Moving air traffic controllers from the Westbury facility is riveting.

Moving air traffic controllers from the Westbury facility is riveting. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Air controllers miss mark with threats

So, as many as 17 certified air traffic controllers might need to move to Philadelphia “Keep controllers in Westbury,” Editorial, May 16].

In 1981, after years of offering the Federal Aviation Administration solutions for outdated technology that we air traffic controllers had to rely on, over 70% of the nation’s Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike. President Ronald Reagan fired us all.

The overwhelming majority of controllers were veterans, including Vietnam War vets. However, the FAA, airline pilots and airlines agreed to deregulate airlines, resulting in huge profits. In return, the airlines and pilots cooperated with the FAA to reorganize the entire air traffic system with military controllers and scabs.

Although many of us went to the Public Employment Relations Board to make our case, it was a done deal. The strike was never resolved. The air traffic controllers today benefit from our sacrifice with modern technology and pay.

Today’s median salary is about $130,000, and the idea that the controllers are threatening to resign rather than be transferred from Westbury to Philadelphia is absurd. Being a controller is not a job with a transferrable skill set on Long Island.

Many PATCO members endured extreme hardships in 1981. This new threat is nonsense unless they have an employable skill set. Since the government threw the Vietnam veterans to the wind, what do these people have that is more important?

— Frank Frisenda, Middle Island

When commissioned in 2005, the FAA’s New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) was considered a technological and operational marvel.

The notion of consolidating the management and “tracking” of multiple-airport aircraft was a compelling breakthrough. The TRACON played an essential role on 9/11 when all aircraft were ordered grounded and when it guided Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger with his Hudson River landing.

It became difficult to attract qualified personnel to relocate to Westbury, so a move away from Westbury was announced. That never materialized and the focus became “salvage Westbury.”

Then, the idea of transferring some TRACON responsibilities to Philadelphia Air Traffic Control surfaced. The impact is transferring 17 individuals to Philadelphia plus complex and expensive airspace and technology workarounds.

There have been offers of free land to relocate the TRACON out east. This comports with the FAA’s expressed intent to find a location that supports quality-of-life imperatives reflected in previously announced plans. “Breaking up” Westbury — that is, the Philadelphia move — will forever alter New York TRACON’s place as the global gold standard in the provision of safe and efficient air traffic control services.

— Dick Marakovits, Riverhead

The writer retired as an FAA air traffic manager for the New York Control Center at MacArthur Airport.

Dissimilar viewpoints on uncertain inflation

Remember the good ol’ days when people used to save for a rainy day? Well, finally, with most CD interest rates higher than 1%, those who need or want to save money for that next rainy day — like the next pandemic, next home, medical or car expenses — have a little ray of hope with higher interest rates for their savings.

Yet, the recent real estate frenzy has led some to spend wildly — maybe beyond their means — and bid up home prices greater than their asking price [“Median home prices reach new highs on LI,” News, May 16].

Years ago, our mortgage rate was considered favorable at 8.5%. It made us frugal and forced us to think carefully about needs versus our wants.

The article on inflation lightening [“Inflation eased in April,” LI Business, May 16] provides a little perspective in a demanding world, where I see people shell out a thousand dollars or more for a cellphone while luxury apartments and cars seem to be seen almost everywhere.

— Vivienne Lenk, Little Neck, Queens

The excuses are still the same for price increases since the pandemic ended. Most utilities, housing, groceries, gasoline, etc. seem to have taken to price gouging with the same excuse. It’s really greed.

How can an item in the grocery store increase in price from $12 to $17 seemingly overnight? How can a test at a veterinarian’s office rise from $50 to $80. I say it’s greed. When will all this end?

— Barbara Hansen, Smithtown

Will Suffolk sales tax on oil be banished?

Recently, Suffolk County Executive Edward Romaine outlined priorities for the coming year [“Exec outlines his priorities,” Long Island, May 8]. I couldn’t help but notice that he was silent about eliminating the sales tax on home heating oil. During his campaign, he mentioned that he would eliminate it. Will this happen or was it strictly for the benefit of his campaign?

— Bill Whiteford, Babylon Village

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