Three serious near collisions on runways in Boston, New York and Las Vegas this year have prompted the NTSB to again press for quicker action by the FAA to reduce such incidents. This issue has been on the Safety Board’s “most wanted” list since its inception in 1990.
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 earlier this week, Bill Withycombe said that in terms of error types, there were 169 pilot deviations, 105 ATC operational deviations and 53 vehicle/pedestrian deviations.
Air traffic controllers at Canada’s Ottawa International Airport can now “see” traffic on the airport surface in the southwest area of the airport using a computer vision-based airport surface detection (ASD) system installed by Searidge Technologies. The Searidge system detects aircraft, vehicles, people and other objects using a network of digital-imaging sensors coupled to computer-vision technology.
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.