Safety The potential for incursion incidents and injuries is great on active
airport aprons and runways. Ground personnel need to stay diligent in their
efforts to keep safe, writes Michelle Garetson.
Runway and ramp incursions and incidents are usually
the result of a series of events taking place simultaneously in the efforts
necessary for quick aircraft turnarounds. Those on the ground need to remain
alert at all times to avoid situations that would put them or others in harm's
way. Many businesses, organizations, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration,
have programs in place to aid in this effort.
Runway Incursion: The FAA defines this as being, "Any occurrence at an airport involving an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard or results in loss of separation with an aircraft taking off or intending to take off, landing, or intending to land."
Types of runway incursions include: Pilot Deviation (PD), Operational Error (OE), which is caused by a tower controller, or Vehicle/Pedestrian Deviation (V/PD), which is any person or vehicle on an airport that causes a runway incursion.
In March, a startling report entitled Review of Air Traffic Management-related Accidents Worldwide: 1980-2001 presented at the European Aviation Safety Seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, revealed that collisions between aircraft and ground vehicles topped the list of accidents involving air traffic management. A whopping 68 percent involved aircraft that struck parked ground vehicles or other aircraft during taxi operations.
The FAA Runway Safety program offers guidance for all involved at the airport including pilots, controllers, as well as ground personnel. Current and historical data regarding runway incursions, Advisory Circulars, human factors information, as well as training videos and publications can be accessed from the FAA Runway Safety website at www.faarsp.org. Good news came in August as the FAA announced that the number of people, airport vehicles, and airplanes entering runways by mistake declined by 17 percent last year from the previous year. FAA credited new technology and a campaign to increase awareness of the problem.
Maintenance And Ramp Safety Society (MARSS), a non-profit society dedicated to reducing aviation human error, offers videos and posters to help operations visually remember to stay diligent in safety efforts. MARSS has recently developed a Ground Accident Report Form that anyone can obtain from the organization for use in their operations. So many times accidents and incidents are repeated due to lack of properly documenting the event and then not acting on gathered information to improve procedures to prevent future incidents. The report form outlines everything from injury and damage descriptions to phase of aircraft operation at the time of incident to contributing human factors, as well as environmental factors. The summary includes information as to cause and action to prevent re-occurrence.
The Australasian Aviation Ground Safety Council produced a 2003 Calendar Striving for Excellence in Aviation Ground Safety, which depicts various safety reminders.
Michigan-based FAAC, Inc. provides Airport Ground Vehicle Driver Simulators, which can be configured into ARFF vehicles, snow removal equipment, as well as standard ground vehicles, to help train operators seeking an Airside Vehicle Operator's Permit (AVOP) or those needing a refresher course. FAAC can offer geo-specific maps of airports to denote buildings, terrain, runways, etc. of the customer's airport.
Air BP's Health, Safety & Environmental Change Manager, Tom Herod, based at Dulles Airport in Dulles, VA, has worked with his team to develop a variety of training and awareness materials to address runway and ramp safety. (Please see sidebar).
Feature "We're Here To Help You" The FAA's Runway Safety program is gaining momentum in the effort to reduce, if not eliminate, airport collisions and runway incursions reports Michelle...