Thanks for that. I, like many everyday Americans, was unaware of what was going on there.
Was a mess...
One airport, one useable runway, tower in shambles.....recipe for disaster. Here's hoping the US military will have this straightened out quickly in Haiti.
(not a pilot so I had to look up TFR };^)
You raise excellent points; General Honore should know better. After the earthquake, the Port-au-Prince Airport was without power; no lights, no radar, no ATC. I’m guessing that everyone was operating on the “big sky, little airplane” theory. The fact that a number of flights made it into Haiti—without an accident—is a testament to the skill of the crews. I also give the FAA minor kudos for wisely halting flights into Port-au-Prince as the airfield became congested.
I’d also like to know how many Haitian controllers stayed on the job after the quake. With no power—and worries about their families—I’m sure that many of them headed home. That’s one reason the first two USAF aircraft to arrive (MC-130s out of Hurlburt) were carrying a number of combat controllers. They’re best known for directing airstrikes in support of ground forces, but they’re also fully-qualified air traffic controllers. For pilots flying into Port-au-Prince, that “voice on the other end” is probably an Air Force combat controller, or other military air traffic controllers.
I only hope they don’t decide to add UAVs to the mix (beyond Global Hawk, which flies 30,000 feet above everyone else). The FAA was adamant about no UAVs after Katrina, and they should hold the line this time. There will be a few near-misses in the skies above Haiti until the ATC situation is straightened out. Pilots don’t need to worry about dodging UAVs along with other aircraft.