another case, the radiation physicist used a 10mm collimator instead of a 5mm collimator to treat a non-lethal brain condition. The result was 8 times the necessary volume of brain tissue being necrotized. If you kill too much tissue at one time, the body can not recover, and you get what is essentially a run away necrotic condition. The patient took about two years to die from the treatment. To be sure, causality is hard to prove in these cases, but I know the hospitals will not change their ways unless it actually costs them when they are negligent.
I've seen the same lawyers turn away far more cases than they take. It seems very rare for the medmal folks to just cave in and pay. Almost always you are looking at a jury trial because juries do not want to believe that Doctors make mistakes, much less that they are sometimes grossly negligent.
From my point of view, the lawyers that are making the easy dirty money are the ones defending some of these doctors and hospitals.

easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872470)

It would work, too, but you guys are just too chickenshit and prim and proper to do it. Girlymen, smart, but afraid of a little labor action, a fight! You refuse to stand up for yourselves because you are "professionals". Bullshit, no such thing, you either work for a living, or you don't. If you work for a living, you are a "professional", so get over that nonsense. If you skim and manipulate and middleman, you are a parasite for a living. If you sit on your ass, you are a leech. Work="professional".

    You write up a simple letter, signed by hundreds of thousands of doctors, counter stamped AMA and whatever other medical orgs want to chime in. You CC this to every congress person, judge and lawyer in the nation. Fancy it up but along these lines:

"HI, we are the doctors, remember us? You know what? We've had it, we give the fuck up. You assholes have made our jobs near impossible. We spend more time on paperwork and in your courts then we do studying, learning new techniques or actually with patients. We think this sucks. From this date forward, you particular guys are on your own for healthcare, including your viagara prescriptions....everyone else can still come in, but not you, get it? If you fix things, we might consider going back and fixing you. Your call. c-ya later jerks!"

Totally legal, too. You can't discriminate based on sex, race, ethnicity, etc, but it says nothing about job title. Nothing at all. Do it, within a week you'd see massive healthcare reform for the better. It's called a "job action", works a charm if you actually practice solidarity. What are they going to replace you with, larry from sales?

Re:easy solution (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873766)

It's such a pity you wrote that as an AC, but that's what reading at -1 is for... I'd love for you to be credited for your idea.

Only one question why stop at doctors ? Lets *ALL* do this.

Who's lying and how much? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871594)

The summary doesn't match what the article says, and makes claims that appear nowhere else.

The information "removed" was previously released. What's changed is that it now carries the caveat that it hasn't been peer reviewed. That's where they extract the facts and inject the "not properly vetted" in attempt to use the connotation to make it sound worse.

One of the people in charge of designing and carrying out the project is complaining about the data handling. He's one of the people who created the data. The "what to do with it" is a singularly stoopid statement in this light.

There's more, but it's even more nonsensical. I can't figure out how much of this is intentional poor writing/reporting, how much of it is unintentional poor writing/reporting, and how much of it misdirection hastily written because either something peripheral to the main topic has popped out as significant, or even something totally unrelated has come up and they want you to waste your time on this obsfucational press release.

Something is going on that they're not talking about, because they're doing an awful lot of talking about nothing here, in such a way that you spend a lot of time trying to stop misunderstanding it. It shouldn't be this difficult, and didn't used to be. At the very least they're trying to make an issue out of the article, and sidling away from the content. But they're using unsupported statements for doing so. I don't think the content of the article itself or the implications are what they're concerned about. They'd either come out as say so clearly, or they'd disown it clearly.

data analysis (1)

Robbat2 (148889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871612)

Formatting of data
It's ~24600 rows (746 pages) of what must be pilot data.

The first 746 pages are Flight Hours (A1), Flight Legs (A2), and would be how many of each the pilot has undertaken, in the last N years.

The next 746 pages are Career Hours (A8), this is also sorted, so I think it was the key they used.

The last 746 pages are percentage and plane-type breakdown per pilot.
It mainly seems to be the larger jets, but there are a few interesting smaller, older aircraft, couple of fighters, and business jets.

