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.
High Oshkosh traffic
Being based at ATW (Appleton WI), 16 nm NNW of OSH (Oshkosh WI), we have to be extra vigilant during EAA AirVenture. On multiple occasions this year, when inbound from the west or southwest our flightplanned route took us well west of the Oshkosh area. About 150 miles out we were given reroutes that took us directly over the OSH VOR.
We were given a crossing restriction of 11,000 ft approximately 50 nm from the VOR, and descended further to 7000 approximately 25 miles out. We were then vectored east of OSH before we turned north toward ATW. This routing and these altitudes seem to expose us unnecessarily not only to the numerous slow-moving aircraft in the OSH area, but also to many non-transponder-equipped aircraft that do not show on TCAS.
__ATP, Gulfstream V
- As the contributor states, all pilots must remain extremely vigilant around AirVenture. During the event, the traffic count is almost as high as ORD. This Av Hazard concern was passed on to FAA in the interest of increased safety without any names. Pilots should not forget other reporting methods such as the NASA reporting cards and the FAA Hotline. The last option can be done anonymously.
Vehicle on runway
Recently, as we boarded our King Air 350 and started our engines, we noticed a gray late-model Chevrolet Suburban which drove across the ramp and proceeded down the taxiway parallel to Runway 5. We waited for a couple of minutes thinking that the driver of the truck would announce himself on the Unicom frequency.
Hearing no transmissions on the frequency, we proceeded onto the taxiway and taxied toward Rwy 5. We noticed that the Suburban was stopped on the taxiway where it turned toward the runway. As we taxied slowly down the taxiway, we observed the Suburban pulling out onto Rwy 5 at the threshold.
A single-engine aircraft then announced on the Unicom frequency that he was entering a downwind for Rwy 5. The pilot of the single-engine plane on downwind noticed the Suburban and made at least 2 radio calls reporting the truck on the runway. The FBO attendant, not being aware of (or able to see) the truck, said something like “Say again.” The Suburban then drove off the runway and headed for the airport perimeter fence where it stopped again.
As we held short of the runway, we watched the single-engine plane fly his approach, land and exit the runway. We then made our announcement that we were taking the runway for departure. Looking to the right toward the approach end of Rwy 5, we saw the Suburban again—it was paralleling us and about 30–50 ft away. It then turned away from us and we were able to get its license number as it proceeded to drive away from the runway.
With the Suburban clear, we proceeded to depart and fly back to CAE (Metro, Columbia SC). I spoke with the airport manager, Rick Westfall, who was surprised that the incident had occurred. He told me that the Suburban belonged to one of the principals of an engineering firm that was performing work on the airport and on other airports in South and North Carolina. The manager was receptive to my complaint and assured me that he would do what he could to stop this sort of event from happening again. He also had the driver of the truck contact me.
The driver of the Suburban was a pilot and he thought it was not inappropriate for him to drive onto an active runway and taxiway without any form of communication except the emergency flashers on his truck. He said that he needed to get to an airport commission meeting at 1800 and wanted to take some pictures of work that his firm had done or wanted to do to present at the meeting.
__ATP, Beech King Air 300
- Operating at uncontrolled airports can be dangerous and requires extra vigilance, but it appears the pilot/driver of the vehicle did not operate contrary to any FAR but may only have been lacking in situational awareness and common sense. If aircraft can operate with no radio (NORAD) at airfields, it would be very difficult to require vehicles to have a radio. That being said, FAA’s view is that overall responsibility for airport vehicle operations rests with airport management. According to their runway safety website, “it is important that management establishes written rules or regulations for the safe and orderly operation of vehicles on the airfield.” FAA states the rules and regulations should include the following:
• Vehicle operator requirements
• Vehicle requirements
• Vehicle operations
More information on vehicle operations at airports can be found in FAA Advisory Circular AC 5210-20, Ground Vehicle Operations on Airports, or by visiting the FAA Runway Safety website, faa.gov/airports/runway_safety/vehicle.