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.
San Francisco International Airport runway incursion
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.
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.
Embraer E170, San Francisco, Calif., May 26, 2007 – The Republic Airlines Embraer E170 and Skywest Airlines Embraer Brasilia almost collided at the intersection of Runway 1L and Runway 28R at San Francisco International Airport. The Skywest Brasilia was cleared to land on Runway 28R at SFO, and the Republic E170 was cleared to take off from Runway 1L.
The NTSB last month announced an investigation into a May 26 incident at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in which two regional airliners came within 50 feet of colliding. At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines Flight 5741, an Embraer Brasilia arriving from Modesto, Calif., to land on Runway 28R.
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.
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.
The NTSB will hold a one-day forum on March 27 focusing on runway incursions and accidents and potential solutions. “Eliminating runway incursions and collisions is a top priority of the Safety Board and has been on our Most Wanted List since 1990,” said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker, who will preside over the forum.
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.
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. The Safety Board wants a system to provide immediate warnings of probable collisions directly to flight crews.