However, what is lacking from this data is actual accident report and statistics. We've only got pilot information here.

One can understand why not release the findings (0, Flamebait)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871614)

Reporters looking for a sensational story wouldn't hesitate a moment to put up banner headlines screaming about near misses if there's any chance the data can be taken out of context. 1,000 feet of seperation is perfectly safe for planes flying in different directions as long as the 1,000 feet is vertical and not horizontal. I just got home from driving on the interstate where it was a LOT scarier and dangerous to be tailgated at 75 mph by a huge pickup truck. But the hick in the thing would respond probably positively to a congresscritter calling for more regulations and whatnot because planes were missing each other by ONLY 1,000 FEET AT 500 MPH!! OMG!!
 
As for the data, I thought it would be easy to import into a database but the dang files are not only PDF, there are several datasets in each giant PDF with column headers (titles) every page. They need to be broken apart into distinct tables' worth of data each and all the extra headers stripped. What a pain. I'll think about it.

Re:One can understand why not release the findings (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871728)

"ONLY 1,000 FEET AT 500 MPH!! OMG!!"

Open the blind when flying over the EU, sometimes you can see them wizz by close enough to feel the "wash", it's was quite an awsome sight the first time I saw it. What I find remarkable is that there are so few disasters.

Regardless of the logic in the traffic comparison, being in a plane still makes me anxious enough that I can't sleep a wink, even on trips from Oz to the EU with an airline that has never lost a plane [wikipedia.org].

TCAS Stats (1)

xquark (649804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871636)

Data relating to pilot competency is one thing, but if they were to reveal
the statistics relating to near misses that were averted by the TCAS system
(in some cases unbeknownst to the pilots themselves until they had landed)
many more people would think twice or perhaps even thrice before boarding
an aircraft.

Re:TCAS Stats (1)

ghjm (8918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872186)

How could TCAS avert a collision without the pilots knowledge? First of all, as far as I know TCAS just gives audible/visual indications, and it's up to the pilots to pull the stick in the recommended direction. Even if the TCAS system is capable of autonomously commanding a control input, the pilots would immediately be aware of the change in heading, altitude, attitude etc ... unless you're prepared to believe that an airline pilot with thousands of hours experience would simply fail to notice when his airplane executed an uncommanded sharp turn.

-Graham

Re:TCAS Stats (2, Insightful)

xquark (649804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872368)

There are 3 phases to flight, ascent cruise and descent, from what I understand most of the silent events occur
during the take-off and landing stages in both cases the secondary systems have to kick-in because either the
pilot was pulling up too fast and as a result would have hit the tail on runway for take-off, or they were landing
with an awkward angle.

In both cases the system automatically kicks in and "attempts" to rectify the situation. The trouble is there is a
calculation it does relating to a "projected" state of the aircraft and what kind of counter maneuvers have to be
executed in order to get out of that state.

If it decides the number or the sensitivity of the maneuvers is beyond what a human can do within the necessary
time span it kicks-in and helps out - that fact is recorded on the CMU and on the blackbox most often than not its
ignored by the FAA and the airlines. for the most part the bells and whistles occur when there is a possibility of
a mid-air collision or if the aircraft is descending at a rate that not considered safe.

As for cruise, when considering a 747 traveling in bad weather with flaky radar at about 850km/hr the distance traveled
in 10secs is roughly 2.3km, in that 10seconds the pilots may be required to execute a series of very complex maneuvers,
the unfortunate situation is when someone with years of experience freezes or makes the wrong decisions under pressure/stress,
such human weaknesses make these systems a necessity.

The point I wanted to make was that the TCAS data collected both in the US and Europe are not being used to better
train/filter-out pilots.

NASA funding depends on politics (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871642)

So NASA management is naturally heavily politicized, very often determining what information is publicized and what is suppressed. (I have worked at NASA.) It seems a lot more people understand this dynamic in regard to for-profit organizations than in regard to government and research interests.

gayer than shit on a dick (1)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871648)

thats slashdot as always!

