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Runway Safety News

New Runway Condition Reporting Methodology Improves Airport Safety
May 14, 2018
Following years of government-industry collaboration, the FAA implemented the Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) initiative, a new method of assessing wet airport surface conditions that utilizes a runway condition assessment matrix. TALPA received an extensive workout last winter as a series of powerful storms swept across the United States, resulting in some useful runway safety lessons for business aircraft operators. Learn more about TALPA in the May/June 2018 issue of Business Aviation Insider, the 10th Annual Safety Issue.
Collaborative Safety Initiatives Reduce Runway Incursions at Honolulu Airport
Feb. 2, 2018
A two-year collaborative effort between NBAA, the FAA, the Hawaii Department of Transportation and other stakeholders has resulted in a number of key safety improvements for operators at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, HI. Last month, the latest measure to help reduce runway incursions at the busy airport was completed, as hold lines between Runways 4L-22R and 4R-22L were realigned. Learn more.
FAA Cautions Pilots of High Risk of Runway Incursions on Active Runways
Dec. 19, 2017
A recent FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) warns pilots of the high risk of runway incursions and potential collisions on the first two-thirds of an active runway. “To mitigate the risk of runway incursions, flight department managers, instructors and others involved in pilot and airport ground vehicle operator training should ensure all training programs discuss runway incursion prevention, including proper communications, runway status lights and airport signage and markings,” said Mark Larsen, CAM, NBAA’s senior manager of safety and flight operations. “Also, all pilots and ground vehicle operators should review the SAFO and ensure familiarity with the FAA’s best practices for safe airport operations,” Learn more about the SAFO.
NTSB: Intersection Takeoffs Require Sound Planning
Nov. 21, 2017
A recent NTSB Safety Alert reminded pilots that while they may be able to save time by performing intersection takeoffs, there are also risks involved in not using the entire available runway. To ensure a larger safety margin, operators should understand the performance capabilities of an aircraft, and consider the current weather conditions, as well as their experience with using shorter runways. Learn more.
Safety Alert Highlights Importance of Training on Runway Status Lights
Oct. 26, 2017
A recent Safety Alert for Operators aims to ensure aircraft operators, pilots and airport personnel are aware of the installation, meaning and use of runway status lights (RWSLs). The RWSL system integrates airport lighting equipment with approach and surface surveillance radar systems to provide aircraft and vehicle crews a visual signal indicating when it is unsafe to enter or cross a runway, or begin or continue a takeoff on that runway. RWSLs are now operational at 17 airports across the U.S., with three additional airports scheduled to transition from prototype sites to operational sites over the next two years. Learn more.
Best Practices for Calculating Runway Landing Distance
May 17, 2017
What's the safest way to calculate runway landing distance while reflecting real-world pilot and airplane performance? It depends on whether you are a Part 91, a Part 135 operator or a Part 135 eligible on-demand operator. "NBAA encourages operators and pilots to become familiar with the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix and use the updated terminology to report runway conditions," said Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president of regulatory and international affairs. "Understanding how runway distances are calculated and using the RCAM can help operators determine the most accurate landing distance for your aircraft and operations." Learn more about calculating runway landing distances.
TALPA Tested in First Season of Implementation
May 10, 2017
Following years of collaboration between the FAA and industry stakeholders, the recently unveiled Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) is providing pilots with more accurate information about runway surface conditions. But business aircraft operators still face challenges in assessing conditions at some airports. "This past winter provided several opportunities to put TALPA to the test, and one finding is that many airports – mostly non-certificated, general aviation facilities – did not report field conditions," said Alex Gertsen, NBAA’s director of airports and ground Infrastructure. "That's a significant concern." Read more about TALPA.
Business Pilots Urged to Take Runway Incursion Survey
April 20, 2017
NBAA’s Safety Committee is encouraging association members to take part in a survey aimed at finding answers to the vexing problem of runway incursions, in support of helping operators mitigate or avoid this risk. Participation by business pilots alongside other general aviation pilots is important in developing a comprehensive and accurate response for researchers. Learn more about NBAA runway safety resources and take the survey.
