The FAA said yesterday that it exceeded its goal for reducing the 'most serious' runway incursions by 25 percent in Fiscal Year 2007, which ended September 30. According to the agency, there were 24 serious runway incursions this past year out of more than 61 million operations, or one for every 2.545 million operations, exceeding the agency's goal of no more than one incursion for every two million surface movements.
The NTSB has asked Congress to “convince the FAA of the need for immediate action” to prevent runway incursions. In an August 29 letter to 12 members of Congress, Safety Board chairman Carol Carmody and two Board members said the NTSB has issued 100 recommendations regarding runway incursions since 1983. The issue has been on the Safety Board’s list of “Most Wanted Safety Improvements” since 1990.
In one of her first acts as chairman of the NTSB, Ellen Engleman vowed to take a fresh look at the Board’s safety advocacy programs, including its “Most Wanted” safety improvements.
At about 3:13 a.m. on September 12, a Learjet 35 operated by National Jets under Part 135 took off from unlit Runway 19R at Washington Dulles International Airport. According to the NTSB, the runway was closed for survey work and runway lights were off. The closure was broadcast on ATIS and noted on the tower’s ground radar and status displays.
Runways at U.S. airports are getting safer, according to a recent FAA report. The agency said the number of incursions dropped 20 percent over a four-year period, to 324 last year, of which 32 were characterized as “high risk.” The number of “high-risk” incidents has dropped 50 percent since 2000, the report shows.
Bombardier Learjet 45/Bombardier Challenger 604, Teterboro, N.J., Aug. 13, 2007–During developmental training on local control at Teterboro Airport, the controller cleared a Learjet 45 to land on Runway 6 and told a Challenger 604 crew to position and hold on Runway 1. The Challenger was cleared to take off before the Learjet passed through the Runway 6 and 1 intersection.
Honeywell and Sensis demonstrated in August a concept of providing automated, individual voice warnings to pilots about to fall prey to a runway incursion accident. Unlike the current procedure, the concept technology issues the warning to the pilots at the same time as the air traffic controllers.
Aviation by far has the highest number of outstanding safety deficiencies of any form of transportation in the U.S., according to the NTSB, which authors an annual Most Wanted list of recommendations. Congress wants to know why.
Every year the NTSB updates its list of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, divided among the five transportation modes over which it has jurisdiction and a sixth listed as intermodal.
AIN this week participated in a demonstration of new technology aimed at preventing runway incursions, where Honeywell’s airborne TCAS units were linked with Sensis’ ASDE-X airport surface detection radar and its associated multilateration safety logic system. The prototype system was demonstrated in two simulated incursions at the Syracuse, N.Y. airport on Tuesday.
NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker told the House aviation subcommittee last month that his agency is disappointed in the FAA’s response to five of the six aviation items on the Safety Board’s Most Wanted List of safety improvements.