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.
Intl Runway Safety Summit
In an effort to combat rising runway safety issues, FAA will host the Intl Runway Safety Summit from Dec 1–3, 2009 in Washington DC. Touted as the premier such summit, the event is cosponsored by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and MITRE Corp. The main goal of the summit is to address the problems plaguing airports around the world when unauthorized aircraft, vehicles or pedestrians venture on or near an active runway—ie, runway incursion.
Reducing the frequency and severity of runway incursions should be every airport manager, air traffic controller and pilot’s goal. Topics to be covered are human factors, airport geometry, signs, lighting, new technology, ATC and pilot procedures and safety management systems (SMS). Speakers will include FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and FAA COO Hank Krakowski. One speaker who will likely pack the halls is Capt Robert Bragg, the sole surviving flightcrew member of the Pan Am Tenerife crash—the worst runway incursion in aviation history. With a lineup that includes many more speakers, FAA is hoping that all aviation professionals will attend the summit including airport managers, ATC controllers, pilots, engineers, human factor specialists, safety experts and airline and aviation association officials. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top 10 “best practices” for pilots to improve airport safety
• Encourage use of correct terminology and proper voice cadence.
• Eliminate distractions in operational areas.
• Obtain and use airport diagrams. Use the FAA runway safety website to find airport diagrams for all airports.
• Conduct “clearing turns” prior to entering any runway.
• Maintain a sterile cockpit when taxiing.
• Maintain appropriate taxi speed.
• Encourage pilots to have “eyes out” when taxiing.
• Encourage pilots to have a “heads up” policy when taxiing.
• Attend safety seminars and programs on runway safety.
• Improve safety by teaching, advocating, stressing and understanding situational awareness.
Enter the icing zone
As winter approaches, pilots are flying in an often misunderstood flight regime—frost, ice and supercooled large droplets (SLD) icing. NTSB has flight into icing conditions at the top of its “most wanted” list. The board states, “A widespread and firmly held, but incorrect, belief in the aviation community is that the activation of deice boots should be delayed until the buildup of 1/4–1/2 inch of ice to prevent ‘ice bridging.’
As a result, in many cases, flightcrews have not activated the deice boots until after the buildup of dangerous levels of icing on the aircraft.” NTSB does not believe that FAA’s response is quick enough, but does acknowledge some progress with the issuance of AC 25.1419-1A “Certification of Transport Category Airplanes for Flight in Icing Conditions.” FAA states in its advisory circular that activating the boots with less than 1/4–1/2 inch of ice may not completely shed the ice from one boot activation and the remainder of the ice should be removed by multiple cycles of the deicing boots and that the remaining ice should not be a threat for “ice bridging.”
NASA conducted extensive research to prove that ice bridging does not occur during early activation of deice boots. Its research included the use of wind tunnels and aircraft flying in actual icing conditions testing main wing and tailplane icing problems. At the completion of this testing, NASA created several aircraft icing learning tools on DVD. Online training is available free of charge on the NASA website at aircrafticing.grc.nasa.gov/courses_inflight. html. Several Web-based courses on icing are available at the NASA GRC website.
In Dec 2006, NTSB issued a Safety Alert—SA-006 “Aircraft Ground Icing,” which provides vital safety information on icing for pilots. The alert provides critical information that describes the gravity of the problem and provides information pilots should know about airplane icing before they take off. For more information on this NTSB Safety Alert dated Dec 2006, go to ntsb.gov/alerts /SA_006.pdf. Whether pilots believe they should activate the boots early or wait until ice has accumulated to a depth of 1/2 inch on the wings, they need to make themselves aware of all information on aircraft icing and visit the NASA website to review the icing research themselves.
It is highly unlikely that aircraft manufacturers will go back and conduct aircraft icing testing on an aircraft already certified. In the absence of “recertification” testing, any manufacturer is less likely to revise its flight operations manuals to change the boot activation procedure. The best advice to pilots is to be informed about the latest aircraft icing information and use it!