Test your knowledge of airport characteristics!

On 14/01/2013, in Life around runways, by steve

Fact: there are on average more than two runway incursion events in Europe every day. A lot of effort is going into eliminating the reasons for runway incursions… These range from improving procedures to increasing awareness of pilots, air traffic controllers and ground vehicle drivers of the dangers a runway represents.

Now you too can test your knowledge of airport characteristics… Click the image below and take the quiz. Tell us your score in a comment!

Click image to take the quiz!


Multiple Line-ups on the Same Runway

On 09/09/2011, in SKYbrary News, by steve

News from EUROCONTROL’s aviation safety knowledge base SKYbrary.

Multiple line-ups is a technique employed at some busy airports to expedite the departure of aircraft from the runway. It concerns departing aircraft being instructed to line-up on the same runway at different positions using different access taxiways and is a significant capacity enabler when implemented in line with ICAO recommendations and phraseology.

Learn more about Multiple Line-ups on the Same Runway on SKYbrary.


Great potential in addressing the quality of the runways

On 28/01/2011, in Life around runways, by steve

Armann Norheim, Rapporteur of the ICAO Friction Task Force speaks to Bryan
Camoens on the issues facing airfields around the globe, wet weather conditions and how
maintainence and planning schedules should be set.

Bryan Camoens:
What are some of the issues that airfields are facing across the globe?

Armann Norheim:
Increased focus on safety areas (RESA). There has been a growing awareness among regulators of the fact that operations on wet and contaminated runways do not have the desired safety level and this has brought the quality of safety areas into sharp focus.

Bryan Camoens:
Could you please elaborate on some of the challenges and solutions for airfield expansion and renewal projects?

Armann Norheim:
Airports built before today’s safety standards and recommendations came into effect might find themselves in situation with no room available to expand. The reason for this can be topographic or built in by expanding urban areas. An emerging solution to this problem related to safety areas is the new technology of Engineered Materials Arresting Systems (EMAS) for aircraft overruns.

Bryan Camoens:
What key issues need to be taken into account when attempting to maximise safety and efficiency for airports?

Armann Norheim:
Appropriate safety areas dimensioned and free for obstacles to meet the operational requirements of the aeroplanes for which the runway is intended. With appropriate safety areas the airliners can utilise the full potential payload of their aircrafts. (Reduced/lack of safety areas should result in reduced published declared distances, TORA, LDA).

Click here to read the full article


Goodies for the fight against runway incursions

On 24/01/2011, in Life around runways, by steve

Although we hear the word runway excursion more often these days than runway incursion, these latter remain a problem and constant efforts are required to maintain the awareness of the dangers involved in stumbling on an active runway without clearance.

Training of pilots, air traffic controllers and vehicle drivers is essential of course. Additionally, posters in the crew room as well as folders and flyers on desks a great help for any runway incursion prevention campaign.

A while ago we created designs for bumper stickers you can put on airport vehicles, making the dangers of runway incursion visible in yet another powerful way.

We would like to share these designs with you. Feel free to use them at your airport. You can also read more about runway incursions here.

Even the bull stops at a red stop bar...

No question...

  Click here to read the full article


Airfield Engineering Asset Maintenance – A sector report

On 17/01/2011, in Life around runways, by steve

This article was compiled by Bryan Camoens and Ed Haines for the Airfield Engineering and Asset Maintenance 2011 Conference. You can contact Bryan here. To visit the conference web-site, click here.

Airport engineers, operational and maintenance heads are working under extremely challenging operational scheduling and cost constraints. In addition new, larger aircraft types and higher traffic levels require these personnel to plan significant extension and refurbishment of their airfield assets to ensure their airport is not left behind.

The need for runway expansions, upgrades and refurbishments is increasing the demands made on your airfield maintenance plans and strategies. At the same time, the windows of opportunity for carrying out this work whilst maintaining operational efficiency are becoming more limited.

This research paper will touch on the issues, challenges and probable outcomes we may begin to see on the Airfield Engineering landscape.

Click here to read the full article


Unveiling the Matrix

On 10/01/2011, in Flight Safety Foundation News, by steve

Interesting material from the Flight Safety Foundation.

As is often the case with a tragic event, the Midway accident drove regulators to search for deficiencies within their own policies and guidance. A new tool for assessing and reporting runway condition is informally called the “Runway Condition Matrix.”

Read more about it here.


Via bends and kinks to Honolulu

On 04/10/2010, in On the go..., by steve

The shortest route to HNL

There are many ways of flying from Brussels to Honolulu and the travel time is in excess of twenty hours in all cases. You might say that it does not matter since no sane person would want to do a trip like that in one stretch but in case you do, the best option is Continental Airlines from Brussels to Newark (EWR) and then again Continental Airlines Newark to Honolulu (HNL) non-stop. CO is the only airline offering a non-stop connection from the US East Coast to HNL. It is a flight of 10 hours and 30 minutes though very often 10 to 15 minutes are shaved from the schedule time. The only uncertain aspect of such a routing is the 90 minute transfer time in Newark. Although clearing immigration, picking up your bag, rechecking it and going through security can be done under an hour, leaving you 30 minutes to find your gate, if the flight from Brussels is late, things can get tight and you may end up waving good-by to the departing 767… However, we have done this route twice now and made the connection each time so may be there is less to worry about than I imagined. Continental knows whet they are doing when they allow this connection.