Re:gayer than shit on a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871718)

In all fairness, slashdot is the place to be gay...

Believe it or not, the majority of Slashdot readers are male, aged 12 to 24, are computer literate or computer proficient, introverted, and homosexual. Slashdot creator and self-avowed homosexual Rob Malda, who, in 1997 in his Holland, Michigan dorm, was running a gay singles' list, had the following to say:

If I hadn't had Slashdot when I was coming out, I don't know what would have happened. There would have been no one to connet with, no twinks to share my rage with, no bears to gain knowledge from. Slashdot was the ultimate gay hookup and for that alone am I thankful I created it years ago.

Obviously, Slashdot serves more than the tech community it purports to cater to. In 1999, Slashdot hired then-Wired columnist Jon Katz, another openly gay literary genius. Sporting blue hair and multiple facial piercings, the angst-ridden Katz expresses in his writings are clearly visible in real life. I'd found a home with Rob. Wired was too straight, but at Slashdot I fit right in.

Finally, in early 2000, public homosexual and Nazi censor Michael Sims joined the Slashdot orgy crew. I wanted to introduce goat sex and a lot of non-Slashdot, homosexual, erect male penises to the group, said Sims, So ESR got involved with donkey dicks and we all like to suck each other off. Without Rob Malda, Michael Sims would be nothing except an aggravated gay male without a place to call home.

Slashdot is definitely the place to be gay concluded Sims. Definitely the place to be gay

Re:gayer than shit on a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871736)

haha, look at josh's penis!

Near Misses (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871732)

The problem is that the raw data is skewed because of the way it is collected. This means that significant incidents such as this near miss are never reported [dwarfurl.com]

Information will be free anyway ... soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21871756)

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told reporters the agency typically releases information in Adobe System's portable document format, known as pdf, which presents the information on formatted, printed pages."

NASA releases LOADS of data in all sorts of relevant formats. Imagery is released in a bunch of mission-specific raw formats, you can download elevation data from most of the world in a large variety of formats, and so on. Formatted pages only? This is ridiculous. The only plausible reason for doing so is to make it more awkward for people to analyze the data further.

And the worst symptom this is probably the case? If you look at the PDF files that have data tables, the PDF properties indicate the files were derived from Excel (.xls) files.

"Griffin said NASA wanted to ensure that no one modified the survey results and circulated false data as NASA's research product."

What? Has no one at NASA heard of MD5 checksums? Yeah, sure, they aren't perfect either, but they are going to be a whole lot more reliable than, say, a PDF file that someone could edit with far less effort.

"He said even inexpensive optical character recognition software could convert the formatted reports. Such software can risk introducing errors in the data as it performs these conversions."

They've made the possibility of error more likely by doing it this way.

Whatever. A bit of pdftotxt [wikipedia.org], some perl scripts, and it will be released in easy-to-analyze, properly delimited format.

I give it a week before some enterprising people transform the whole thing.

Look, Griffin: either release it properly (so you can ensure the quality and integrity of the data yourself), or don't release it at all. Doing it halfway is a joke.

Well duh (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871774)

NASA has been criticized however for not providing 'documentation on how to use its data
Everyone knows an engineer can't write a ledgible manual. Otherwise, everyone's VCR would be set to the appropriate time.

Not all the data (2, Informative)

Evets (629327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871778)

The dataset linked in the summary looks pretty useless and is really meant to:

This file contains a portion of the actual or raw responses collected in Section A of the air carrier surveys to show the breadth and scope of the pilot community surveyed and the types of aircraft flown.


More interesting data that was released is here: http://www.nasa.gov/news/reports/NAOMS_air_carrier_survey_data.html [nasa.gov]

Although - these are really just answers to questions. I've spent some time going through the various links and I don't see anything that describes the questions that most of the columns relate to - although this file seems to contain the most information about the results. http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/207238main_NAOMS%20Reference%20Report_508.pdf [nasa.gov]

Re:Not all the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872100)

The 207238main_NOAMS Reference Report 508.pdf does seem to contain the key that translates columns to questions. Look at App 11 and App 12 near the end of the document.