BWI, SFO the Latest Airports to Implement Runway Status Lights
April 4, 2017
Pilots operating at 20 U.S. airports must be aware of a new, red-light system rolled out to improve runway safety and mitigate runway incursions. Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) and San Francisco International (SFO) are the latest airports to implement runway status lights (RWSLs). "RWSLs are embedded in the pavement of runways and taxiways and provide a second layer of protection to alert pilots when a runway is unsafe to enter or cross or when it is not safe to initiate a take-off roll," said Jim Fee, FAA's manager of runway safety. Read more about RWSLs.
NBAA Webinar: New Runway Condition Reporting Brings Consistency, Clarity
Oct. 21, 2016
New FAA takeoff and landing performance assessment (TALPA) standards for reporting runway conditions went into effect Oct. 1, bringing consistent procedures and objective criteria to a long-vexing safety challenge for all types of operators and aircraft. The new requirements call for the use of a runway condition assessment matrix (RCAM). Using the matrix, airports assign a Runway Condition Code (RwyCC) from 1-6 to the runway’s condition, with 1 being ice and 6 being dry. “Airport operators will be going out there with a ruler and measuring snow or ice depths,” said Tom Lahovski, an FAA Flight Standards safety inspector and a member of the TALPA aviation rulemaking committee (ARC), which collaborated to set up the new TALPA framework. Lahovski presented the information Oct. 20 at a webinar hosted by NBAA. Learn more about the new reporting procedures.
Honolulu Airport Video Underscores Runway Safety Team Collaboration
Oct. 11, 2016
NBAA and other stakeholders have collaborated on an instructional video and other educational tools to increase pilot awareness of unique airfield-safety aspects at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). The close spacing between HNL's runways 4R/22L and 4L/22R mean that their runway safety areas overlap. Learn more and watch the safety video.
Learn About New Field Condition Reporting With Upcoming NBAA Webinar
Oct. 7, 2016
Industry feedback indicates some aviation stakeholders may not yet be familiar with significant changes in field condition reporting standards that went into effect this month. An Oct. 20 NBAA webinar: “Get Prepared for New Field Condition Reporting," will provide a thorough review of the new runway condition assessment matrix (RCAM) at the core of the revised takeoff and landing performance assessment practices. The RCAM assigns runway condition codes (of between zero and six, based upon objective measurements of the type and amount of surface contamination, for each third of the runway. Higher numbers indicate more favorable conditions. Learn more about register for the webinar.
Airports to Implement New Runway Contamination Reporting in October
July 28, 2016
NBAA is developing resources to familiarize pilots with new takeoff and landing performance assessment procedures for reporting runway contamination. Effective Oct. 1, any airport receiving federal funds will be required to utilize the runway condition assessment matrix to categorize runway conditions. Learn more.
Proper Planning Essential to Mitigating Runway Excursions
May 23, 2016
While most runway excursion accidents are survivable, these events account for a large number of fatalities due to their high rate of occurrence. Being aware of excursion precursors and dispelling misconceptions can help operators understand and prevent these accidents from occurring. Learn more about resources to help members prevent runway excursions in the May/June 2016 issue of Business Aviation Insider.
Dulles Meeting Emphasizes Need to Curb GA Runway Violations
June 4, 2014
Business aviation stakeholders at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) were among those in attendance at a recent Runway Safety Action Team meeting, where FAA officials reviewed issues affecting safe operations at the busy, Washington DC-area airport. In addition to substantial commercial airline traffic, Dulles has also seen a sharp rise in business aircraft operations in recent years, as business aircraft operators have been hard-pressed to comply with the extensive security protocols that have been added to facilitate their flights into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Read more about curbing runway violations at IAD.
