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.
JAC targeted with safety alert
Due to an increase in runway excursions at JAC (Jackson Hole WY), FAA issued Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 11011 and a companion supplement to expand on best practices for flightcrews operating into JAC. Between 2007 and 2010, a total of 20 aircraft departed the runway while landing at JAC and it was not via a taxiway. Part 121 air carriers and GA aircraft share the statistic equally with 10 excursions each. According to the SAFO, FAA says the excursions are caused by inadequately planned or executed approach and touchdowns resulting in aircraft departing the departure end of the runway after landing.
Flightcrews who use best practices and mitigation strategies and work to fly a stabilized approach and touchdown should fly accurate, on speed, on path, configured landings to a touchdown within the touchdown zone. Specific geographic operating procedures are recommended for JAC—for example, flightcrews can expect a downhill and downwind landing when using Rwy 19. This can cause the aircraft to float and land long as the pilot attempts to dissipate speed. For further information see AC 91-79, Runway Overrun Prevention, SAFO 0612, Landing Performance Assessments and SAFO SUP 11011, Best Practices & Mitigation Strategies for Special Airports.
Wildlife strikes up
Bird strikes continue to rain havoc on aircraft operations throughout the world according to FAA with a total estimated cost of $625 million per year in direct and associated cost. While bird strikes account for 97% of wildlife strikes deer continue to cause serious problems at GA airports in close proximity to rural or wooded areas. From 1990–2009, there were 964 reported deer strikes in the US alone. Given the fact that experts believe that almost 60% of wildlife strikes go unreported these figures are believed to be much higher. You can help by reporting all wildlife strikes and FAA has made it easier by use of a symbol or tag. By using your smart phone and a free app, scan the tag and the app will take your directly to an online wildlife strike reporting form. Fill out the information concerning the strike and click submit—it just doesn't get any easier than that!
Fly the airplane
We were cleared to cross an intersection at 12,000 ft and then descend via the [arrival]. VNAV was selected with an assigned 250-kt speed in the descent. 8000 ft was the selected altitude in the window for the VNAV descent. Center then issued a clearance to fly normal speed until the intersection. I wanted to pick up speed, but knew that I would have to get below the depicted descent path in order to slow for the 250-kt restriction. So, without saying anything to the first officer, I deselected VNAV and selected vertical descent on the mode control panel (MCP) while de-selecting the autothrottle. I descended below the descent path and accelerated to about 275 kts and held that speed as we continued the descent toward the intersection. I did not remember to place 12,000 ft in the altitude window.
We noticed ice on the wings so I turned on the wing anti-ice and watched as the ice melted off the wings. As I turned off the wing anti-ice, the first officer pointed out that I was not leveling off at 12,000 ft per the intersection restriction. I was surprised that I missed seeing us descending through our altitude and climbed the aircraft back to 12,000 ft.
I made several mistakes. The first was that I made an MCP change and did not mention it to the first officer. Second, I did not remember to place the altitude alerter to the next restriction altitude as required when deselecting VNAV. Third, I allowed myself to be distracted at a critical time when I should have had my attention on flying the aircraft. (Taken from NASA Callback Nov 2011)
- In any aircraft, regardless of technology, we have to stay situationally aware at all times about what the aircraft is doing. The slightest distraction, whether a legitimate radio call or abnormal occurrence, makes it easy to take your eye off the ball and miss an altitude or heading. In a multipilot crew, 2 heads are better than one but that assumes the other head knows what you are doing. In the example above the captain did not announce changes to the flight director or MCP. As a result, the first officer did not know that extra vigilance was now needed to ensure the limit. In this case the altitude restriction was not exceeded. Someone, regardless of how many pilots are in the cockpit, must always be flying the airplane—period. Whether the hands are physically on the controls or the autopilot is engaged we must always remember—Aviate, navigate, communicate. When all else fails, fly the airplane!