Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.

12.09.2005

Southwest's first fatality accident

My heart is breaking for the family of this child who died when the Southwest jet skidded off the runway at Chicago's O'Hare airport last night.

I just can't imagine something like that happening to one of my children. The misery, pain, heartache. It has to be awful. I also feel bad for the Southwest family. This is one company I have really admired. They seem to do things right. I prefer to fly Southwest when I have a choice.

However, this accident is an example of why I support the Wright Amendment. It probably doesn't hepl that I worked at DFW Airport this past year, but I genuinely believe it is dangerous to be flying those big jets into airports located withing the heart of a city with development all the way around it. I know, I know. Big cities are like that and have them all around it probably wouldn't be feasible for most metropolitan areas to not have airports in the heart of their cities. Ok, I see that. But, we don't have that problem in the Metroplex. DFW Airport has more than 18,000 acres with only Denver being bigger acreage wise. So, no one has to fly into Love Field. This Chicago accident is one I fear will happen in Dallas, too, if longer haul flights and bigger jets start going into Love. I really wish Southwest would fly out of DFW.

I am so sad for this child's family. They will be in my prayers.

27 Comments:

  • At 4:48 PM, December 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    On the surface, your comments make sense.

    Unfortunately, however, additional traffic at DFW Airport would likely be directed to the only runway with excess capacity at present-- runway 17L/35R.

    Runway 17L/35R was completed as part of an expansion program at DFW in the 1990's in response to the fact that the airport's other runways were full to capacity.

    As documented in several lawsuits filed over the expansion (and the Environmental Impact Study), this runway sits immediately adjacent to a densely populated Irving residential neighborhood... in some respects the problems with this runway are greater than those at Love Field.

    If Southwest were to move, it would just be shifting the planes from flying over one urban area to another. Nothing would be gained.

     
  • At 6:00 PM, December 09, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I hear what you're saying. I don't know which runway you're talking about. There are some runways I've seen that are closer to neighborhoods than I think they should be, but they are currently expanding three or four runways that are NOT near neighborhoods and I believe that may be where excess traffic may go.

    DFW is surrounded by residential and commercial, but not near as closeby as Love Field.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if my theory is flawed, but I still stand behind it.

     
  • At 7:23 PM, December 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The runways which are being expanded are those which are already at capacity. The additional pavement will not accommodate any additional flights, it will simply make it easier for American to stack up more aircraft waiting to take off.

    The runway which was opened to accommodate additional traffic is on the far east side of the airport, near Valley View/Walnut Hill, etc. in Irving.

    When that runway gets filled, DFW plans to build another one which would be directly south of Grapevine, again, just as close to developed areas as the runways at Love Field.

     
  • At 1:20 AM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Astrosmith said…

    Well, I can see your point AoM, but personally I would get rid of the Wright Amendment and see what the market does. How much more traffic could Love Field actually handle?

    Plus, I would like to fly Southwest between Denver and Dallas. Either get rid of the Wright Amendment or have SWA fly out of DFW. Short of that, I have to fly Frontier, which is a pretty nice airline except that they fly those dang Airbus planes instead of good old 737s.

    The cause of that accident, IMHO, is the icy weather conditions. Prayers for the family of the little boy of course, but it's amazing that so little injury and damage was done.

     
  • At 12:35 PM, December 10, 2005, Anonymous Army of Dad said…

    Well I think Love's runways are shorter than DFW's. Plus I know DFW has more capacity than that. Don't forger that Delta cut almost all of their flights!

    As such I believe AoM's theory still valid.

     
  • At 3:21 PM, December 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The new runway at DFW Airport (17L/35R) is actually shorter than the primary runway used at Love Field. This is the only runway which currently has excess capacity (indeed, that is why it was built after the first six runways... DFW simply couldn't handle the load with six runways alone).

    Even the 7th runway may not be enough. DFW has plans to build an 8th runway on the northwest side of the airport... again, this one would be shorter than the primary runway used at Love Field.

    Although you are correct that Delta cut almost all their flights early this year, American Airlines has replaced all of them, and traffic volumes today are actually greater than they were when the Delta hub was in operation.

    To summarize:
    1) Redirecting Love Field traffic to DFW would actually mean taking aircraft from a longer runway (DAL runway 13R/31L) to a slightly shorter runway (DFW runway 17L/35R).