FAA Warns of Runway Incursions When Taxiing on Intersecting or Active Runways
August 30, 2013
In an effort to reduce the risk of runway incursions, the FAA issued SAFO 13007 warning pilots to exercise extra caution when taxiing on intersecting or active runways. For various reasons related to airport geometry, construction, or taxiway restrictions, it is common for Air Traffic Control (ATC) to issue grounds instructions to flight crews that include taxiing on active runways. In order to conduct these operations safely, pilots and operators are urged to minimize distractions and heads-down time, maintain a higher level of situational awareness, and include realistic runway incursion prevention scenarios in training events. View SAFO 13007.
Runway Status Lights Debut at Washington-Dulles Airport
July 25, 2013
Runway status lights are now operational on runways and taxiways at Washington-Dulles International Airport. The fully automated lighting system is being implemented at airports throughout the U.S. as part of a program to help enhance runway safety. The lighting system provides direct runway status information to pilots and surface vehicle operators indicating when it is unsafe to enter, cross, or takeoff from a runway. It requires no input from controllers as it processes information from surveillance systems and then activates runway entrance lights and takeoff hold lights in accordance with the motion and velocity of the detected traffic. Learn more.
Uptick in Runway Incursions at Moline Provides Lesson for All Pilots
July 10, 2013
A recent spike in runway incursions at Quad City International Airport (MLI) in Moline, IL led representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team to issue a safety advisory, which also serves as a reminder for all pilots to take steps to avoid similar errors. In fiscal year 2012, the FAA recorded 1,150 runway incursions at airports across the United States, with 18 of those incursions categorized under the most severe "A" and "B" ratings, indicating a sharply increased potential for collision. Pilot deviations accounted for more than half of total incursions (722) and, of those, 82 percent were attributed to general aviation operations. Read more about runway incursions at MLI and across the country.
MITRE Seeks Pilots for Runway Visibility Study
June 17, 2013
The MITRE Corporation's Center for Advanced Aviation System Development is recruiting pilots for a study evaluating proposed changes to runway standards at small airports. The study will examine whether or not infrastructure standards such as runway width and length, pavement markings, visual guidance systems, and edge lighting can be changed in order to accommodate satellite-based instrument approaches to runways that don't currently support low-visibility procedures. The five-hour study will take place at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL and involves four hours of simulator time. Pilots will be compensated for their participation. Learn more.
Improving Surface Operations a Big Issue for 2013
December 10, 2012
Improving airport surface operations is one of the top 10 items on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) 2013 “Most Wanted” list. While most of the NTSB’s recommendations focus on FAR Part 121 air carriers and commercial airports, members of NBAA’s Safety Committee are quick to point out that the issue is equally important for business aviation. In fact, in its “Most Wanted” overview, the NTSB said general aviation pilots “are the single most prevalent contributor to the total number of runway incursions.” There were 1,150 runway incursions in the 2012 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, up from 954 total incursions in fiscal 2011 – a roughly 20-percent increase, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Read more about improving runway safety.
Safety Seminars Highlight Runway Excursions
July 24, 2012
A series of free seminars in the Northeast this summer is bringing attention to a perhaps underpublicized general aviation safety issue – runway excursions. NBAA has joined with United States Aviation Insurance Group and local partners to sponsor presentations in White Plains, NY and Oxford, CT, and an Aug. 9 seminar is planned in Pittsburgh, PA. A 2011 Robert E. Breiling Associates report finds that approximately 30 percent of the accidents and incidents recorded for the U.S.-registered business jet fleet in 2011 involved runway excursions. Read more about runway excursions.
The Case for EMAS: Improving the Outcome of a Runway Overrun
May 17, 2012
Currently, 68 engineered materials arresting system (EMAS) systems are installed at airports around the world, with the vast majority of them in the United States. The installations range from large Part 139 airports such as Kennedy (JFK) and O'Hare (ORD) to some solely general aviation airports such as Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey and Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in South Carolina. "Existing EMAS installations and those planned for future establishment at airports, where they are needed, will greatly improve safety; certainly the safety benefits will far outweigh the costs," according to Jeff Gilley, NBAA's director, airports & ground infrastructure. Read more about the case for EMAS.
