3 Links I Love: Interviewing American’s President, Dead ATC Reform, Autonomous Vehicles at Airports

Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
High Flyer Interview: American Airlines President, Robert IsomAirways
Chris Sloan sat with Robert Isom recently to talk about a variety of topics from the 737 MAX to how to better support employees.

Two for the road:
Post-Mortem on 2017 US ATC Corporation Effort Reason Foundation via View from the Wing
Curious what happened to air traffic control reform? Apparently the President gave up on it, so proponents did too.

Self-driving snowplows are clearing runways at airportDigital Trends (via Eye on LA Aviation – subscribe)
This seems like a sensible early use of autonomous technology to me.

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4 comments on “3 Links I Love: Interviewing American’s President, Dead ATC Reform, Autonomous Vehicles at Airports

  1. With the snowplows, I’m surprised that “follow the leader” plows aren’t being tested as an intermediary step, with a plow with a human in it (either driving or watching the other vehicles and communicating with ATC and the plows’ controller back in an office somewhere) in the lead, and other robotic plows following platoon style. While robotic snowplows make some sense for airports, I’d want to make sure that they can recognize and stop in near white-out conditions when a Cessna (or a large animal, for that matter), turns onto the wrong taxiway and heads straight for them, let alone if an A380 did that.

    Having recently read through MKE’s snowplowing plan, the plans that airports have to file with the feds are very detailed and precise.

    On another note, I’m surprised that there aren’t robotic deicers in use yet.

    1. Well the snow plows are all following a leader who programmed in their driving directions months or even years ago… Honestly the self driving snowplows were kindof unimpressive, like robots that follow lines in the floor, but in this case the lines are just GPS coordinates.

      They’re just known technology applied to a different application.

  2. That autonomous plow thing is pretty cool—considering that at an airport, all the activity is tightly-managed, and having a bunch of plow drivers on call for a snowstorm is expensive, this seems like an easy win for autonomous vehicles. It just goes to show that a lot of tech progress isn’t necessarily going to apply to super-broad scenarios immediately (for example, we’re all going to be driving our own cars for quite a while), instead, it will affect very specific use cases and verticals.

    With regard to the Robert Isom interview: Usually I’m not the type to get worked up about shrinking seat pitches—I’m an informed frequent flyer, and I understand that the demand for cheap flights means it will keep happening, and that there will always be other options for more money. But still, occasionally there are things that make me take the pearl-clutching consumer advocate point of view, like 10-abreast 777s and super-tiny lavs. I’m in my 30s and in decent shape, so when even I have trouble fitting and moving around in a newer lav, I worry what it must be like for people like my parents, who have a harder time moving around, and I think, ‘when will it stop?’

  3. The death of the privatization initiative is a victory against people who keep banging on about the “inefficiencies” in our ATC system, and yet seem mostly concerned (as indicated by that article) in gutting labor rules, procurement rules, and environmental and citizen oversight to the benefit of whoever keeps cutting donation checks to the Reason Foundation and other libertarian leaning non profits.

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