    2) Notwithstanding Delta's severe cuts to its DFW flight schedules, DFW is actually busier today due to a rapid replacement of service by American Airlines.

    3) DFW's six longer runways reached capacity years ago... that's why the 7th, shorter runway was built at great expense (and an 8th runway, also very short, is in the planning stages).

     
  • At 6:54 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger SWF said…

    My brother is a pilot for Southwest so it scared the poop out of me to hear about the accident on the news.

    I see your points on the Wright Amendment, but I'm still a fan of getting rid of it. Limiting Southwest's outgoing flights is a major nuisance for me. I'm selfish.

     
  • At 9:07 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Astrosmith said…

    How about they just add Colorado on to the states allowed to fly to/from Love Field like they did with Mississippi and Alabama a few years ago?

     
  • At 7:31 AM, December 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Write your congressman/woman.

    Just be sure to know that our ethically-challenged and heavily conflicted Texas politicians, Rep. E.B. Johnson and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, will stand in your way.

    Both receive stubstantial monetary benefits (direct and indirect) from the DFW Airport Board.

     
  • At 8:26 AM, December 12, 2005, Anonymous kr said…

    Tragic story about the little boy being killed. There is only two people to blame for this, the pilots. It was THEIR call to land....VERY poor judgement-strictly pilot error.

     
  • At 9:05 AM, December 12, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    KR is married to a pilot, FYI, in case any of you didn't know that already.

    And, *shrug* regarding the Wright Amendment and DFW ... I would like to see the market place do what it does best. I just worry about safety. Plus, whether Love was a party to the agreement or not, they KNEW about it and chose not to raise a stink about it when it was passed.

     
  • At 10:57 AM, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    DFW doesn't present offer any meaningful safety advantages, and that is supported by the fact that its major tenant, American Airlines, has one of the worst safety records in the U.S. airline industry.

    DFW's complex traffic patterns and long lines of packed commercial airliners setting just a few feet off of active runways make for a potentially lethal cocktail.

    This in addition to the fact mentioned above, DFW's long runways are already packed to capcity. More flights at DFW will just go be directed to the new, shorter runway which involves low approaches over Irving neighborhoods north of Hwy 183.

     
  • At 11:40 AM, December 12, 2005, Blogger North Dallas Thirty said…

    Actually, I think Midway IS the best argument out there for removing the Wright Amendment from a business standpoint. Southwest has flown anywhere and everywhere out of that airport, and all their existence has done to O'Hare is to provide far more incentive for Chicagoans to travel by air. It doesn't matter if prices drop as long as you can make it up on volume.

    That being said, Midway is still a scary airport; landing a big jet on a 6500-foot runway is doing it with very little margin for error. However, the two main runways at Love (13/31L and R) are, respectively, 8800 and 7752 feet long - a huge difference.

     
  • At 12:21 PM, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm...this is a really interesting point that I hadn't considered before. I had always thought there was economic reasons for wanting to consolidate airline traffic at DFW, but it sounds like there are legitimate safety reasons as well.

     
  • At 1:53 PM, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The supposed "economic" reasons to consolidate at DFW are only espoused by the DFW Airport Board, Americcan Airlines and their cronies... but have been debunked by just about everyone else (dozens of major newspapers, includng the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, leading think tanks like the National Taxpayers Union, National Center for Public Policy Research, FreedomWorks, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, etc., and most importantly, the overwhelming majority of North Texans).

    Similarly, the "safety" issue is just another myth cooked up by the spin-masters at American Airlines. The FAA has gone on the record stating that there are no safety issues at Love Field. In contrast, a series of articles in major newspapers this year have documented allegations of unsafe practices at DFW Airport. To a certain extent, that's understandable, given DFW's numerous runways in close proximity, heavy air traffic, and enormous numbers of required active runway crossings.

     
  • At 2:55 PM, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't think the argument Army of Mom is making is that Love Field is an unsafe airport overall. However, her point that a smaller airport located in a more dense urban area makes unfortunate accidents like this more likely certainly seems logical. I can certainly understand why she favors the Wright Amendment if this is a primary concern of hers.

     
  • At 9:06 AM, December 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The ironic thing about this argument is that keeping Wright in place does nothing to improve the safety of DAL. Wright does not limit aircraft operations nor does it increase the clear zones nor lengthen the runway. The ONLY thing that Wright does is limit where a plane can fly and how the seats on that plane can be markteted. That only has an economic impact and absolutely no safety impact.