Pilots Reminded to Observe New ATC Phraseology
December 5, 2011
As NBAA reported in September, the FAA has begun using new phraseology to warn pilots of potential risks associated with runways shortened due to construction. When a runway has been temporarily or permanently shortened, the words "WARNING" and "SHORTENED" will be communicated. These new cautions are issued in Automatic Terminal Information (ATIS) messages as well as departure and landing clearances disseminated by air traffic control (ATC). View examples of the phraseology changes now in place.
FAA Provides Guidance on Avoiding Runway Excursions
November 14, 2011
Following a runway excursion at Jackson Hole, WY airport (JAC) involving a Part 121 air carrier, the FAA has issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) outlining best practices for preventing excursions from the runway on takeoff or landing. At JAC, there were 20 runway excursions reported from 2007-2010. The incidents were evenly split between Part 121 air carriers and general aviation operators. The best practices and mitigation strategies outline in the SAFO are designed to ensure that flight crews conduct stabilized approaches and touchdown with accuracy - on speed, on path, configured and landing at a point on the runway, within the touchdown zone to ensure the aircraft to be stopped on the runway. Review the FAA SAFO
FAA Seeks More Bird-Strike Reporting at Community Airports
November 14, 2011
A fresh FAA initiative to increase bird-strike reporting has launched for the benefit of general aviation (GA). The new campaign is employing technology for the first time, allowing reporting through the FAA's bird-strike database on the web. "We would particularly like to hear from GA airport sponsors telling us why reporting is low so we can work with them to increase reporting and reduce wildlife strikes," said FAA spokeswoman Marcia Alexander-Adams. Learn more.
What Is the Ideal Time for a Takeoff Briefing?
October 31, 2011
The checklists of most business aircraft manufacturers specify pilots should conduct their pre-flight briefing as near to the point of takeoff as possible, even while taxiing to the runway, to keep vital information fresh in their minds. However, some pilots believe the ideal time to thoroughly review all pre-departure information is earlier in the process, before engine start, to avoid distractions. "You must minimize the amount of work that is done while actually moving the airplane," said Steve Charbonneau, Secretary of the NBAA Safety Committee. Review guidance on establishing checklist procedures.
FAA Tells Operators to Heed ATIS Messages During Runway Construction
September 12, 2011
Many airports around the country have runways under construction that may be shortened temporarily. In an effort to reduce risks associated with conducting operations during runway construction, the FAA is alerting operators to keywords in Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) messages. In an Information for Operators message, the FAA calls on operators to pay close attention to ATIS messages and takeoff/landing clearances. Learn More (33 KB, PDF).
FAA Deploys New Runway Warning Status Light System
July 25, 2011
The FAA has begun to unveil a new automated warning system aimed at further reducing runway incursions and collisions. The Runway Warning Status Lights (RWSL) system will provide an added layer of safety for the runway environment without impacting normal airport operations or capacity. RWSLs involve a series of flush mounted unidirectional red lights that illuminate to warn pilots and ground vehicle operators when the airport’s surveillance system detects traffic on, or approaching, that same runway. Learn More.
FAA Reports Remarkable Drop In Runway Incursions
June 20, 2011
The number of serious runway incursions at airports across the United States dropped more than 90-percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a recent announcement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 2010 alone, there were six serious incursions – half the number of those reported in 2009, the FAA reported. It was the second such year-over-year drop in a row. "The entire aviation community can be credited with the remarkable success achieved in runway safety," according to a statement recently issued by the FAA. Learn more about the factors behind this remarkable trend, and hear an episode of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast focusing on the topic.
What Are the Proper Transponder Settings While on the Ground?
May 27, 2011
Based on observations during en-route inspections, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has noticed that some operating procedures direct pilots to select the traffic advisory/resolution advisory (TA/RA) transponder setting during all surface movements. This procedure is not consistent with FAA guidance and can cause frequency congestion which may degrade Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II performance. Except when approaching or taxiing onto an active runway, pilots should set the transponder to “XPNDR” or “ON,” which will make the aircraft visible to surface surveillance systems without causing frequency congestion or other unintended consequences. Briefly turning TCAS on in the “TA-ONLY” or “TA/RA” setting before crossing an active runway is still a good best practice to check for the presence of aircraft on short final approach.Review the FAA Notice.
