FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023

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Air Traffic Control Facility Realignment Study.
SEC. 414. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL FACILITY REALIGNMENT STUDY

a) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall partner with a third party to conduct an Air Traffic Control Facility Realignment report to examine consolidating or otherwise reorganizing air traffic control work facilities and locations and airspace structure management.

(b) CONTENTS.—The report required by subsection (a) shall do the following:
(1) Evaluate the potential efficiencies that may result from a reorganization.
(2) Identify whether certain areas prone to congestion or staff shortages would benefit from enhanced flexibilities.
(3) Recommend opportunities for integration of separate facilities to create a more collaborative and efficient traffic control environment.

(c) REPORT AND BRIEFING.—
(1) TO THE ADMINISTRATOR.—Not later than September 30, 2025, the third party described in subsection (a) shall submit to the Administrator a report on the recommendations described in subsection (b)(3), and a copy of such report shall be transmitted to the labor organization representing air traffic controllers.
(2) TO CONGRESS.—Not later than 60 days after receiving the recommendations described in subsection (b)(3), the Administrator shall brief the relevant Congressional committees on such recommendations, as well as the Administrator’s plan, if any, to implement such recommendations.

Air Traffic Control Staffing Standards
SEC. 521. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STAFFING STANDARDS.

(a) FAA AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STAFFING STANDARDS.—The Administrator shall complete the requirements of subsection (b) and implement revisions to the FAA Certified Professional Controller (in this section referred to as ‘‘CPC’’) operational staffing targets, in cosultation with appropriate stakeholders including the exclusive bargaining representative of air traffic control specialists of the FAA certified under section 7111 of title 5, United States Code, by September 30, 2024.

(b) NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES STUDY.—
(1) STUDY.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall enter into appropriate arrangements with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (in this subsection referred to as the ‘‘National Academies’’) under which the National Academies will conduct a study of the methodology used by the Collaborative Resource Workgroup (in this subsection referred to as ‘‘CRWG’’) to determine CPC operational staffing targets needed to meet facility operational, statutory, and contractual requirements, including resources to develop, evaluate, and implement processes and initiatives affecting the national airspace system.
(2) CONTENTS.—The study required by paragraph (1) shall include the following elements:
(A) A review of similarities and discrepancies between methodologies used to develop the CRWG CPC operational staffing targets and the staffing targets developed by the FAA as reflected by the staffing standards used in the 2023 Controller Workforce Plan.
(B) An examination of the discrepancies between the CRWG CPC staffing targets and the FAA-developed CPC staffing standards used in the 2023 Controller Workforce Plan that contribute to a significant divergence in operational staffing headcounts (including with respect to CPCs, CPCs-in-training at new facilities, and trainees), CPC staffing targets, and staffing needs for air traffic controllers between fiscal year 2027 and fiscal year 2032 to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the national airspace system.
(C) An evaluation of—
(i) air traffic in the airspace of each air traffic control facility operated by the FAA;
(ii) air traffic controller position utilization;
(iii) attrition rates at each air traffic control facility operated by the FAA; and
(iv) the time needed to meet facility operational, statutory, and contractual requirements, including resources to develop, evaluate, and implement processes and initiatives affecting the national airspace system.
(D) For each air traffic control facility operated by the FAA, a description of—
(i) the current CPC staffing levels;
(ii) the operational staffing targets for CPCs;
(iii) the anticipated CPC attrition for each of the next 3 years; and
(iv) the number of CPC trainees.
(E) An examination of the FAA’s current and estimated budgets and funding needed to implement the CRWG CPC operational staffing targets and needs in comparison to such funding needed to implement the staffing standards developed by the FAA as reflected in the 2023 Controller Workforce Plan.
(F) An analysis of the recommendations included in Transportation Research Board Special Report 314, titled ‘‘The Federal Aviation Administration’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs’’ that have not yet been addressed or implemented by the Administrator.
(G) Recommendations for further action by the Administrator, as appropriate, to—
(i) address operational staffing requirements to meet facility operational, statutory, and contractual requirements; and
(ii) provide fulsome air traffic controller staffing to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the national airspace system, including the integration of new users, technologies, and procedures.
(3) CONSULTATION.—In conducting the study required by paragraph (1), the National Academies shall consult with—
(A) Federal Government and industry representatives;
(B) the exclusive bargaining representative of air traffic control specialists of the FAA certified under section 7111 of title 5, United 20 States Code; and
(C) other parties determined appropriate by the National Academies.
(4) REPORTS.—
(A) TO THE ADMINISTRATOR.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the National Academies shall submit to the Administrator a report on the results of the study required by paragraph (1), together with recommendations determined appropriate by the National Academies.
(B) TO CONGRESS.—Not later than 180 days after the date on which the National Academies submits the report under subparagraph (A), the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report describing—
(i) the results of the study required by paragraph (1);
(ii) the report submitted by the National Academies, including the recommendations of the National Academies; and
(iii) the Administrator’s implementation action required by subsection (a).

