The FAA could soon implement a changeover from “position and hold” to “line up and wait,” to conform with international phraseology standards, NBAA said this week. If approved later this month, the new terminology could be implemented as soon as this June. It’s long overdue, according to NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. She said the NTSB issued six recommendations in July 2000, asking the FAA to change various ATC procedures to reduce the risks of runway operations. “In response, we were recently advised that the FAA soon plans to adopt a single change: the use of “line up and wait” instead of “position and hold” to instruct pilots to enter a runway and wait for takeoff clearance,” Hersman said at a runway safety summit in Washington last month. “We needed to wait nine years for that?” Bob Lamond, of NBAA, told AVweb on Tuesday he doesn’t expect too much distress over the change. “Folks are going to stumble over it at first, but we’ll get used to it,” he said. “It’s been talked about for years, so it’s really a non-issue for us.”
However, implementation will require an “extensive awareness campaign” to ensure that pilots and controllers are informed, NBAA said. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, speaking at the safety summit last month, said the FAA has done a lot to address runway safety concerns. “The numbers prove we’ve made a dramatic improvement,” he said, nothing that in the past year there were just 12 incursions out of more than 50 million operations, and only two of those involved commercial carriers. “We’ve revamped our on-line courses. We’ve produced public service spots. And we mailed a half-million runway safety DVDs and brochures to pilots,” said Babbitt. “It’s been a tremendous joint effort across all parts of the FAA and the aviation industry. It worked.” He added, however, that there is still work to be done in the GA community. “We can make every protection possible, but the human in the loop is the challenge of the future,” he said. Click here for the full text of Babbitt’s talk.