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.
Position and hold
In the not too distant past, position-and-hold clearances were an accident looking for a place to happen. Today, such clearances are given less often and with discretion and are generally of very short duration. Controllers are good at giving the reason and expected time of hold. Pilots are getting much better at full clearance readbacks that enhance situational awareness for all, eg, the pilot reading back, "N12345 position and hold 24" or "N45678 cleared for takeoff 24" instead of saying "Roger," "Here we go" or just clicking the mike to acknowledge a takeoff clearance.
__ATP, Hawker 800XP
- Position-and-hold clearances were a way to expedite departures and increase capacity. However, a disastrous accident occurred at LAX on the night of Feb 1, 1991, when ATC cleared SKW5569, a Fairchild SA227, onto Runway 24L at Intersection 45 with a position-and-hold clearance. According to the NTSB report, the local controller was preoccupied with another airplane, forgot she had cleared an aircraft onto the runway and then cleared USA1493-a Boeing 737-300-for landing on Rwy 24L. The airplanes collided, resulting in 34 deaths, 13 serious injuries and 17 minor injuries. Only 37 people escaped uninjured. The SA227 crew did not have all the aircraft lighting on because they had not been cleared for takeoff. The crew did not have good enough situational awareness to monitor the tower frequency to hear ATC clear an aircraft to land on the same runway.
The accident report is not clear whether the crew of the Boeing 737 was on the tower frequency when the SA227 was cleared into position and hold. If they were, they may have heard the SA227 being cleared onto Rwy 24L. Much has been learned since that tragic accident. ATC does not use the position-and-hold clearance as much. At night most pilots now light up like a Christmas tree whenever they taxi onto an active runway, whether they are rolling for takeoff or not. Pilots must monitor all traffic on the tower frequency while on the runway if they receive a position-and-hold clearance. They should start getting nervous if they are not cleared for takeoff relatively soon. While on final, pilots must pay attention to other air traffic clearances, especially radio calls concerning the landing runway. We need to keep our guard up and adhere to good radio phraseology and professional practices so we are not the next pilots caught in the trap and find ourselves in a position we don't want to hold.
Runway damage at ZNZ
While performing a back track for departure from ZNZ (Zanzibar, Tanzania), we noticed a large hole on the right side of the runway with hundreds of pieces of debris around. We spotted this from the flightdeck at approximately 600 meters from the Rwy 36 threshold. After we advised ATC but received no reply, we taxied back to the apron. ZNZ Rwy 36 is often visited by Airbus A330s, Boeing 767s and 757s. The pavement classification number (PCN) shows that these airplanes can operate there, but at least once a month the runway suffers damage after these large birds land. More serious measurement of the PCN should be performed and use of the airport should be limited to applicable aircraft.
__ATP, Boeing 757/767
- Foreign object damage (FOD) control is everyone's business. This includes groundcrews, flightcrews and airport management. Aircraft with low mounted engines, such as the 757, are more susceptible to FOD than those with high-mounted engines like many corporate jets or turboprops. All flightcrews should report deteriorating runway and taxiways to the local airport management to prevent damage to the next aircraft. The Av Hazard report shows that the pilot reported the hazard to ATC and the local company. To close the safety loop, ensure that the company passes the safety hazard to airport management as well so the debris can be cleaned up quickly.