For example, App 12 (General Aviation) seem to contain the questions for the general aviation survey. Section B would correspond to the B PDF.

ER2-A question A "Commanded movements of speedbrakes" would be described by GER02AA - G=> General Aviation ER2=>ER02 etc...

pdftotext -layout will turn the PDF to a text file in tabular form.

Writing a perl script to convert the pages of data to CSV should not be that hard (empty responses make it a bit harder than converting spaces to commas)

Is a near miss proof of danger, or of safety? (4, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871800)

Two aircraft close to within 4.5 miles of one another when the safety zone is 5 miles. It gets logged as a near miss. The planes divert because secondary safety systems send alerts to pilots and traffic controllers who take appropriate action.

Is this proof that that the system is unsafe? Seems to me that something went wrong, safety systems kicked in, people took action as trained, and a problem was mitigated. So, the safety zone being 5 miles paid off. All went well. That's why we have a 5 mile safety zone and not a 4 mile one (or two, or whatever).

Congratulations to the safety engineers, the pilots, and traffic controllers. Through their training, planning, and risk assessment the practices and procedures were in place to handle a mishap and not result in a tragedy.

I recall the last few years of service of the Maine Yankee power plant not far from here. One day there was some kind of problem. Safety systems came in to play. The plant was shut down. Nobody was hurt. Nothing dangerous was released. All was well. Some people screamed at the danger of having the plant around. To me, this made no sense. I say the engineers and operators should have been celebrated for having built something that continued to be safe even as its lifespan was drawing to and end. All the safety systems still worked and everyone went home that night to their families.

Does the system need overhaul? Surely it does. I happen to know a few people who work for the FAA. One is a controller and the other some kind of inspector who flies around a lot and is in charge of some things. I hear stories from them -- though nothing specific -- and I know the stress they're under. We all know the stories off the equipment in use in those towers being insanely antiquated.

Still and all, these things only prove that to keep thing safe, we're losing efficiency. There is no evidence that we're sacrificing safety. Thousands of these massive things scream down runways at hundreds of miles and hour then leap into the sky propelled by unimaginable forces --all in close quarters to one another -- day in and day out. What a marvel of safety and a triumph of engineering.

I'm looking forward to my next flights -- all but the stupid TSA part anyway.

Re:Is a near miss proof of danger, or of safety? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871858)

In reality, yes it's great that the safety systems work

As a practical matter, the best way to keep people performing to standards is to treat every successful operation of the safety system as a failure of the human operators. It isn't objectively correct, more a psychological trick that reduces the tendency towards complacency.

No one says we shouldn't log and investigate... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874016)

...each incident where safety systems had to come in to play to figure out why, and what could have been done better. I just object to declaring the system unsafe while we do so.

Re:No one says we shouldn't log and investigate... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874142)

My point was the meaning of the words "unsafe" isn't the same between an objective outside observer and people working inside the system.

If you are in any critical job like flying an airliner, or operating a nuclear reactor, or driving a warship then you might overract to these "unsafe" events to help keep people focused and fight complaciency. As long as you don't confuse the two perspectives everything works out.

Re:Is a near miss proof of danger, or of safety? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872530)

Is this proof that that the system is unsafe? Seems to me that something went wrong, safety systems kicked in, people took action as trained, and a problem was mitigated.

I recall the last few years of service of the Maine Yankee power plant not far from here. One day there was some kind of problem. Safety systems came in to play. The plant was shut down. Nobody was hurt. Nothing dangerous was released. All was well. Some people screamed at the danger of having the plant around.

Ah, yes - since the safety systems functioned, there is obviously no problem.
 
  Wrong
 
Safety systems are circuit breakers - if nothing is wrong, if there is no problem, then they don't get tripped. But when there is a problem, they trip to prevent something far worse from happening. If they trip, something has gone wrong - by definition.

wow, pretty tough words. Are you responsible (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21874060)

..for anything with a human safety associated?

