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FAA needs an upgrade

Earlier this week, there was a scare in the skies that reminds many people of the situation that happened on one infamous day in 2001.  Flights all across the north east, reaching as far west as O’Hare in Chicago, were affected when the FAA was forced to ground hundreds of flights, due to a cascade of computer problems.  The systems that failed were absolutely crucial to safety and function, and with them unable to function as they were designed, there was a very high risk for catastrophic events.  The problem simply highlighted the FAA’s need for an overhaul to prevent disaster.

The FAA’s air traffic control systems are one of the many computer systems built years ago and still in use though there are many more efficient and reliable models and tools available today.  The problem with the FAA’s systems is very much like every other government system in the country.  While the government has no problem spending money on doing research on how much gastrointestinal discomfort a wombat might feel if it eats funny berries, they refuse to find the necessity to make sure the systems that safeguard human lives in a variety of aspects are kept up to date and working to the best of their abilities.

The FAA systems were once upon a time state of the art.  As with everything in technology however, state of the art lasts about as long as it takes to say it, meaning that while the system worked at the time, with the increased load placed upon it now with increases in travel frequency within the country, as well as flights coming in from abroad, means that an upgrade should have been in the works when the last system was implemented.

The problem ultimately resides in the government’s reluctance to spend money on anything it deems able to get by with what it has already.  The alternative is wasting the money on pet projects that serve no purpose other than to appease a very small group of people, usually those who donated to the politician’s campaign.  Its a corrupt system where the “Old Boy’s Club” of friends get to spend a blank check on things they would never have dropped money into themselves, but since the government’s paying, why not?  Instead of focusing on fixing potential problems and keeping the United States at the peak of technological advancement, the money that could be used to fuel progress is instead used to line bird cages and be thrown in fire pits to keep the flames of irrelevance burning strong.

One day, a disaster may happen in which the public outrage will be strong enough to force politicians to get off their self-serving pedestals and do something for the benefit of the nation, but it is unfortunate it takes such a situation to get the action that should have been executed preemptively.