...Where The Fears Really Lie
While the focus appears to be on maintenance outsourcing, FAA officials privately admit that their greatest fear of an accident has nothing to do with a mechanical failure. Sources have told AVweb in the past that they consider the greatest risk for another airliner disaster to be on the ground and not in the air. And according to an FAA study, a cluster of three California airports, John Wayne, Long Beach and LAX, rank first, second and third in both the outright number of incursions and the number of incursions per 100,000 flights. Because LAX caters almost exclusively to airliners, the FAA is most concerned about its incursion rate, which is fueled by its design. Aircraft must cross active runways to get to the terminal. Boston's Logan Airport has also had an unusually bad year for incursions (15 so far) and officials are taking action. There are now limits on which runways can be used for takeoff and air traffic controllers are getting more training. The FAA and Massachusetts Port Authority are also going to speed up construction of a taxiway that will eliminate the need for aircraft to cross runways to get to the terminal. Logan may end up as a test bed for new anti-incursion technology, such as runway warning lights similar to traffic lights that would alert pilots to possible collisions. No timeline has been set for any of the projects and the FAA admits that not all problems will be solved. "We would be living in a dream world if we thought this would be a cure all," FAA spokesman Jim Peters told the Boston Globe.