NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker was busy stumping about issues related to GA safety last month. He spoke to a group of airport executives and FAA representatives at an airport technology seminar about the importance of runway incursion safety. He stressed that while aircraft separations in the air are based upon miles, on the ground space is measured in feet.
NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker said he believes runway incursions are still a major safety issue. In a speech to a group of airport executives and FAA representatives at an airport technology seminar in Atlantic City last Tuesday, he emphasized that while aircraft separation in the air is measured in miles (horizontally), on the ground it is measured in feet.
NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker said the FAA’s airport movement area safety system (AMASS) is not adequate to prevent serious runway collisions. Citing several recent near-collisions at Boston and New York airports where AMASS allegedly did not perform, Rosenker noted that the situations were instead resolved by flight crew actions sometimes bordering on the heroic–and luck.
The investigation report of the October 2001 runway collision between a taxiing Citation CJ2 and a Scandinavian Airlines MD-87 taking off at the Linate Airport at Milan, Italy, is quite revealing.
Thirty years after the worst runway collision in aviation history, an NTSB forum on runway incursions spotlighted some promising technology but offered no “silver bullet” solution to preventing ground accidents. “Luck should not be part of the safety equation,” noted NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. Last week, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said the agency is fast-tracking airport moving-map displays for electronic flight bags.
The NTSB will hold a one-day forum on March 27 focusing on runway incursions and accidents and potential solutions. “Eliminating runway incursions and collisions is a top priority of the Safety Board and has been on our Most Wanted List since 1990,” said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker, who will preside over the forum.
The NTSB expressed disappointment last month over the FAA’s alleged foot-dragging on several safety recommendations, and the safety agency changed the classifications of the FAA’s responses from “acceptable” to “unacceptable.”
While the NTSB investigation into last month’s runway incursion at Denver International Airport continues, the pilot of one of the aircraft involved said blowing snow, which reduced visibility and covered the taxiway, caused disorientation, leading his Key Lime Air Metroliner to taxi onto an active runway. Pilots of a Frontier Airlines A319 that had been cleared to land saw the Metroliner while only 50 to 100 feet above the runway.
Three serious near collisions on runways in Boston, New York and Las Vegas this year have prompted the NTSB to again press for quicker action by the FAA to reduce such incidents. This issue has been on the Safety Board’s “most wanted” list since its inception in 1990.
In FY 2005, there were 327 runway incursions, of which 29 were serious Category A and B incidents, according to the FAA’s regional administrator for the Western-Pacific region. Testifying before Congress earlier this week, Bill Withycombe said that in terms of error types, there were 169 pilot deviations, 105 ATC operational deviations and 53 vehicle/pedestrian deviations.