NTSB Seeks Solutions To Runway Incursions

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The NTSB hosted a Runway Safety Forum on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on the 30th anniversary of the worst aviation accident ever -- the runway collision in 1977 between two 747s at Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, that killed 583 people. "We must do something to begin the process of preventing these incursions," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said. "The NTSB has investigated several near collisions in the past few years that could have been catastrophic if it hadn't been for sharp-eyed flight crews and luck." Several panelists were critical of the FAA for being too slow to incorporate safety technologies at airports. Last week, the FAA said it would fast-track its approval process to get GPS ground-navigation devices into cockpits by the end of this year. The units show pilots exactly where their airplane is on a moving map of the airport surface. "This device is a game changer," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said about these devices. "We're confident that it's ready for prime time. I'll say it plainly: it needs to be in our cockpits." The moving maps are part of many electronic flight bag devices, such as those produced by Advanced Data Research and Flight Deck Resources. The runway safety forum included participants from the FAA, Department of Defense, Flight Safety Foundation, Air Line Pilots Association International, AOPA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.