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Richard Collins said something in the next to last paragraph of his portion of that article that must be corrected.
His comment: "What we don't have is the FAA system of shutting downe routes or terminal areas that are about to be or are affected by storms."
There is absolutely no FAA "system", practice, history of, or anything else of shutting down terminal areas for thunderstorms. Richard has written so much on the subject of thunderstorms that he should know this. Unfortunately I find many pilots do not understand that the only person that closes an airport for a thunderstorm is a captain who refuses a takeoff or approach clearance. Then and only then will an airport "stop" operations, unless they can find another taker.
Some very experienced pilots seem to think that the controller won't let them land if things are too bad at the field. Wrong, wrong, and BTW wrong. The most recent fatal accident that demonstrated this was American at LIT. In that case conditions were so severe at the airport the controller feared for his own safety in the tower but cleared American to land.
Richard and every other pilot needs to know that the FAA has gone out of it's way to establish case law that says contollers are in no way responsible for safe operation of flight when it comes to weather. They are not allowed by their own procedures to stop flight operations for weather, especially in the case of thunderstorms. To do so would set a precedent that would then expose them to liability for future windshear accidents. This isn't my opinion, it's fact. The FAA won that position in litigation of the Delta L-1011 crash at DFW almost twenty years ago. That's why it is now possible to hear a clearance like this at airports with TDWR: "Airliner 123 expect loss of 80 kts on short final, you are cleared to land." One crew got such a clearance, thought the controller said 18 kts, continued and just avoided crashing. The tower didn't even bother to repeat the warning when the crew acknowledged the landing clearance. This is procedure and law and is the way it is.
Here are the times a controller might stop operations due to thunderstorms:
1) When they are abandoning the tower for personal safety.
2) No pilots will takeoff or land (in which case the controller didn't "stop" the operation)
3) There is burning wreckage on the field from an airplane that tried to takoff or land in the thunderstorm.
The program that changes routing for TRWs was born out of necessity, not for safety. They found that since pilots wouldn't fly through TRWs there was no use trying to send them there. So to avoid chaos they developed a reroute program.
But get it right about the terminal area. It is the PIC who closes the airport.
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