On July 1, 2002, a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev 154 carrying 52 Russian children heading for a Spanish holiday and a DHL Boeing 757 cargo plane collided over Lake Constance in southern Germany, killing 72 persons.With chagrin, I referred my colleagues to an unpublished article I wrote in the late 1980s entitled "Collision Evasion System." That day I got to thinking about a memoir I had put aside back then. Surely it's out of date, I thought to myself. Some of it is, of course, but most is, alas, not. So, with a deep sigh, I have tweaked up the manuscript and published the thing under its original title, hoping that someone active in air traffic control will find the information useful, even compelling.
Most of the historical events treated in the Internet Version of Squawk 1200 took place decades ago -- before push-button phones and TV-remotes, before zip codes and personal computers. Here is a history of technologies that should be so out of date as to be of no relevance to anybody. Nevertheless, air traffic control continues decade after decade to operate with embarrassingly obsolete technologies and in full reliance on the perfection of people made of the same protoplasm as mine.
Cold realities continue to whisper into my ear that the last major midair collision has not yet occurred.
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