(c) REVISIONS TO THE CONTROLLER WORKFORCE PLAN.—Section 44506(e) of title 49, United States Code is amended—
(1) in paragraph (1)—
(A) by inserting ‘‘Collaborative Resource Workgroup (CRWG)’’ before ‘‘staffing standards’’; and (B) by striking ‘‘the number of air traffic controllers needed’’ and inserting ‘‘the number of fully certified air traffic controllers needed’’;
(2) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and
(3) by adding after paragraph (1) the following new paragraph:
‘‘(2) for each air traffic control facility operated by the Federal Aviation Administration—
‘‘(A) the current certified professional controller staffing levels;
‘‘(B) the Collaborative Resource Workgroup (CRWG) operational staffing targets for certified professional controllers;
‘‘(C) the anticipated certified professional controller attrition for each of the next 3 years; and
‘‘(D) the number of certified professional controller trainees;’’.
(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by subsection (c) shall take effect and apply to any reports submitted pursuant to section 44506(e) of title 49, United States Code, for each Controller Workforce Plan submitted after September 30, 2024.

Improved Access to ATC Sim Training
SEC. 530. IMPROVED ACCESS TO AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SIMULATION TRAINING.

(a) ACCESS.—The Administrator shall make tower simulator systems (in this section referred to as ‘‘TSS’’) more accessible to all air traffic controller specialists as signed to an air traffic control tower of the FAA (in this section referred to as an ‘‘ATCT’’), regardless of facility assignment, by carrying out the following:
(1) CLOUD-BASED VISUAL DATABASE AND SOFTWARE SYSTEM.—Not later than 30 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall develop and implement a cloud based visual database and software system that is compatible with existing and future TSS that includes, at a minimum—
(A) every ATCT’s unique runway layout, approach paths, and lines of sight; and
(B) specifications that meet all applicable data security requirements.
(2) UPGRADING TSS.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall upgrade existing, permanent TSS so that the TSS is capable of, at a minimum
(A) securely and quickly downloading data from the cloud-based visual database and software system implemented under paragraph (1);
(B) running scenarios for each ATCT involving differing levels of air traffic volume; and
(C) running scenarios for each ATCT involving varying complexities of air traffic (including, but not limited to, aircraft emergencies, rapidly changing weather, issuance of safety alerts, and recovering from unforeseen events or losses of separation).
(3) MOBILE TSS.—Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall acquire and implement mobile TSS at each ATCT that is without an existing, permanent TSS so that the mobile TSS is capable of, at a minimum, the functions described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (2).

(b) COLLABORATION.—In carrying out the activities under subsection (a), the Administrator may collaborate with the exclusive bargaining representative of air traffic controllers certified under section 7111 of title 5, United States Code.

Second FAA Academy
SEC. 533. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION ACADEMY AND FACILITY EXPANSION PLAN.

(a) PLAN.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—No later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall initiate the development of a plan to—
(A) expand overall FAA capacity relating to facilities, instruction, equipment, and training resources to grow the number of developmental air traffic controllers enrolled per fiscal year and support increases in FAA air controller staffing to advance the safety of the national airspace system; and
(B) establish a second FAA Academy in an area described in paragraph (2).
(2) AREA DESCRIBED.—An area described in this paragraph is a metropolitan statistical area in which each of the following is located:
(A) At least 2 large hub airports.
(B) An FAA Flight Standards District Office
(C) An FAA Certificate Management Office.
(D) An FAA regional headquarters.
(3) CONSIDERATIONS.—In developing the plan under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider—
(A) the resources needed to support an increase in the total number of developmental air traffic controllers enrolled at the FAA Academies;
(B) the resources needed to lessen FAA Academy attrition per fiscal year;
(C) how to modernize the education and training of developmental air traffic controllers, including through the use of new techniques and technologies to support instruction, and whether field training can be administered more flexibly, such as at other FAA locations across the country;
(D) the equipment needed to support expanded instruction, including air traffic control simulation systems, virtual reality, and other virtual training platforms;
(E) projected staffing needs associated with FAA Academy expansion and the operation of virtual education platforms, including the number of on-the-job instructors needed to educate and train additional developmental air traffic controllers;
(F) the use of existing FAA-owned facilities and classroom space and identifying potential opportunities for new construction;
(G) the costs of—
(i) expanding FAA capacity (as described in paragraph (1)(A)); and
(ii) establishing a second FAA Academy (as described in paragraph (1)(B));
(H) soliciting input from, and coordinating with, relevant stakeholders as appropriate, including the exclusive bargaining representative of air traffic control specialists of the FAA cer- tified under section 7111 of title 5, United States Code; and
(I) other logistical and financial considerations as determined by appropriate the Administrator.