     
  • At 10:10 AM, December 13, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Anon - you're absolutely right that Wright has no safety impact in it. What I'm saying is that if you start flying bigger planes in there with more fuel - to go longer distances - in my opinion (which is simply as a layman with no technical knowledge of aircrafts, etc) I feel it will just increase the danger to the surroundings of Love Field.

    *shrug*

    Again, I'm sure there are experts crawling all over the place on both sides of the issue. As a Fort Worth native, of course, I tend to favor the flights staying in DFW. However, I'm not opposed OVERALL to the Wright Amendment being lifted. I just fear that there may be dangerous accidents at Love. Plus, as much as I love Southwest and I'm a HUGE fan of the company, I just don't quite think it is right that they knew this amendment is in place and they chose to build their business in spite of it and now they're crying foul.

     
  • At 10:38 AM, December 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A car passenger was killed in remarkably simmilar fassion at DFW, an airport with swaths of perimeter land. Would you suggest reevaluating the safety of DFW?

    Accidents happen. Aviation, regardless of airport, remains by far the safest form of transportation for those in the aircraft and those on the ground. This accident changes nothing but further reinforce the safety of those millions of passengers who arrive at their destination without incident. Southwest Airlines' 35 years of high-frequency opperation with no fatal incidents is a history matched by few (if any) carriers around the globe.

    The FAA has deemed these facilities safe for rigerous commercial aviation. Mandatory safety enhancements, passed months before this incident, will only make them safer.

     
  • At 3:04 PM, December 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    TRA, I too find it incredibly frustrating that Southwest has thumbed their nose at the plan to consolidate traffic at DFW. It showed a real disregard for the communities wishes in the 70's and 80's.

     
  • At 1:52 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As shown by scientific poll after scientific poll, the residents overwhelmingly want the Wright Amendment repealed.

    We're sick and tired of getting bled to death by the American Airlines monopoly.

     
  • At 2:17 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Army of Dad said…

    Oh the FAA, yeah and we all know how well the government does it's job. They performed really well on 9/11! /sarcasm

    I haven't seen any polls not done soley in Dallas County that favor Wright's repeal.

    Southwest knew the rules when they chose to play the game at Love. Only now they choose to bitch about it. Herbbie K can blow me, he made his bed now he can lie in it.

     
  • At 8:34 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Apparently, the residents around Love Field have similar concerns about Southwest flying long-haul flights.

     
  • At 8:40 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Three scientific polls have been done by three different organizations (including the Dallas Morning News) which polled Dallas County, Tarrant County and Denton County.

    Each survey reached the same conclusion, the majority of residents in each and every county supported repeal of the Wright Amendment.

    I can provide detailed references, if necessary.

     
  • At 8:42 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Love Field Citizens Action Committee is a total joke. Its just a group of 4 self-appointed cronies of American Airlines... neighborhood residents have absolutely zero say in the committee's operation or its shady leaders (one of whom doesn't even live in Dallas).

     
  • At 7:01 AM, December 15, 2005, Anonymous Army of Dad said…

    You are going to need proof. If Fort Worth thinks that Wright's repeal will help Dallas there is no way the pollsters could get them to say they want the repeal. Of course we all know how pollsters skew their data to reach the conclusion they want. Not to mention the poll questions themselves so you will need the whole data set to convince me.

    Twain was right, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

     
  • At 7:29 AM, December 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Army of Dad, point well taken.

    Three polls have been performed to date, each by highly regarded national polling firms.

    The one which you might find the most interesting was commissioned by the Dallas Morning News in 1997. At that time, the DMN editorial policy was against repeal. However, their own poll showed that residents disagreed with them and wanted repeal.

    In Tarrant County, 65% wanted repeal, only 21% were in favor of keeping the restrictions. Other county results were as follows:

    Dallas - 69% for repeal; 24% against
    Denton - 83% for repeal; 13% against
    Collin - 71% for repeal; 19% against

    The poll was performed by Blum & Weprin Associates of New York and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

    The article summarizing the results was published in the Dallas Morning News on October 12, 1997 under the title: "Survey finds most oppose airport limits."

    More recently, the Tarrant County GOP surveyed its own members and found them overwhelmingly in favor of repeal. This was discussed in the Fort Worth Star Telegram earlier this year.

     

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