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-hr 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.

FMS entry errors

In the Av Hazard "Same sounding names at MDW" (Pro Pilot, Feb 2009, p 28), you cite the cause of the Dec 20, 1995 American Airlines Boeing 757 crash in Cali, Colombia as the crew having "typed in the wrong waypoint and not checked the spelling." In fact, Colombia identified more than one waypoint with the same identifier, in this case "R."

The crew's mistake was assuming the North American FMS protocol of "the 1st on the list is the closest to us" would apply in this case. In fact, the protocol for Colombia and other Latin American countries was "the largest city is the 1st on the list among those with identical identifiers." By selecting the 1st of the waypoints identified as "R," the crew set in motion the incorrect turn that took them into the mountain. Crew error? Of course, but not nearly so basic as simply not checking the spelling of a waypoint in the database.
__ATP. Cessna Citation Excel

Another comment on FMS entries

The pilot reported that he misinterpreted the waypoint LUWKE with LUKEY. At first glance, these waypoints certainly appear confusing, although they are geographically different. However, it has been my experience that when you are not familiar with an area, one easy place to look for help is the departure procedure.

Generally, ATC will not clear you to an initial transition waypoint not depicted on the departure procedure page. For instance, if you take a look at the departure procedure for MDW (MDWAY7), the only waypoint that resembles the spelling and sound is LUWKE. The other waypoint, LUKEY, does not appear on the procedure. This little trick has made my life a lot easier over the years.
__ATP. Bombardier Challenger 604

Taxiing pilot lowering REIL

While I was on approach to LOM (Wings Field, Philadelphia PA) at night, a local flight instructor took it upon himself to change the runway lighting because the REIL was bothering him while he was preparing to depart. After asking if I had the runway, without identifying himself he lowered the intensity setting and shut off the REIL. I was told by line service there have been many complaints about this individual. Someone needs to have a talk with this flight instructor.
__ATP. Cessna Citation Bravo