Securing the Ramp

SECURING THE RAMP DIA takes a common sense approach to preventing airport accidents By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor July 2001 Denver International’s Airport Security division developed a systematic program to ensure the...


The position of head driver trainer for Denver Int’l has seen nine new faces since 1994. Beckman explains that that’s not because it’s a bad job; quite the contrary.
"We get them over here and they like it and they want to stay, but we always make them rotate back out because every one of them has brought something really important to the program and added something new."
Airport Security takes its head driver trainers from airfield operations management. Beckman says that it is generally an assistant operations manager, although others have held the position. Initially, the driver trainer rotated every six months, though now it is on an annual basis, in conjunction with how operations schedules are bid.
The program continues to grow with each driver trainer’s fresh ideas. They are currently developing a training program specifically for the fire department, and are working on an automated test system.
"I really credit the driver training program to the people that have been involved, because it’s been a real collaborative effort between the nine people that have been our driver trainers for that period of time and some of my staff folks," Beckman states. "The staff folks in Airport Security control the consistency of the program, but the nine people that have been in it have helped drive the creativity in bringing the new issues and ideas in."

The Who, What, & Where ...
... of Denver International’s driver training program.
ImageAnyone driving in the movement and non-movement areas of the airport is categorized as either an air carrier, tenant, contractor, department of aviation, or a vendor. The category determines the level of training necessary for authorization.
In addition to the video, test, and drive-around, drivers operating in aircraft movement areas (runways and taxiways) must complete another step. Those drivers are issued a manual and taken by the vanload on a more extensive drive-around. Rather than just pointing out where driving is permitted, this drive-around explains each area of the airport, what to be careful of, and most importantly, why. After the drive-around, the drivers take a written test.
Air carrier, tenant, contractor, and department of aviation drivers must complete the video, test, and basic drive-around.
Vendor drivers are required to watch the video and take the basic test, but do not have driver trainers or do drive-arounds. Instead, new vendor drivers are given a first-time escort showing their specific assigned route.
Approximately 40 badges are issued each year for operational movement area clearance for those doing runway inspections and other special projects. Those drivers complete a practical examination where they drive to various parts of the airport and explain aspects and rules to DIA’s driver trainer.

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