The U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general (IG) last month issued recommendations related to the FAA plan to integrate two runway safety systems with airport surface detection equipment (ASDE-X). The two systems are the runway status lights (RWSL) system, which gives pilots a visible warning when runways are occupied; and the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system that generates simultaneous alerts to controllers and pilots of potential runway incursions and ground collisions.
The FAA has updated its air traffic controller handbook–JO7110.652–in an effort to prevent aircraft from flying too close together when operating on or near a busy hub airport. The update addresses arrivals and departures using both intersecting and non-intersecting runways. The effort evolved in response to a number of close calls that brought departing aircraft into close proximity with an arrival that had executed an unplanned go-around near the airport.
Two Part 91 business aviation pilots departing New York’s Farmingdale Airport on a recent IFR flight during gusty, rainy conditions became involved in a runway incursion that presented a number of valuable lessons.
The FAA recorded 1,150 runway incursions in the 12-month period ending September 30 last year across the U.S., and 18 of them were classified as “A” and “B,” the most serious of the four incursion categories. Some 772 of those incursions were pilot-induced.
Most of the resources to reduce runway incursions are already in place, according to the FAA’s group manager for runway safety, Jim Krieger, who believes the problem is well understood by pilots, controllers, airport managers and airport vehicle drivers. “Most of what we do now is evaluate an incursion after it occurs,” Krieger told AIN. “We need to look at all of the [data] outcomes and become more predictive about these events.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to examine the FAA’s Runway Safety Program in the light of a steadily increasing number of runway incursions and evaluate the agency’s progress in implementing initiatives to prevent further incursions.
Prevention of runway incursions and ground collisions has been on the NTSB’s “Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements List” since 1990.
West Star Aviation is offering the enhanced flight vision system known as HUD Vision Access (HVA) for the Challenger 604 and 605. Certification is expected next month. It consists of three LRUs and provides safer operation in low visibility, enhanced situational awareness, terrain avoidance and runway incursion detection, according to the company. The most prominent benefit is lower landing credits to minimums of 100 feet above the ground.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has released a new video to call attention to the hazards of runway incursions, which the Board recently identified as one of the country’s top nine transportation hazards. The TSB recorded more than 4,100 incursions between 2001 and 2009. Incident numbers increased 27 percent between 2010 and 2011 alone, from 351 to 446, respectively, since runway incursions were placed on the TSB’s watch list in 2010.
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.
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.”
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