Because runway incursions are on everyone’s radar (they have been on the NTSB’s “most wanted transportation safety improvements list” since 1990), the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General plans to look more closely at how the FAA is managing the airport surface detection equipment–model X (ASDE-X) program. ASDE-X provides detailed information to air traffic controllers, but not directly to pilots, about aircraft runway and taxiway operations.
Across the U.S., in all but four states, there are no fewer than 250 airport towers operated by non-FAA controllers employed by three private FAA contractors. The towers provide ATC services to a wide range of users, including general aviation, passenger and cargo airlines and the military.
The NTSB has opened the public docket of another high-profile close call at a major airport, this one at Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD) Airport. Just before noon on Aug.
It could have been the most expensive ball bearing the Marines had ever bought. A team of 50 Marines, moving in slow, shoulder-to-shoulder search patterns for more than an hour, had located seven of a set of eight half-inch-diameter ball bearings that fell from a vehicle at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz. The eighth was proving elusive.
Pilots taxiing at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) are being asked to pay special attention as they approach Runway 13/31, especially during construction season when the runway is active more often than usual. A new airport notice, FLL 2012-09-12, says runway incursions have resulted from pilot inattention. “Aircraft southbound on Taxiway ‘Q’ are failing to hold short of RWY 13/31 when required by ATC. Aircraft taxiing to RWY 9L via Taxiway ‘P’ and Taxiway ‘E’ are failing to turn left at Taxiway ‘E’ and enter RWY 13/31 instead.”
The NTSB’s initial report of the July 31 loss of standard ATC separation between three regional airliners operating near Washington’s Reagan Airport (DCA) said the aircraft were not as close as some people at first believed. The Board cited poor ATC coordination as the reason for the incident. The NTSB said the Potomac Tracon supervisor called the supervisor at DCA tower at 2.00 p.m.
San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) Runway 28 Left will be closed on weekends for runway and taxiway work through October 1. The work is expected to cut the airport’s normal arrival rate of 60 aircraft per hour almost in half between 10 p.m. Friday nights and 8 a.m. Mondays.
Norwood (Mass.) Memorial Airport has scheduled periodic runway closures over the next three weeks to accommodate construction projects. Runway 10/28 will remain closed completely until September 28. Meanwhile, Runway 17/35 will be closed from 0700 to 1700 (local time) on the following days: September 12, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 25. Both runways are 4,000 feet long. For more information, contact the airport manager at (781) 255-5616 or the FBO, FlightLevel Aviation, at (800) 370-8680.
A major runway relocation project has been completed at New Hampshire’s Nashua-Boire Field Airport. The project, funded by the FAA, relocated Runway 14/32 some 300 feet to the north, allowing for adequate separation from a nearby taxiway. It also extended the runway by 500 feet, to 6,000 feet, and added overrun safety areas at both ends. The runway is now available for visual landings, with full operation expected on November 15, by which time navaids will have been relocated and instrument approach procedures published.