Runway Safety Forum Offers No ’Silver Bullet’

 - March 29, 2007, 11:56 AM

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. While those show only “own ship” positions, many pilots are eagerly awaiting a moving-map system that would be powered by ADS-B and would display all surface traffic, including ground vehicles, and provide warnings to the cockpit. Since 1973, the NTSB has issued 100 runway safety recommendations and “stopping runway incursions/ground collisions” has been on its Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements List since 1990. On March 27, 1977, 583 people died when a departing KLM 747 hit a taxiing Pan Am 747 on the runway at Tenerife, Canary Islands.