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Thu, Sep 07, 2006

FAA To Pilots: Be Sure To Use The Right Runway

SAFO Issued In Reaction To Recent Comair Accident

The FAA, in an apparent urge to "do something" after last month's Comair Flight 5191 tragedy, has published Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) 06013 containing suggestions and recommendations for training programs.

Although no specific mention is made of Flight 5191, background for the alert refers to the "recent tragic accident of a commuter jet taking off from the wrong runway." In what one might reasonably consider to be a preview of findings, the alert notes that "many airports are involved with construction projects that result in changing environments."

The bulk of the specific recommendations are listed under the heading "Reminders of Existing FAA Aircraft Ground Operation Guidance." They are a rehash of not necessarily new (but obviously still pertinent) FAA guidelines for taxi preparation and crew resource management techniques.

Among the pertinent reminders for taxi preparation:

  • Review Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for information on runway/taxiway closures and construction areas
  • During taxi operations have a current airport diagram readily available for reference and check the assigned taxi route against the diagram, paying special attention to any unique or complex intersections
  • If the flight has more than one crewmember, it is important that both fully understand clearances and runway assignments
  • During taxi operations the pilots’ maximum attention should be placed upon maintaining situational awareness. The pilot taxiing should have his attention focused outside the aircraft at all times while the other pilot should monitor the taxi progress by reference with the airport diagram and give guidance to the taxiing pilot.

For CRM:

  • Confirm, using the challenge and response technique, that the aircraft is actually positioned on the assigned runway by reference to the heading indicator
  • Use all available resources to ensure the aircraft is positioned on the proper runway. One technique for airplanes that are FMS-equipped is to verbally announce that the proper
    runway and departure procedure are selected in the FMS and that the aircraft heading agrees with the assigned runway for takeoff.

For an in-depth discussion and more suggestions click here to listen to an ANN Special Feature podcast featuring Master CFI Tom Turner.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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