As the result of a “call to action” on runway incursions last August, the FAA announced last month, the U.S. aviation community has initiated and completed “significant short-term” actions to improve safety at major airports in the U.S.
The NTSB has asked Congress to “convince the FAA of the need for immediate action” to prevent runway incursions. In an August 29 letter to 12 members of Congress, Safety Board chairman Carol Carmody and two Board members said the NTSB has issued 100 recommendations regarding runway incursions since 1983. The issue has been on the Safety Board’s list of “Most Wanted Safety Improvements” since 1990.
One of the newest ATC techniques is multilateration, where several small unattended receiving stations are dispersed around an airport to monitor transponder and TCAS transmissions from aircraft in the area. The received signals are then computer processed to pinpoint the exact location and identity of each aircraft.
In one of her first acts as chairman of the NTSB, Ellen Engleman vowed to take a fresh look at the Board’s safety advocacy programs, including its “Most Wanted” safety improvements.
The FAA has revised the Houston Class B airspace to contain the operations of jetliners to the new runways recently activated at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport. The revisions, which involve expanding the lateral limits of areas B, C and D, go into effect on October 30. To help general aviation navigate the airspace, the FAA developed eight waypoints for the Houston terminal area.
Runways at U.S. airports are getting safer, according to a recent FAA report. The agency said the number of incursions dropped 20 percent over a four-year period, to 324 last year, of which 32 were characterized as “high risk.” The number of “high-risk” incidents has dropped 50 percent since 2000, the report shows.
Honeywell and Sensis demonstrated in August a concept of providing automated, individual voice warnings to pilots about to fall prey to a runway incursion accident. Unlike the current procedure, the concept technology issues the warning to the pilots at the same time as the air traffic controllers.
Blue skies over the Atlantic may look a little greener over the next few years as the U.S. and European Union member states work together to reduce aviation’s environmental impact.
AIN this week participated in a demonstration of new technology aimed at preventing runway incursions, where Honeywell’s airborne TCAS units were linked with Sensis’ ASDE-X airport surface detection radar and its associated multilateration safety logic system. The prototype system was demonstrated in two simulated incursions at the Syracuse, N.Y. airport on Tuesday.
The head of the 14,000-member air traffic controllers union said last month that the FAA is trumpeting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to mask poor morale and severe staffing shortages among its controller workforce.