Safety: Innovation or Unionization? Plus Free Alcohol and Double Elite Qualifying Miles (Bit’s ‘n Pieces for May 21, 2014)

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Automating ATC is a very tricky problem. I have a friend whose academic research area of expertise is the design of automated methods for ATC. Clearly there are times where you need a human to be making judgments, so you can’t fully automate it. However, if you automate too much of it, the controllers get bored and out of practice. Thus, when you really need them, they make too many mistakes. On the other hand, if you don’t automate any of it, the controllers can get overwhelmed, making it hard to focus on the important parts while making sure the mundane stuff is also dealt with. Finding the sweet spot is not easy, but there are people working on it.

  2. The challenge is that automation may or may not provide any measurable increase in safety. For example the system crash at LA center earlier in the year because 1 aircraft did someone outside the programmed parameters of the system.

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