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.
Confusing taxi at RDU
Taxiing around RDU (Raleigh–Durham NC)—specifically operating on Taxiway Alpha or Juliet—is confusing. When instructed to turn onto Taxiway Charlie or Delta from A or J, the signs are not clearly marked and are often mistaken, resulting in aircraft turning onto the wrong taxiway. Painting signs on the ground in this area of the airport would help greatly in identifying the correct taxiway.
__ATP, Embraer EMB145
- Having recently taxied around RDU himself, the author agrees with the pilot above. Since runway incursion prevention is on NTSB’s “most wanted list,” airport management must mark all taxiways, runways and airport roadways clearly with proper signage and surface markings to provide clear and legible guidance for flight and ground traffic. An attempt was made to contact airport management concerning this Av Hazard report but no response was received. A hard copy was mailed to the RDU airport manager.
More frustration about EGE
In my 27 years 5 months as an air traffic controller, I have never heard of a bigger misapplication of the FAA 7110.65 Air Traffic Control Handbook and the FAA 7210.3 Facility Operations Handbook as what took place at EGE (Eagle CO) on Jan 3 2010. (See Pro Pilot, May 2010, p 44.) This is a prime example of why the contract tower program should be canceled. FAA does not provide enough oversight of these towers or their staffing. As you noted, the manager stated he was on duty for 10 hrs—the legal maximum time allowed on duty. This is an example of how these facilities are understaffed. The manager’s statement that they handled 263 operations that day and that gate hold procedures had to be put in effect should be criminal. If I had incurred any expenses due to the action of the tower, I would sue SERCO (the contractor) for reimbursement.
FAA controllers working VFR towers routinely handled 120–150 operations an hour. Check out the traffic count at ACK (Nantucket MA) on a Sunday in the summer or even BED (Bedford MA) all year long—both still FAA-operated towers due to volume. I have never encountered the use of gate hold procedures for VFR aircraft. If the skill level of those controllers is so low that they can't handle 21 aircraft an hour, maybe they should try another line of work. I think it’s time AOPA and other organizations started putting pressure on FAA to cancel the contract tower program. Just reading that story made my head hurt.
__ATP, not specified
- Thank you for providing another perspective on this Av Hazard issue. The question of FAA vs contract towers continues to be fought in Washington as the Administration, Congress and the Senate work toward an FAA Authorization Bill and the future of the FAA infrastructure.
Poor ATC comm at Baghdad
Transmission quality on Baghdad Center, Iraq, South Sector is extremely poor with constant cutouts resulting in aircraft frequently requesting, “Say again.” This creates occasional confusion in ATC instructions.
__ATP, Airbus A340
- Having flown in Iraq himself, the author can attest that ATC communication quality there is still tenuous at best. Radar coverage is spotty and many military, contract and foreign aircraft operate in the country without TCAS to help avoid other aircraft. My aircraft was placed on an opposing heading with another large aircraft at the same altitude and we barely avoided a collision when the other aircraft emerged from the clouds at our altitude. Our aircraft was not TCAS equipped and I suspect the other aircraft did not have TCAS either or the pilot would have altered course. Aviation operations in Iraq must still be accomplished with great care and attention.
NTSB child restraint safety alert
Recently, NTSB issued a safety alert (SB-10-19) on child restraint systems in aviation. The board recommends parents of small children always to use proper child restraint systems when traveling in aircraft. The bulletin states that, during otherwise survivable crashes, parents of small children cannot hold on to children during a crash sequence or turbulence, resulting in preventable injuries or death in children 2 years of age or younger. NTSB goes on to say that, after a crash and during the evacuation, the parent or caregiver could not find the child because he/she was not secure and lost in the crash.
- FAA does not require passengers traveling with small children under the age of 2 to purchase a ticket (seat) for the child. However, NTSB recommends that, “when traveling by air, all parents purchase an airline ticket for every child in the family and place each child in a size-appropriate restraint system to ensure that everyone travels safely.” The complete safety alert can be found on the NTSB website—ntsb.gov/alerts/ SA_015.pdf.