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.
Same sounding names at MDW
During a rush-hour departure out of MDW (Midway, Chicago IL), we received a full route clearance from an overworked controller. We were given the MDW6 departure to LEWKE intersection then to GIJ Vortac to join our route. After confirming the clearance (phonetic spelling of fixes that were read quickly) and re_checking the route mileage in the FMS, we taxied to the runway. On departure we were cleared direct to LEWKE and after our turn were queried by the approach controller about our heading. We were headed to LUKEY intersection (72 nm SW of MDW) instead of LEWKE (31 nm east of MDW). I had entered the wrong intersection (same name, different spelling) in the FMS. After reviewing our route it did not seem out of the ordinary to receive such a turn initially, since we had been sent south before being cleared east out of MDW. In my opinion having 2 intersections that sound identical within the same busy airspace is setting the stage for confusion. There have already been at least 3 reports on this situation submitted to ASRS and this problem needs to be solved immediately!
__Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation Bravo
- Not knowing which runway the pilot departed or what avionics are installed in the aircraft, it is difficult to review the departure. The SID is now MDW7 and GIJ VORTAC is approximately 83 nm east of MDW. If the nav system is an IFR approved FMS or GPS, the SID should be loaded from an incorruptible database which would load the correct waypoint. FAA should be more observant when naming intersections. This Av Hazard will be forwarded to the safety hotline. However, flightcrews must be ever vigilant for waypoint names and their spelling.
The American Airlines Boeing 757 crash in Colombia on Dec 20, 1995 was caused by the flightcrew typing in the wrong waypoint and not confirming the spelling. SIDs and STARs should be loaded from the incorruptible database and not loaded manually on a FMS or GPS. These waypoints are coded specifically for the RNP navigation required and the sensitivity of the GPS flight display is set by the preloaded waypoint. Hand loading the waypoints can introduce spelling errors as indicated above and possibly flying the aircraft outside of defined airspace, resulting in terrain or aircraft separation loss.
Traffic conflicts in Colorado
Opposite direction departure and arrival procedures are necessary and the norm for ASE (Aspen CO). However, ASE tower controllers consistently exercise the reckless practice of launching aircraft off Runway 33 without adequate separation from aircraft landing on Rwy 15. Recently, while well inside a 3 mile final we were shocked when the Avanti holding short of Rwy 33 was cleared for immediate takeoff. Our separation from the banking Avanti while on short final was unacceptable. After a telephone call to the tower I was assured that this was not normal procedure. Moments later however, while in the cockpit preparing for the next leg I heard a repeat of our situation playing out over the radio. Both pilots questioned the controller with obvious uneasy tones in their voices. I knew the feeling all too well.
__ATP. Dassault Falcon 50EX
- There was a similar Av Hazard report for ASE in Pro Pilot, Nov 2008, p 28. The pilot reported opposite direction landing and takeoffs as well as having only 1 controller in the tower during the day working all 3 positions. Since there is only 1 runway at ASE and the airport is surrounded by mountainous terrain, there is a need in this case for aircraft to land and takeoff on the same runway in opposite directions. However, this is not an excuse for having the departures and arrivals sequenced so close together. Listening to the ground or tower frequency maintains a high level of situational awareness. This is critical in avoiding conflicts like the one above.