Letter to the editor

You created a misimpression that the Federal Aviation Administration's user request evaluation tool is "late" ["Data determining Free Flight future," FCW.com, Oct. 2].

The General Accounting Office report that spurred the article alluded to the placement of the tool toward the tail end of the overall Free Flight Phase 1 schedule. The deployment of the user request evaluation tool comes late in the Free Flight Phase 1 time frame (1998-2002), but it is on time.

It's important to note that the tool itself, the locations and the timeframe were selected by an industry group that included controllers and pilots.

The article also overlooked the impressive results already being racked up by the user request evaluation tool. It already is in use in Indianapolis and Memphis, Tenn., air space. Direct routes there are up 40 percent. The tool is saving airlines in that air space more than $1.5 million per month. The tool has enabled a considerable reduction in airspace restrictions as well.

John Thornton
Director, FAA Free Flight

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