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.
Ag aircraft near miss
Immediately after takeoff from Rwy 27 at CKF (Cordele GA), we passed only a few hundred feet over an agricultural aircraft landing on the same runway in the opposite direction. Since we were at a non-towered airport, we made radio calls from the time we taxied from the FBO to the time we left the traffic pattern. Not only did the agricultural aircraft not make any radio calls—his transponder was either off or absent as we never had any traffic alerts on our TCAS.
__ATP. Hawker 800A
- Unfortunately, non-towered airports can be a high-risk operation when not all pilots follow established safety rules. All pilots must look, listen and talk on the CTAF when operating to, from or near a non-towered airport. The “big sky little bullet” theory should not be SOP for those few avoiding the rules. All aircraft, including ag planes, must communicate over the CTAF when operating around uncontrolled airports.
More position and hold
In the June issue of Av Hazard one reporter described his concern about the position-and-hold clearance. Here are some safety tips from the FAA Runway Safety Office. FAA recommends that, if you are holding in position on a runway at a tower-controlled airport for more than 90 sec without being cleared for takeoff, you should query the controller. Pilots should have a heightened sense of awareness when holding on an active runway, since you can’t see landing traffic behind you. The most common problem with pilots when issued a position-and-hold clearance is pilots departing without a takeoff clearance.
Some pilots have departed when hearing a similar sounding call sign while others have departed without ever stopping on the runway. To increase the chances of being seen, the pilot should make the aircraft more visible while waiting on the runway, according to advisory circulars AC 91-73A and AC 120-74A. They recommend, “When entering a runway either for takeoff, or when taxiing into ‘position and hold,’ flightcrews should make their aircraft more conspicuous to aircraft on final behind them and to ATC by turning on lights (except for landing lights) that highlight the aircraft’s silhouette.” If weather conditions are such that the strobe lights or recognition lights would distract or have an adverse effect on other pilots close by, they should not be turned on until cleared for takeoff.
Once takeoff clearance is received, or when commencing the takeoff roll, you should turn your landing lights on (and strobes and recognition lights if not turned on already) as an indication to ground personnel, other pilots and ATC that the aircraft is starting to move. The AC mentions a word of caution that use of lights in this manner is an advisory procedure, so not all pilots may adhere to this guideline at an airport without an operating control tower. For more information on this and other safety ideas visit the Runway Safety website, faa.gov/airports/runway_safety/.
Bad comm jumps at BLM
We were on an IFR flightplan to BLM (Belmar NJ) and cleared for a visual approach. We changed frequency from approach control to the local CTAF, heard nothing but saw jumpers in the air over the airport. The jump plane was not talking to approach control or on Unicom but was talking with New York Center. This lack of communication is going to get someone killed!
__ ATP. King Air 200
- Looking at the VFR sectional chart and Airport Facility Directory for BLM, there is information concerning parachute operations. However, instrument approach plates and charts do not provide any indication of parachute operations. The reporter stated the jump plane was talking with New York Center which technically makes it in compliance with the FARs. FAR 105.13 states, “Radio communications have been established between the aircraft and the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the affected airspace of the first intended exit altitude at least 5 minutes before the parachute operation begins. The pilot in command must establish radio communications to receive information regarding air traffic activity in the vicinity of the parachute operation.” The pilot was talking with ATC for the exit altitude. That being said, New York Center should have talked with the approach control of the underlying airspace so they could advise inbound traffic—the King Air—to alert the crew of the jump operations in progress. Normally, jump planes work the same airports and the jump pilot should also broadcast over the CTAF when jumpers are away. Most airplanes have more than 1 radio and advising non-participating aircraft notice of jump operations at the airport is only good business, not to mention good safety!