I am. Nobody is saying that we should ignore even a single case where safety systems came in to play. All should be investigated and we should understand what, if anything, should be done differently.

That said, humans make mistakes. Parts fail. Random chance bring strange circumstances together. I'm a firefighter, trained in hazmat, confined space rescue, extrication, rope rescue, ice water rescue, Rapid Intervention, and half a dozen other kinds of emergency response. I'm quite used to working both with multiple safety systems in place and occasionally in situations which simply cannot be made safe. Sometimes, I am responsible for the safety of the general public in places.

Here's the thing - we have safety plans in place which overlap and provide wide margins whenever possible. We do this because stuff happens. You can't always predict or plan for which stuff will happen. Fires do not happen only in poorly maintained homes with inattentive owners. They can happen nearly anywhere, and at any time.

When safety systems work, we don't see that as a sign of danger, we see it as a confirmation that the safety systems were necessary. We still review each incident to see what could or should have been done better -- but that doesn't mean we stop taking any action because we declare things as unsafe.

Re:Is a near miss proof of danger, or of safety? (5, Informative)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873322)

The exact reason for the 5 mile radius has to do with the errors associated with radar and how far a plane can travel in the time it takes for the radar sweep to update. It's generally 3 mile radius/1000ft vertical near airports, 5 mile radius/1000ft vertical away from airports up to flight level 290, then 5 mile radius/2000ft vertical above that.

but yes, you're correct, it's generally a system that 'fails well'.

I am an airline Pilot (5, Insightful)

occasional user (737487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871934)

Back in the day (60s) NASA did a lot of safety work and one of the things that came out of it was the scientific analysis of fatigue. The whole set of transportation rules (trucks, trains, airplane) that deal with fatigue, such as limits on duty days came from this. They identified short and long-term fatigue. Now your airline pilot is certain to be safe from a fatigue standpoint, but your surgeon might be on his 49t hour awake, but that's for another discussion. Next they determined that pilots are so in fear of getting in trouble that they keep information about mistakes to themselves. "Hey!" someone wondered. Let's take this and use it as an incentive. So they came up with a program where if you screwed up, if you told them about what happened and your recommendation to keep it from happening again, they would give you immunity from getting in trouble. A flood of these reports started coming in (like the one from the previous poster yahoo who busted airspace and blames it on a controller). Now these are anonymous. The form that comes back is a receipt with your identifying info taken off of it. But...it's not hard to tell that an Airbus 319 heading from Denver to Chicago at 9:00 at night on November 30th belongs to...Frontier Airlines. And then the pilots can be identified through their flight time...and that's about as appealing to pilots as posting their medical records on line. The rabble-rousing reporters don't understand the program, the benefits or the rationale behind it. Publishing the data isn't going to make our airspace safer, it's going to ensure a drop in participation (I don't want to see my name in the headlines...especially if I am in an accident and an investigative reporter data mines the records to find the NASA reports I made, don't think it won't happen). Most of the reports are for altitude busts (you get in trouble if you cause a "deal", or a loss of separation with another airplane), mistakenly crossing a runway when not authorized or for getting your paperwork screwed up. Interestingly, one of the first articles to come out from this debate was about a flight crew who fell asleep on the way to Denver and reported it to NASA. No, they didn't get in trouble, but a reporter figured out that it was a Frontier flight (that's why I used the example) and it's no secret who was assigned to that flight, any Frontier employee could look up the records on the computer. Do you think those guys are going to ever file a report again? Both NASA and the NTSB do a good job making recommendations. The airlines and their hand-puppet, the FAA do a very good job of ignoring them.

Re:I am an airline Pilot (1)

occasional user (737487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21871962)

How 'come everyone else can use paragraphs, but it took mine out? I'm not a run-on kinda guy.

Re:I am an airline Pilot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872336)

If you post as "Plain Old Text", it'll convert line breaks. If you post as, say, "HTML Formatted", they will not be converted.

(This is Plain Old Text.)

