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.
Notam format changing
To keep in step with ICAO requirements, the FAA recently released Notice N JO7930.91, Format Changes to Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) which takes effect 30 June 2011. Though the notice states it is primarily for those responsible for originating NOTAMS, it stands to reason, those of us who have to read the NOTAMS should know how to understand the new NOTAM format (thus the secondary audience is for those who "utilize aeronautical information").
New key words will be added to the format prior to the information to alert the reader more clearly of the content; these acronyms or words include—ODP, SID, STAR, CHART, DATA, IAP, VFP, ROUTE and SPECIAL. NOTAMS relating to SIDs, ODPs and STARs will be issued as Flight Data Center (FDC) NOTAMS. RAMP will no longer be used but will be replaced with the word APRON. Information affecting components of an ILS will be prefaced with ILS followed by RWY and the number of the runway.
Other information received from an authorized source but does not meet the criteria of a NOTAM will be preceded by an "O", for example, "LOZ (O) CONTROLLED BURN OF HOUSE 8 NE AER RWY 23". The notice also says that the "O" should be used for aeronautical information more than 5 SM from the airfield.
A "U" (unverified) is used when information is critical but has not been verified by the airport manager or designee. An example would be "ORT 6K8 (U) RWY 7/25 ABANDONED VEHICLE". PAEW is used to indicate personnel and equipment working near a RWY, TWY, AD or APRON and the direction from the associated movement area.
The US NOTAM system is transitioning to become more compliant with the NOTAM standards of ICAO to provide a more consistent worldwide NOTAM system. According to the FAA, we can expect software changes in the future with a promised smoother transition to the Federal NOTAMS System.
Runway incursions gaining confused attention
In June, the FAA issued two documents concerning runway incursions; one stated runway incursions are on their way down and another stated they "note an increase in runway incursions". The first document is the FAA Fact Sheet—"Runway Safety" dated June 6, 2011. According to the FAA Fact sheet runway incursions have been reduced drastically since 2000 from 67 category A and B runway incursions to only 6 in 2010. This is fantastic news and can be attributed to everyone involved; pilots, ATC, the FAA and many other aviation groups and associations.
But wait, the FAA also issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) on June 10, 2011, which stated "This SAFO notes an increase in Runway Incursions, and offers recommendations and resources to reduce the number of occurrences involving pilot errors".
SAFO 11004, Runway Incursion Prevention Actions, provides a little background about runway incursions when the FAA Administrator issued a "Call to Action" on runway safety in August 2007. This action was for the FAA to reduce runway incursions by 10% in five years which worked initially in reducing runway incursions involving pilot error but according to the SAFO the trend is reversing.
Just a quick reminder, a runway incursion is defined as "any unauthorized presence on a runway, regardless of whether or not an aircraft, vehicle or pedestrian presents a potential conflict to an aircraft authorized to land, take off or taxi on a runway".
This is the international standard, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and adopted by the FAA in fiscal year 2008. Surface incidents that do not involve potential aircraft conflicts are classified as category C and D runway incursions. These are low-risk incidents which either presented no conflict or ample time or distance to avoid a conflict or collision.
Regardless of the documents and the numbers, our efforts must continue to prevent all runway incursions. As the FAA Fact sheet says "the entire aviation community can be credited with the remarkable success achieved in runway safety" because a reduction from 67 serious runway incursions to only 6 is an astounding accomplishment.
We can't sit on our laurels though as the SAFO noted that most runway incursions involving pilots was a result of a loss of situational awareness and not following ATC instructions. To further display the FAA's concern of runway incursions and surface deviations, the FAA issued Notice NOTC2822, Safety Tip for Avoiding Surface Deviations and NOTC3073 Airport Surface Deviation Safety Tip. For more information on runway incursions or to get copies of these documents go to www.faa.gov.