Runway Safety

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Runway Safety
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.