NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia is addressing runway and taxiway incursion threats by testing a variety of new technologies, one of the most interesting of which is a miniature head-up display that the pilot wears on his head and positions in front of the eye.
In a November 7 response to a request by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the DOT Inspector General’s office reviewed a recent series of ATC equipment outages in Southern California, as well as a problem with a runway-incursion alerting system at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
While speakers at the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual convention in Washington in October discussed a wide range of ATC technologies, both current and future, several presentations touched on a common underlying theme: where will the money come from?
The FAA is trying to interview the pilot of a non-U.S. registered Gulfstream V involved in a Class A runway incursion at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 30. During the incident, a departing SkyWest Airlines CRJ700 stopped within about 100 feet of the Gulfstream, which was on the same runway. The Gulfstream then continued on its planned flight to Long Beach, according to an FAA spokesman.
The FAA recently added new Safety Logic runway incursion alerting technology to its ASDE-X airport surveillance equipment at Orlando International Airport in Florida. ASDE-X combines radar scanning with a transponder tracking system to provide controllers with a real-time picture of airborne and airport surface traffic.
The FAA has interviewed the pilots of a Gulfstream V that caused a runway incursion on September 30 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), during which a SkyWest Airlines CRJ700 braked to a stop reportedly within 100 feet of the GV. The CRJ didn’t suffer any damage, according to a SkyWest spokeswoman, but did have to cool its brakes for 15 minutes, delaying the flight by about half an hour.
Airport surface detection equipment model X (ASDE-X), designed to help controllers spot potential runway collisions, will be installed at 15 airports beginning with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport next month.
The FAA is extending its runway incursion information evaluation program for another 24 months, through July 20, 2006, to gather further data about the causes of runway incursions and other surface incidents. The program involves in-depth interviews with pilots and mechanics whose actions might play a role in an incursion.
In FY 2005, there were 327 runway incursions, of which 29 were serious Category A and B incidents, according to the FAA’s regional administrator for the Western Pacific region. Testifying before Congress last month, Bill Withycombe said that in terms of error types, there were 169 pilot deviations, 105 ATC operational deviations and 53 vehicle/pedestrian deviations.
Despite the installation of runway collision avoidance equipment at many of the nation’s largest airports, recently there has been an increase in the number and severity of runway incursions at three major airports.