The FAA has issued revisions to guidelines for avoiding runway incursions at Chicago Midway Airport (MDW). The NOTC3399 notice, published on August 29 by the agency’s FAASTeam, highlights the runway incursion hotspots at the airport and gives operational safety tips. Last year Midway had three runway incursions, and so far this year there have been two.
To emphasize the escalation of the problem, the FAA said there were only three incursions during the previous four years combined. Last year MDW topped 255,000 takeoffs and landings, including more than 43,000 general aviation operations. Data showed that these eight most recent incursions were committed by GA aircraft, none of which was actually based at MDW.
The FAASTeam said that Midway’s close-proximity runway and taxiway configurations, combined with some pilots’ lack of situational awareness, require all pilots to remain alert for some “uncommon runway hold positions” on the airport. “In many cases, Midway’s runways and taxiways do not intersect one another at right angles,” said the notice.
An example of this potentially confusing geography is taxiing to Runway 22 Right, where the final twist onto the runway for takeoff requires a 140-degree turn. The FAA says darkness and low-visibility conditions exacerbate these complexities. According to the new notice, 80 percent of pilot-caused runway incursions occur during taxiing to the departure runway.