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July 27, 2014

The Vectors of August

As I have written about in two earlier posts, I believe a few things.
  • I believe in young people, their clear eyes and uncompromised souls, their desire for justice and their energy.
  • I believe in people with a lot of experience and their capability to keep non-standard situations from cascading into a feedback loop of deteriorating conditions.
  • On weekends, the experienced people leave the young people unsupervised and they gain experience. On Mondays, the geezers try to cauterize the damage and convey the lessons.
  • In August, the experienced people go on extended vacations and leave the young people unsupervised, and things like WW1 and WW2 are moving into play just as the oldsters are coming back to work and getting briefed.
  • This is why I think the French are the most pragmatic people: they shut everything down in August.

Globally, the world enters this August with a local conflict in the Ukraine turned into a proxy conflict between Russia and US. ISSA declares a caliphate across Syria and Iraq. Israel in ground combat in Gaza, and opponents are well-equipped with missiles. What could go wrong?

I'd like to look at just one component of the modern world: civilian commercial aviation (airlines), while also pointing out that in many parts of the world August is the worst month for thunderstorms and rerouting. Thunderstorms also introduce non-standard operations, unplanned deviations, unexpected puzzle points into the air traffic control system.

August vacations present a double operational whammy: peak travel loads with staffing skewed to the less-experienced folks.

So take the European - North African - Middle Eastern airspace corridors, add thunderstorms, and then add one or two hastily declared no-fly zones because we "just realized" that (1) lots of motivated people can shoot down planes and (2) sometimes it happens by mistake. Paradoxically there would be tremendous confusion and possibility for error, introduced by a laudable desire for safety. The Euro ANSP's (air navigation service providers) will shut things down or slow things down in the face of the challenge, but the North African and Middle Eastern ANSP's are often under considerable political pressure.

Could it be that one of the next CNN special events won't be an airliner shot down by a Manpads or a Buk battery, but rather two airplanes knocked down by the confusion of thunderstorms and no-fly corridors during August vacation schedules?



Darrell Issa said...

I've come a long way since my first caliphate that dominated the California used car market

Joe said...

Fortunately for Europe, their aviators almost never see the eschaton-scale thunderstorms we take for granted in America.

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