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.
RDU signage response
In the Jul 2010 Av Hazard we published a reader’s concerns about confusing signage at RDU (Raleigh–Durham NC) while traveling on Taxiway Alpha or Juliet, when instructed to turn onto Taxiway Charlie or Delta. Below is the response from RDU airport management. “My name is John Graves. As operations director at RDU, I am responding to the letter received by the RDU airport director referencing concern by an EMB145 crewmember that there is inadequate signage on taxiways indicating where Taxiway Delta and Juliet are located while traveling northbound on Taxiway Alpha. I apologize for not responding sooner but we wanted to conduct a thorough assessment of this inquiry as well as review all the airfield signage on the airport to determine if there were any more areas of concern before we responded to this issue. “Our assessment did reveal taxiway guidance signage is needed on Taxiway Alpha indicating where Taxiway Delta and Taxiway Juliet are located as you approach both taxiways from the south. We have since included in our airfield lighting and signage project provisions to install a lighted Taxiway D guidance sign on Taxiway A and a surface painted Taxiway J guidance sign on Taxiway D indicating where to turn for Taxiway J. The authority takes airport safety very seriously and is always evaluating the airport to ensure we maintain a safe and efficient airfield environment for aircraft operations.”
- Thank you for submitting and responding to safety issues in this venue. Many times, little is done to correct reported safety hazards and it is critical that aviation safety concerns are shared with fellow aviation professionals, not only to alert others about known safety issues but also to bring about positive change and correct those hazards that should be corrected.
Similar sounding fixes create confusion
Flying from MSP (Minneapolis–St Paul MN) to OMA (Eppley, Omaha NE), we were cleared into OMA via the LANTK 1 arrival, FOD transition. Enroute we were recleared to OMA via the LANTK 1, DABOY transition. There was some confusion because DABOY sounds similar to Des Moines, which is another transition on that arrival. To avoid confusion, SIDs, STARs and approaches should not have similar sounding fixes.
__ATP, Bombardier CRJ200
- Navigation fixes are supposed to be 5-letter pronounceable names, which are often a challenge to recite. Agreed, fixes should have distinct and different sounding names (especially on the same ATC procedure), to avoid confusion which could result at least in a pilot deviation or operational error on the safe side or far worse on the other end of the spectrum. This Av Hazard was forwarded to the FAA hotline to raise the agency’s level of awareness on this STAR.
Kudos for new airport signage
New signage and surface markings are very evident as I travel to airports around the country, especially after new construction. This must be very expensive, but I’m certain it’s paying dividends in preventing runway incursions and the lesser evil of being temporarily lost in a sea of concrete. We hardly notice all the important changes in day VMC, but Wow!—what a difference when the visibility is low, surfaces are wet and it’s dark. Thanks to all those unrecognized people who brought these improvements to fruition.
__ATP, Hawker 800XP
- New markings and signs will definitely improve visibility of critical positions on airfields around the US and should go a long way to prevent runway incursions and confusion on airport movement areas. With the expected passage of the FAA Authorization Bill this year, more money for airport improvements should be available to improve the safety record of aviation operations and reduce the numbers of pilot deviations on the ground.
“Taxi to” instructions change
Effective Jun 30, ATC changed the way it issues taxi instructions. Due to the high number of runway incursions and complex taxi patterns, ATC will not issue taxi instructions that include crossing runways to reach the final destination on the field as it has in the past. ATC must issue “explicit clearances to pilots crossing any runway active or closed.” To increase safety further, ATC will only clear a pilot to cross 1 runway at a time before issuing a subsequent runway crossing, unless the runway centerlines are less than 1000 ft apart. For landing traffic, the pilot may still get a “taxi to” clearance to the ramp or gate. However, ATC must still issue specific taxi instructions if the aircraft must cross a runway centerline. For more information on the ATC change to taxi instructions, go to FAA Order N JO 7110.528, which can be found at faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/notice/N7110.528.pdf.