(b) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress the plan developed under subsection (a).

(c) BRIEFING.—Not later than 180 days after the submission of the plan under subsection (b), the Administrator shall brief the appropriate committees of Congress on the plan, including the implementation of the plan.

Link: https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/BF163CA6-12C4-4992-A760-0A7D9378E759


Statement to foster discussion: These sections are a result of the NATCA PAC.
 
Realignment study to me sounds like, “we don’t want to or can’t budget for hiring more controllers so let’s combine facilities and then we can say we’re closer to 100% staffed.”

Good luck to all of us. 6 days mandatory workweeks everywhere. Lulz.
The staffing part seems to be saying so you spent all this time on the CRWG to show that staffing is fucked, so we are going to do a study of that study to see if that's accurate and then eventually make some recommendations on what to do and then Congress can ignore that
 
The staffing part seems to be saying so you spent all this time on the CRWG to show that staffing is fucked, so we are going to do a study of that study to see if that's accurate and then eventually make some recommendations on what to do and then Congress can ignore that
Your name has me rolling hahaha
 
Mobile TSS- booking now for birthday parties

a second academy campus? sureeee.

this part was interesting though
(B) the resources needed to lessen FAA Academy attrition per fiscal year;
(C) how to modernize the education and training of developmental air traffic controllers, including through the use of new techniques and technologies to support instruction, and whether field training can be administered more flexibly, such as at other FAA locations across the country;
 
Level 7 towers and below shouldn’t have to send controllers to “tower class.” It’s a waste of time, money, and resources. It would expedite the training pipeline at those facilities. Or, reduce the class to two to three weeks. Two of our guys who just went thru it said it was barely beneficial.
 
Level 7 towers and below shouldn’t have to send controllers to “tower class.” It’s a waste of time, money, and resources. It would expedite the training pipeline at those facilities. Or, reduce the class to two to three weeks. Two of our guys who just went thru it said it was barely beneficial
I'd expand on that and say that anyone going enroute doesn't need to go to OKC either. Every OKC grad goes through D and R school at their respective Z. Even Terminal only ERRs go through those same two classes at the Zs I've woked at. If there was anything special to OKC, I'd say a Z could do it with minimal delay as compared to time spent doing it in OKC.

I don't know how these are done or if they're effective at teaching anything, but maybe make everyone do an online basics course so they know aviation/atc-100 before showing up to their facility, and then let that place do the rest

It was rumoured at my CTI, back in the mid-00s, that CTI graduates were going to be allowed to go straight to their facilities. I know MARC existed before this, and their students bypassed OKC.
 
I'd expand on that and say that anyone going enroute doesn't need to go to OKC either. Every OKC grad goes through D and R school at their respective Z. Even Terminal only ERRs go through those same two classes at the Zs I've woked at. If there was anything special to OKC, I'd say a Z could do it with minimal delay as compared to time spent doing it in OKC.

I don't know how these are done or if they're effective at teaching anything, but maybe make everyone do an online basics course so they know aviation/atc-100 before showing up to their facility, and then let that place do the rest

It was rumoured at my CTI, back in the mid-00s, that CTI graduates were going to be allowed to go straight to their facilities. I know MARC existed before this, and their students bypassed OKC.
A couple? of years ago, facilities were accepting the USAF "pink card" and our paperwork from our technical school at Keesler AFB as a "CTO." This bypassed the silly Tower class at OKC. But now, that isn't the case, and the two guys that just went couldn't use it.
 
Why not axe basics, it’s a month long and most of it has nothing to do with air traffic control
Because VNY once tried to give me their departure procedure after I said I don't have DME. I then told clearance again that I don't have DME and he read me the DP with "Okay at 2 DME turn left heading..." Then I told him again that I don't have DME and asked if Tower could call the turn, he said "Okay hold on..." and someone else came back with "Okay at 2 DME turn left heading..."

I'm just bullshitting but yeah I agree basics is too long but there needs to be some basic understanding of navigation.
 
Because VNY once tried to give me their departure procedure after I said I don't have DME. I then told clearance again that I don't have DME and he read me the DP with "Okay at 2 DME turn left heading..." Then I told him again that I don't have DME and asked if Tower could call the turn, he said "Okay hold on..." and someone else came back with "Okay at 2 DME turn left heading..."

I'm just bullshitting but yeah I agree basics is too long but there needs to be some basic understanding of navigation.
Have you seen how many times someone is a slant alpha and has rnav fixes and no one says anything. Again basics is useless
 
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