Five years ago we flew to Honolulu with Delta just a few days after Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of New Orleans. We had to change planes in Atlanta and the fuel situation was so bad there that we had to land in Dallas to fuel the 767 for the long leg to HNL. In early September this year it was Hurricane Earl inching up the East Coast that was threatening to disrupt air traffic in the New York area and hence make a joke of our 90 minute connection time (proving that I was not worrying over nothing). As it happened, Earl was slower than forecast and it arrived a day after us even then staying well clear of the coast, sparing New York and the various connections.

Boarding in Brussels

Misty morning in Zaventem...

The 767-400 was docked at terminal B in Zaventem and when the pre-boarding announcement came, there was a mad rush towards the gate as if each and every passenger on that place was travelling in first class, had multiple disabilities, was accompanied by five kids or all three… The gate agents tried to organize a boarding-by-rows process but they were facing a mission impossible. For one, the announcements could barely be heard so no one was really sure which rows were being called so they all pushed forward, blocking the way of those who knew that they had been called… There were several American families who remained seated as instructed, patiently waiting their number to come up while they watched the multilingual, undisciplined crowd milling about, making a joke of the whole boarding process.

Click here to read the full article


Aircraft based tools in the fight against runway incursions

On 06/04/2010, in Life around runways, by steve

Aircraft-based airport surface traffic indications and alerting systems

This is an edited version of the presentation made at the recent ESAVS 2010 conference by Doug Arbuckle of the FAA. Coauthors of the paper were David E. Gray of FAA, Peter Moertl of Mitre Corporation and Jim Duke of SAIC. You can download the original text of their paper here and the slides here.


As discussed before, runway incursions and collisions is a major area of concern world-wide. There are on average more than two runway incursion events per day in Europe alone and the situation in the United States is similarly serious. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has on its most wanted list a system to “give immediate warnings of probable collisions/incursions directly to cockpit flight crews.”

In our previous two articles we covered the visual tools for preventing runway incursions (RWSL and FAROS) and the communications related causes of runway incursions. In this third article we will look into aircraft based airport surface traffic indications and alerting systems being developed in the US as a further line of defense against runway incursions.

The background

As you may be aware, in the US two different data links have been adopted for ADS-B: 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090 ES) and the 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT). Given that the international community has agreed to the use of the 1090 ES link, most air transport and international business aircraft are expected to equip with this link; the UAT link is expected to be primarily used by general aviation aircraft whose operations are confined to the US. The US is implementing uplink services on both links. One such uplink broadcast service is Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B). TIS-B derives traffic information from one or more ground-based surveillance sources and uplinks this traffic information to ADS-B-equipped aircraft, enabling them to receive position reports about non-ADS-B-equipped aircraft; this service supports the transition period to full ADS-B equipage in the NAS. ADS-R is another uplink broadcast service which rebroadcasts ADS-B messages received from aircraft on one link to nearby aircraft broadcasting on the other link, making it possible for all ADS-B-equipped aircraft to receive the information being transmitted on the other link.

Click here to read the full article


The communications related aspects of runway incursions

On 31/03/2010, in Life around runways, by steve

More than two incursions a day…

Few other incidents return with the grim and persistent regularity of runway incursions. A lot of effort by all concerned has resulted in a reduction of the total number of incidents but there are still, on average, more than two runway incursions in Europe per day. Clearly, there remains a lot of work to be done.

But what exactly is a runway incursion? According to the definition provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) a runway incursion is “Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft.”

Of course the words “incorrect presence” cover a wide range of possibilities from part of an aircraft sticking into the protected area to a vehicle or aircraft being entirely in the path of an aircraft landing or taking off. The dangers need no explaining… The reasons why highly trained professionals like pilots and controllers and less well trained but still “aerodrome aware” vehicle drivers make mistakes leading to runway incursions provide a telling story with roots in human psychology, engineering, traffic design, information technology and one may dare to say, on occasion Murphy’s law.

Click here to read the full article


New tools in the arsenal to prevent runway incursions – RWSL and FAROS

On 16/03/2010, in Life around runways, by steve

Although take-offs and a landing from and on taxiways had filled the news recently, the problem of runway incursions is much more of a problem and in spite of major efforts on the part of all concerned, pilots, air traffic controllers and ground vehicle drivers, it refuses to go away. Not that there are no achievements but in Europe there are more than 2 incidents on average per day and an airport like Charles De Gaulle in Paris has in excess of 30 runway incursions per year! The situation is not much different in the US either.

We all know the traditional warnings that come into view as we approach the runway. Red stop bars across the taxiway, flashing yellow lights on the side, markings and signs… all meant to say: beware, you are approaching a dangerous place, proceed with care. The same message is repeated countless times during basic and recurrent training yet aircraft and ground vehicles regularly blunder onto the runway, flashing lights and stop-bars notwithstanding.

The FAA and Lincoln Labs in the US have developed a new set of tools called the Runway Status Lights (RWSL) System and Final Approach Runway Occupancy Signal (FAROS). Both systems use outside light cues to warn pilots and drivers of unsafe conditions while also providing appropriate warnings in the control tower.

In this day of digital link communications and moving map displays on board many aircraft, why would anyone want to introduce a system that uses light signals as a warning? If pilots and drivers ignored the lit stop bar and the yellow flashing lights, will they heed this new system?

Click here to read the full article


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