Shutdown Delays FAA Runway Safety Meetings

 - January 7, 2019, 12:06 PM

To help reduce wrong surface incidents, the FAA is planning “special focus” meetings this year at various airports hosted by the agency’s runway safety action team (RSAT), but the ongoing U.S. government shutdown has postponed their start. The first meeting this year is scheduled at Nashville International Airport (BNA) on January 30. A meeting previously scheduled at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on January 9 has been delayed due to the partial federal government shutdown.

The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss the factors that are contributing to recent wrong surface events at airports, including attempted wrong surface arrivals and departures, and “to assess if the current mitigations are adequate,” the agency said. “Wrong surface landings occur at a rate of approximately one every other day and nearly 90 percent are committed by general aviation pilots.”

One of the most serious incidents occurred on August 10 when a Part 135-operated Gulfstream IV, on a visual approach at night and cleared to land on PHL’s Runway 35, instead lined up on an adjacent, occupied taxiway. The GIV pilots performed a go-around, overflying four airliners. Last July, the flight crew of an Air Canada Airbus A320 mistook a taxiway for a runway at San Francisco International Airport and nearly crashed into four other airliners on the ground.

Throughout the year, the FAA plans to schedule future RSAT special focus meetings at other airports. Also, pilots are encouraged to view the recently released FAA video “Wrong Surface Landings,” which discusses the precursors of wrong surface landings and provides several risk-mitigation measures.