To PHL_APP I realize that when controllers make mistakes aircraft that are put to position will be overflown by one on final at best. I also realize that when a controller makes a mistake and clears someone for takeoff with another at an intersection ahead by mistake causes problems. My question is what is the motivation for the change in phraseology. If the controller says:
"American 86 position and hold" or "American 86 taxi into position and hold" with whatever runway you choose with someone on final, how does saying it differently make this unsafe act change?
You are confusing two separate changes here. First, the phraseology change from "taxi into position and hold" to "position and hold" was done over a year ago. It has nothing to do with any safety issues and was an attempt to reduce phraseology. One of the few attempts to reduce verbiage ever. Most changes add verbiage to appease the attorneys.
Now the next issue, and completely unrelated to the first issue, is the FAA's ill-advised attempt at trying to fix a problem at isolated airports by abolishing position and hold nationwide. Most airports have never had an incident or operational error caused by p&h. It is a historically proven safe procedure. For whatever reasons, certain facilities have had problems with p&h. Instead of addressing that small minority of locations, the FAA took the shotgun approach to fixing it and declared that p&h would be banned nationwide. That decision was made by individuals who haven't seen a headset in several years.
When the people who still wear headsets expressed their utter shock at such an incredible knee-jerk reaction, then the FAA recanted, but short of rescinding the edict, they told facilities to justify why they need p&h. That's called covering your 6. (Think about it.) Now waivers are issued base upon these justifications.
P&H is an incredibly useful and safe tool for controllers. Try to imagine this scenario. Intersecting runways with departures on one and arrivals on another landing at 3 mile intervals. You place an aircraft into position and hold on the departure runway awaiting the arrival to pass through the intersection. You clear the departure for takeoff, he rolls through the intersection just prior to the next arrival crossing the landing threshold on the intersecting arrival runway. A literal ATC ballet. A thing of beauty. Listen to the Vintage SFO recording in the Audio Clips http://www.liveatc.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=598forum
with an SFO airport diagram http://www.airnav.com/airport/KSFO
in front of you and try to keep up with that guy. This is exactly what he is doing.
Now, take away the ability to put an aircraft into p&h and you kill that timing. The departure is sitting on a taxiway facing 180° to the departure runway. You clear them for takeoff. How much longer do you think that will take? How much more additional spacing will be required between the arrivals? I don't know. Neither does the SFO controller. How about when one of these operations doesn't work and you have to send the arrival around when the departure is rolling too slowly? Talk about an unsafe procedure.
OK, I'm done ranting.
Hope that helps clear up the difference in these two unrelated issues and gives a little background on why the real controllers were so concerned.