Av Hazard publicizes safety and operational concerns to help prevent accidents but it works only if we hear from you. Use the postage-free Av Hazard card to describe the hazard and return it to Pro Pilot. To obtain an official FAA review send NASA an ASRS form. For immediate action, call the airport, FBO, ATC, FSDO or the 24-hour FAA Safety Hotline at 800-255-1111. Note: Telephone numbers for all US Towers and ARTCCs are published in Ac-U-Kwik and Pilots Express Airport/ Heliport/FBO directories. To report safety concerns outside the US, contact ICAO HQ at 514-954-8219 or via fax at 514-954-6077. ICAO has worldwide telephone and fax numbers to expedite Av Hazard reports to civil aviation authorities.
Single controller at ASE
One individual was working all 3 positions at ASE (Aspen CO)-clearance delivery, ground control and tower-during the midday hours. Takeoffs were on Runway 33, landings were on Rwy 15 and there were 2 trainers in the pattern. With all this going on, it was a congested mess. On final we flew right over a Cessna 172 which was departing with less than 300 ft separation. With the conflicting takeoff and landing situation and the mix of traffic, coupled with the number of large aircraft needing IFR clearances, who's watching the store?
__ATP. Beechjet 400
- ASE has a single runway, so departing traffic in one direction and landing in the opposite direction off the same runway is dangerous. It seems to be an ever-increasing trend at many airports to overlap and converge traffic in an apparent effort to increase traffic flow. One would think that, with such a high number of runway incursions and operational errors, the trend should be to separate aircraft, not intentionally place them on converging flightpaths. One point though-according to the Av Hazard card this event was not reported to ARSA or the FAA Hotline. All pilots should use these avenues to bring occurrences such as this to the attention of FAA and NASA so they can be captured statistically and hopefully lead to improvements in the safety of the National Airspace System.
Oxygen use revisited
I am writing in response to "A need to rethink oxygen use" (Pro Pilot, Sep 2008, p 34). This issue needs further review. I agree in concept with the author who states that "this regulation is being casually ignored on a daily basis by virtually everyone." And I cannot disagree with the dictionary definition of "professional" which suggests that the "everyone" in question must therefore be a bunch of very unprofessional pilots. But is it really everyone? While it's undeniably important to discuss the rampant complacency of violating this regulation, I feel we're missing the most important question-"Why are pilots willfully not using oxygen when they know they should?" I am not confessing by saying that I don't use oxygen-this is simply my observation by some experience. I flew a Cessna CitationJet a few years ago as a single pilot under Part 135. I'm paraphrasing a little here, but the FARs require that, when there is only 1 qualified pilot in the cockpit, that person must use oxygen whenever the aircraft is above FL 250.
Consequently, I was required to be on oxygen nearly 90% of the time. I currently fly a GII and GIII, which go straight to FL 430 or 450 for all but the shortest trips, so I have a similar situation requiring the use of oxygen by one of us for 90% of the time. The greatest complaint that I know of is that the masks are so uncomfortable that it is almost torture after 30 minutes and becomes a great distraction. So, what to do? I believe most pilots reading this will appreciate the dilemma without elaboration. Threatening words and increased penalties did not work for the IRS when it tried to crack down on tax cheaters a few years ago. Those actions actually caused people to cheat more the following year, due to the way our brains rationalize what is the societal norm. I propose that a study be made where benefit of oxygen use is measured relative to statistics of how many accidents have resulted from explosive decompressions where the crew did not get a mask on in time. Compare this to a group of "normal" pilots wearing a generic oxygen mask for 5-6 hours and test for any negative personal performance effect at the end of the "flight." If it is deemed statistically prudent to make pilots wear the mask, then there must be a real effort to change the design to make it more comfortable.
__ATP. Gulfstream II
- Any reason for pilots choosing to ignore an FAR is indefensible-however, FAA should consider a study or re-evaluation of the oxygen requirement given advances in technology. This topic was forwarded to the FAA safety line and ARSA (contributor's name withheld). If a driver knowingly violates a state's seat belt law, the defense that "it's uncomfortable and distracting" will probably not result in a passive warning-nor will it likely result in the driver complying.