Re:I am an airline Pilot (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872068)

a-fucking-men. Slashdot geeks: We'll leave the computers to you, you leave the flying to pilots, eh?

Dickheads. You're no better then the "soccer moms" you always go on about. So smug you know a bit about technology. But fucking useless outside of your field of expertise.

Let's snuff out needless rabble. (1)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872280)

Aviation has a long history of safety. It was a perilous profession in the early days, and hanger talk saved many live before "safety" became quantified. NASA safety reports served as a means to "save your ass" if you committed an error that might get you a violation if discovered but not reported. They weren't the first. The concept is that a mistake made by one is a mistake to be made by many. All you need do was fess up and you might get a mulligan- no harm no foul (with limitations- intentional acts are not protected.) The lesson learned will be taught to those who follow- free as in speech! This specific program has ended, and regardless of how badly everyone feels NASA has dealt with public dissemination of the data, I must point out that the program ensured anonymity and this is why it worked. They never intended this program to become a public conversation piece by those outside the community. Everyone take note here- no profession uses safety data as well as aviation. Whatever you do for a living, there are lessons to learn from this profession.

What's cryptic about the data? (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872564)

You have 3 tables,

Table 1 (746 pages):
Column A1 - Flight Hours (as labeled)
Column A2 - Flight Legs (as labeled)

Based on the values in the table, I'm guessing this covers a 5-6 month period. (based on my information of a max. 80 flight hours/month).

Table 2 (746 pages):
Column A8 - Career Hours (as labeled)

Table 3 (746 pages):
Acft 1
Acft 2
Acft 3
Acft 4
Acft 5
Acft 6

I think it's pretty obvious that "Acft" means aircraft. The document details the flight histories of the pilots in the response set, with 1 row per pilot. However, it does not provide any informaion on the reported incident rates seen by those pilots.

Cryptic? Not really. Incomplete? Definitely.

"how to use it?" (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872782)

it's DATA.

how stupid are these people they need instructions on how to "use" it.

Reminds me of these idiots who think economics has a "goal" of maximum efficiency.

how to find your arse
get both hands and a flashlight and start looking
since you need instructions on how to use data it will probably take a long time

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21872880)

Actually Ive heard on NPR that NASA read the data wrong, so wrong in fact that it appears (falsely)that the dangers are four times as bad. So even if they showed you how they did it , the end results would be grossly overstated.

C'mon! Wake up people!. (1)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872930)

.... nor did it provide keys to unlock the cryptic codes used in the dataset.'"

It's because all the keys in the datasets identify different kinds of UFOs !!

Stuck Mic (4, Interesting)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873274)

if you're interested in airline safety, there's a guy named "Stuck Mic" that posts a good bit on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=stuckmic [youtube.com] best i remember, he's either an air traffic controller(or was), and some of the problems go all the way back to the illegal controller strike back during the Reagan Administration. seems there's been an effort under way ever since to replace controllers with an automated system, with the results being that more money goes into the automation effort than actually training and paying a sufficient number of people to do the job. fwiw, i don't have a dog in this fight, just found it interesting. i'm sure there's three sides to everything. they also have a website here: http://www.stuckmic.com/ [stuckmic.com]

Re:Stuck Mic (4, Interesting)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21873356)

You're right, there are three sides to everything, here's my side. I should mention I am about to graduate from a college with a CTI program with the goal of being a controller.

The odds that the FAA will ever get a fully automated system off the ground are essentially zero in my opinion. There are still airspace restructuring plans from decades ago that were canceled after running way over budget and missing every single deadline. The idea that the FAA will now leap from having equipment still branded with the Civil Aeronautics Board logo (like they do now) to a state of the art computer system is laughable.

The current stated goal of the FAA is to progress to 'Free Flight' where essentially pilots pick their flight path rather than being assigned one by ATC. Controllers then only issue commands to pilots if there is a potential conflict. If I were to start my career in ATC tomorrow, I would sincerely be shocked if it were implemented before I retired.

But then again, we could see another aluminum shower (mid-air collision) and that's been a pretty strong motivator in the past.
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