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.
Disturbed by pilot comments
I’m upset with “Upset” (Pro Pilot, Sep 2009, p 17). This is the attitude that gets people killed! First of all look at FAR Parts 91.3 and 91.103. Read them! As a professional pilot you must be better than the average pilot. Your situational awareness covers everything. This is most important while on the ground and in the departure and arrival stages of flight. Knowing who is operating what and where is paramount to the safe operation of aircraft. It’s called the “Big Picture.” I am very surprised that these comments came from an airline pilot who flies multiple trips on a regular basis. We all should learn from USAir Flight 2998 [a Dec 6, 1999 near-miss at PVD].
__ATP, Citation Mustang
- This refers to the Sep 2009 Av Hazard in which an airline pilot complained about this writer’s comments about a near ground collision at CLT (Charlotte NC), reported in the July Av Hazard. A CRJ200 aborted its takeoff when a PC12, cleared for takeoff on the same runway, taxied into position for departure at an intersection further down the runway in front of the CRJ. My original comments stated that even though it was an operational error on the part of the control tower, both flightcrews could have had better situational awareness (SA) by knowing which aircraft were around them and listening to ATC frequencies for other aircraft authorizations. USAir 2998 mentioned above involved an outstanding flightcrew, with excellent SA, which avoided certain tragedy by not accepting takeoff instructions blindly.
They were monitoring airport frequencies and aware of developing problems at the airport due to fog and a lost United aircraft which wandered back onto the active runway. Moments before, a cargo aircraft accepted takeoff instructions and rotated in the fog right over the top of the United aircraft. The point last year remains the same—regardless of whose fault an occurrence may be, all pilots in the cockpit must do everything they can to avoid possible collisions. Serious runway incursions continue and yes, pilots should know what aircraft are behind or in front of them and be aware of who is cleared for takeoff and who is cleared to land.
For example, on Feb 2, 1991, a USAir 737 was cleared to land on Rwy 24L at LAX when a SkyWest Metroliner was placed in position and hold on the same runway. The controller planned to clear the Metro for takeoff before the 737 landed but did not. The Metro was hard to see at night on the runway and when the 737 touched down it could not stop in time to avoid a collision. Clearly, this was the tower controller’s fault and ATC procedures have since been changed, including limiting use of position and hold clearances. There are still many unanswered questions, though, most of them related to flightcrew awareness. We must listen to the radio traffic and be alert, developing our SA of the departure and arrival picture so we can avoid tragedy, even if it’s not our fault.
ATC handling at PHL
During approach to Rwy 9R at PHL, we heard occasional bleedover of music on the active frequency. Other aircraft were reporting this to the controller who then instructed all aircraft to use another frequency where there was no music bleed?over. Then after flying in compliance with all speed/vector instructions we were handed over to Tower. Fully configured inside the FAF, Tower then told us to go around with heading and altitude instructions and handed us back to the approach controller, giving us the frequency that was having bleedover problems. This made communication challenging as we flew in turbulent rain. Finally we were switched over to the proper frequency. We continued the minimums approach and again inside the FAF we were told to go around. ATC separation skills were clearly lacking. After the 2nd approach we landed and cleared left, surrounded by airliners on the taxiway. We waited 30 sec for Tower to hand us off to Ground with no word. It seemed wise therefore to call Ground directly—we did and then were handslapped for not waiting for Tower to hand us off. The entire experience was sloppy and unprofessional by ATC.
__ATP, Citation X
- Not hearing from Tower for a handoff is disconcerting, especially at a busy airport like PHL. Pilots should not be chastised for trying to contact ground control to receive movement instructions on the ground.