FAA airport safety researchers have created a prototype taxiway screen that could help prevent runway incursions at airports with taxiways that pass well beyond the ends of runways. The screens “hide” aircraft on end-around taxiways from the view of pilots preparing to take off on active runways.
Cessna CitationJet 525, Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 11, 2007–When Citation N241EP was taxiing on Taxiway N at Memphis International, the tower cleared it for takeoff on Runway 36L. The crew began its takeoff roll on Taxiway M, and the tower twice advised the crew that they were taking off on a taxiway.
Bombardier Learjet 35A, Goodland, Kan., Oct. 17, 2007–Breaking out at 250 feet agl on approach to Renner Field, the pilot found the aircraft slightly left of the runway centerline. He aligned with the centerline and experienced an uncontrolled left and right rolling motion. The aileron augment annunciator light came on, and the aircraft hit the runway left wing low, coming to rest between the runway and a taxiway.
The NTSB has asked the FAA to “explicitly prohibit” position and hold clearances at the intersections of active runways during low-visibility conditions and at night. While the recommendation is intended for all airports that have such a runway configuration, the Safety Board’s request stems from a loosely related incident on Jan. 25, 2002, at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska.
There were no serious injuries or major damage initially reported following three separate incidents of business jets rolling off dry runways on April 21. A Premier I (N390BW) veered off the side of Runway 27 while landing at Windham Airport, Conn. A Learjet 25B (N24RZ) ran off the end of Runway 9R and blew a tire on landing at Tamiami Airport near Miami.
The FAA is investigating having VASI and PAPI lights begin flashing when the landing runway is occupied. Doing so could prevent “landovers,” where an aircraft continues its approach and touches down while another aircraft or vehicle is still on the runway.
The NTSB blamed the crew of the Comair Bombardier regional jet that crashed at Lexington (Ky.) Blue Grass Airport on August 27 last year for failing to realize that they were taking off from the wrong runway. The crash killed 49 people; the first officer, the sole survivor, sustained serious injuries. Runway 26, the runway the crew mistakenly used, is only 3,500 feet long; Runway 22, the runway they were cleared to use, is 7,003 feet long.
Italian accident investigators have concluded that human error on the part of two German pilots of a Cessna Citation CJ2 was the main cause of a fatal collision with a McDonnell Douglas MD-87 at Milan Linate Airport on Oct. 8, 2001.
DE HAVILLAND DHC-8, SEATTLE, WASH., JAN. 19, 2004–At 11:38 a.m. the flight crew of Dash 8 C-GTAQ inadvertently landed on a taxiway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). There were no injuries to the captain, first officer, flight attendant or any of the 32 passengers, nor was there any damage to the aircraft, which is owned and operated by Air Canada Jazz.
Pilots know that the primary job of EGPWS is to keep them from running into the ground, but they might not be aware that it can also warn them if they are about to land on the wrong runway, take off from a taxiway or cross an active runway, among a host of other incursion-preventing functions.