FAA Implementing ICAO's 'Line Up and Wait' Phraseology in September
August 5, 2010
As NBAA first reported this past January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phraseology, "line up and wait” effective September 30, 2010. This replaces the current FAA phraseology, "taxi in to position and hold". The change comes after a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to the FAA that Order 7110.65 be amended, requiring the use of standard ICAO phraseology for airport surface operations. Pilots need to be familiar with, and be ready to read-back and accept, instructions from air traffic control using the new phraseology. For more information, review FAA order 7210.754 or contact NBAA's Bob Lamond at
FAA Notices Change Taxi Instruction Procedures
Updated July 8, 2010
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Notices 7110.532 and 7210.747, both effective June 30, 2010, that significantly alter the past practices of issuing taxi instructions to the departure runway or ramp area that allow aircraft to cross all runways that the taxi route intersects, except the assigned runway. The new procedure will require an explicit runway crossing clearance for each runway crossing and may result in crews receiving more “hold short” instructions before being allowed to continue their taxi route. For more information on this new procedure, view the FAA Notices:
NTSB Recommendations Likely to Impact FAA Runway Safety Margin Discussions
October 4, 2007
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a hearing to discuss its findings regarding the December 2005 accident of a Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737 that ran off the departure end of runway 31 center (31C) at Chicago’s Midway Airport. The Board’s recommendations may feasibly impact the FAA’s Landing Distance Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) discussions and recommendations on takeoff and landing distance calculations; specifically, the assumptions and margins required to be included in the calculations. View more.
Braking Action Common Terms Recommended by Industry-FAA Workgroup
October 5, 2006
Due in part to industry requests for standardized guidance and concerns over adequately maintained winter runways, last August the FAA hosted a Runway Condition Determination, Reporting and Report Dissemination Workshop. The workshop's Common Terms and Definition Working Group developed a braking action document of standardized definitions and estimated correlations based on runway surface conditions and runway friction Mu values. The workgroup has requested all operators to voluntarily incorporate these definitions into their operations manuals for this winter season. The FAA continues its work with landing-distance issues. Turbojet fractional and charter operators have been encouraged by the FAA to review a safety alert for operators (SAFO) related to landing performance assessments at time of arrival, and to voluntarily comply with a new OpSpec/MSpec C382 on the same topic. Review the braking action terms and the SAFO. (27KB, PDF)
FAA Drops Landing Distance Assessment OpSpec to Pursue Future Rulemaking
September 1, 2006
Following in-depth discussions this summer with NBAA staff and other industry members, the FAA has issued a safety alert for operators (SAFO) regarding "Landing Performance Assessment at Time of Arrival" for turbojet aircraft. The SAFO is based on the FAA policy statement on this topic that was published on June 7, 2006, and applies to air carriers, including business aviation operating under Part 135, Part 91 Subpart K or Part 125. While not mandatory, the FAA strongly encourages operators to voluntarily comply with a new C382 Operations Specification (OpSpec), which is similar to the draft C082 that will no longer be mandatory this year. NBAA will continue to press FAA to obtain answers to questions that the industry posed this summer, and NBAA will participate in the rulemaking process. Read the SAFO.
FAA Notice Would Change Landing Distance Calculations
June 26, 2006
On Wednesday, June 7, 2006, the FAA issued a notice that would require turbojet aircraft owners to apply a landing distance correction factor based on reported runway braking action. This notice does not apply to operations conducted under FAR Part 91. The FAA’s corrected notice, issued on Friday, June 16, eliminated any confusion while also seeking comments from the industry. NBAA believes that this notice imposes new requirements on aircraft operators and as such, the Agency should subject this effort to a formal rulemaking process. Comments to the FAA are due no later than August 15, 2006.