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.
Confusing FTW runway numbers
We were on a 2 to 3-mile final for Runway 16 at FTW (Meacham, Fort Worth TX) when we noticed what appeared to be a vehicle between the runway numbers. We prepared for a possible go-around until we were about 1 mile to 1/2 mile final, when we determined it was a black marking between the 1 and the 6.
In 30 years of flying I have never noticed another marking like this. Short final IFR might cause some confusion or other problems. The authorities should eliminate the black spot or paint a black square all around the numbers at both ends so there are white numbers on a black square.
__ ATP, Citation 501
- Thank you for sharing this with other pilots. The card shows that you queried the ground controller with no apparent concern. Don't forget to use the FAA hotline as well to report unsafe airport conditions and markings. This has been forwarded to the FAA without pilot information.
A need to rethink oxygen use
As design performances improve, aircraft are being certified to fly at much higher altitudes. Of course, the OEMs are always pointing out that you can now fly higher above traffic and weather and are encouraging the practice in their sales pitches. Aircraft are now routinely certified to fly at FL450 or higher-even to FL510-and flightcrews are doing this routinely.
One little detail everybody seems to be forgetting is that, when flying above FL410, one pilot is required to use an oxygen mask. This is not being done and is in direct violation of the FARs. While wing designs are much more forgiving than they used to be, physics and human physiology do not change. Explosive or rapid decompression in the 40s is extremely dangerous. I believe there is a good reason for this FAR in place.
Remember, for Part 135 and 121 operations one pilot must wear and use oxygen above FL350. To me, this means somebody (FAA) thinks this (FL350) is the altitude where the danger probably really starts. Think about that. Part 91 operators are already being spotted 6000 ft above commercial operators on the use of oxygen. Also, note that there is a distinction in Part 121 (121.333) between small and large-cabin aircraft. Most Part 91 aircraft are small-cabin aircraft, which means they lose their air pressure much faster than a large airplane would.
Part 91 pilots are routinely flying small-cabin aircraft 10,000-16,000 ft higher than the altitude at which FAA says commercial operators have to use an oxygen mask. And yet this regulation is being casually ignored on a daily basis by virtually everyone. What I am wondering is how and when the "professional" pilot community decided the FAR could be dismissed. Another thought-what do you think of the chances for the (unaware) owners in the back with their little orange plastic oxygen masks? This might be one that the pilot community needs to rethink.
__ ATP, Citation
- The Av Hazard reporter has a very valid concern. He mentions the word "professional" in his statement. When looking at Webster's dictionary, one definition for the word is "conforming to the rules and standards of a profession." This implies than that professional pilots willingly conform to and follow the rules (FARs) and standards. Any pilot who conforms to the rules even when no one is looking should review FAR 91.211, 121.333 and 135.89 for information on supplemental oxygen requirements. Another rule seldom followed is that, when one pilot leaves the cockpit while above FL250 for Part 135 operations, or FL350 operating under Part 91, the remaining pilot is required to wear an oxygen mask until the other pilot returns. The Av Hazard reporter is spot on-the results can be catastrophic. (Reference the Payne Stewart accident.)