Runway Incursion at Farmingdale Provides Important Lessons

 - December 9, 2013, 2:28 PM

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.

According to an Aviation Safety Reporting System filing, the pilot taxiing a Cessna Citation Sovereign for departure was first issued the clearance “Runway 19 via Bravo and cross Runway 14” by ground control. The pilot checked the airport chart on his iPad and the other pilot acknowledged the clearance as the crew struggled to engage the jet’s rudder lock in wind exceeding 25 knots.

However, as the wind changed, so did the departure runway, to 14. One pilot taxied while the other tried to load the new departure runway in the FMS, but the system refused to accept it because of the wind strength. Then the cockpit became busier as another wind change brought a change of the active back to Runway 19.

At this time the Citation’s crew alerting system began generating alternating fail messages as the angle-of-attack indicator rapidly fluctuated. Then the crew heard an ELT signal and thought it might be their aircraft, causing another distraction that they tried to clarify as they continued taxiing.

In all the confusion the crew mistook Runway 19 for 14 and were beginning to cross it when the ground controller stopped them.

The pilot taxiing later realized he should have stopped the airplane much earlier and solved the problems rather than continue taxiing. Multiple runway changes while trying to control the aircraft in the gusty wind only made the situation worse. He also admitted later that some of the airport’s signage was confusing and that he should have requested clarification.