NTSB Chairman: Runway Incursion System Inadequate

 - April 4, 2007, 12:11 PM

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. “That is not good enough,” he said in a speech Tuesday at the American Association of Airport Executives’ Runway and Airport Safety Summit. Preventing runway incursions has been on the Safety Board’s list of “most wanted” safety improvements since its inception. The NTSB’s recommendation asks the FAA to develop a system to provide immediate warnings of probable collisions directly to flight crews in the cockpit. Said Rosenker: “As designed, AMASS provides warnings only to air traffic controllers, requiring the controller to determine the nature of the problem, identify the aircraft involved, determine what action to take and issue appropriate instructions to the flight crews often in a matter of seconds.” AMASS is deployed at 34 airports, and the FAA plans to deploy its new airport surface detection equipment Model X (ASDE-X) to another 25 airports.