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Runway Incursions - The Manchester Experiment

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Runway Incursions - The Manchester Experiment

Old 10th Oct 2007, 14:44
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Runway Incursions - The Manchester Experiment

Here at the Towers we'd like to draw your attention to an interesting proof of concept trial going on at EGCC until the 16th October.

There's a bit of kit in the cockpit that's barely used in anger these days - the marker beacon receiver. The idea is to transmit a pretty tightly focussed voice message adjacent to stop bars at holding points.

Taxying a/c inbound to T2 etc. passing Alpha 6 hold, adjacent the Fire Station, have the opportunity to hear a voice message transmitted on 75 mHz through the Marker Beacon receiver system. This is a demonstration of a technology that may help reduce runway incursions when located at a runway hold and linked to stop bar control software. An aural warning would be triggered if the stop bar was crossed at red.

The actual location and content are not important for this stage of the experiment. It's the re-use of existing onboard equipment for a possible novel safety enhancement that is the crux of the matter.

Feedback here is very welcome indeed.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 15:18
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If it works well, then what a great idea. Improved safety and no additional investment from the end user.
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 15:26
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We taxied across it the other day with the marker volume turned half way up (A320) and heard a faint whispering. Quickly turned the volume up to full and just caught the end of the message. Something about ATC clearance.

In theory it seems like a great idea, in practice there will obvioulsy need to be some kind of calibration for different aircraft types, those who use ANR headsets on the ground etc.

Just my 2 cents worth!
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 17:22
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Sounds like a good idea. I believe Manchester stopped giving conditional clearances last year as a result of a number of incursions but this slows things up a fair bit, particularly when 23L is in use and the subsequent need to cross 23R. Will be interesting to see the stats at the end. Is there a timescale on this experiment?
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 17:23
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Good idea in principle. But if it is only useable when the runway stop bar is lit then daylight operations wouldn't benefit. Also runway stop bars are normally uni-directional so when on the lights are only visible from the taxiway side, would this mean when vacating the runway and crossing the stop bar from the runway side that the message would be heard.
Software would need to cover both Cat 1 and Cat III stop bars if in separate locations.
Vehicle drivers wouldn't benefit unless the equipment was fitted.
When controllers select a lead-on route and suppress the stop bar for an aircraft cleared to enter the runway there is an incursion risk of a following aircraft lining up if the lead-on route is not cancelled quickly.
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 17:54
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Why is it that MAN is the only airport with two runways that needs special fixes for problems that don't seem to appear at other similar airports?

'Special Needs' Airport ?
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 18:07
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Amazing! An update, probably unknowingly, of the World War II "Balloon Squeaker" system which broadcast a short range signal on a common frequency to alert aircraft straying too near to a balloon barrage. The squeaker transmitters were also placed on certain areas of high ground, such as Snowdonia. End of history lesson.
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 18:15
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Did not hear the 75Mhz transmission at MAN due constant RT on Ground movements frequency at the time of passing. Can only be affective if the primary com1 (at least one pilot must be montoring all the time) is quiet. Two or more transmissions at the same time, results in missing one or both messages, unfortunately the Boeing757 with its very noisy flightdeck didn't help either
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 18:23
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The idea's been around for a while. I think the company behind it did a trial at Bournemouth a few years back. I think the FAA tried it too, maybe 4 years ago.

From what I heard, it's a nice idea but implementation in a complex environment - where it might be particularly useful - is a problem. It will be good to hear how this trial works. Are there more details or a NOTAM about it?
 
Old 10th Oct 2007, 20:50
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magplug
why do pilots cross red stopbars? you clear an acft to cross a runway, forget to put the stopbar down ,he still crosses , not all but some .
Just trying to improve safety.
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 22:07
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magplug,
can you name another dual-runway airport anywhere near as busy whereby every departure (or arrival, depending on runway in use) has to cross an active runway?
I'd say MAN are actually trying to be at the forefront of reducing the associated risks even further, surely that's a good thing if they find a decent solution that can be adopted nationally or even internationally!
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Old 10th Oct 2007, 22:55
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Have to echo previous opinions that message too quiet, volume had to be turned to full to make out the content and of course we only had Marker selected at all because we were aware of the trial. Wouldn't think many people not familiar with Manc will have it selected and these are prob the most likely to cause an incursion
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 07:06
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Out of interest the marker receiver was the 'fall-back' for complete comms receiver failure in my days in the RAF - and it worked. Airfield towers had an 'emergency' voice TX function available on their console.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 08:06
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> An aural warning would be triggered if the stop bar was crossed at red.

Presumably it also notifies controllers?
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 10:05
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Out of interest the marker receiver was the 'fall-back' for complete comms receiver failure in my days in the RAF - and it worked. Airfield towers had an 'emergency' voice TX function available on their console.
BOAC, I think you'll find that the RAF 'Emergency' voice TX function used the ILS Localiser Transmitter. An aircraft with lost comm could hear the controller, rather than the ILS Ident, through a Nav Receiver.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 10:21
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Opnot said:
magplug....
why do pilots cross red stop bars?
Every pilot knows that you cannot cross red stop-bars without explicit clearance - this is day one stuff. Pilots don't ignore stop bars but they do miss them because they are inconspicuous. Stop bars are very effective at night simply because they ARE very conspicuous. A number of airports have stop bars that they expect pilots to see by day under varying levels of daylight that changes in direction according to the time of day and I'm afraid it simply just does not work.

you clear an acft to cross a runway, forget to put the stop bar down ,he still crosses , not all but some
So you are effectively issuing a mixed message and then wondering why the pilot got confused? That's not a difficult one.

NudgingSteel said:
can you name another dual-runway airport anywhere near as busy whereby every departure (or arrival, depending on runway in use) has to cross an active runway?
Firstly MAN is not so busy... but since you asked.....
Heathrow
Amsterdam
Frankfurt
Barcelona
Lyon
Toulouse
Milan Malpensa
Nice
Las Palmas - Gran Canaria

I frankly can't see why Manchester even needed to build a second runway given the low level of traffic. Gatwick manages more movements with one runway (246k p/a) than Manchester (225k p/a) manages with two. The residents upwind of 24L could have been spared the grief and the pilots would have been spared the BS of your SIDS that get busy with close-in turns just as you are at high-workload after take-off. The reason that Manchester built another runway was simply a political one.

If only a little thought had gone into the design of 24L/R the sacrifice of a couple of hundred metres of one end of 24R could have provided an off-runway crossing point to ensure arriving & departing traffic never conflicted.

I continue to find the agressive & inflexible attitude of controllers at Manchester airport quite remarkable, I have heard the same from other colleagues around Europe. Please spare us the multiple readbacks of clearances and other whacky ideas...... Go and spend some time at Heathrow or Gatwick to see how the pros operate. I'm absolutely no fan of the BAA but perhaps some real expertise is needed in Manchester.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 10:36
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I think NudgingSteel was making the point that EVERY aircraft has to cross the active runway at MAN when 23L/05R is in use whereas at the other airports this isn't always the case. Most of the airports listed have terminals in between runways thus alleviating this problem. MAN is quite poor in design in this respect. I'm sure that if this trial proves a success it will soon be adopted by other airports.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 12:51
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Mea Culpa, forget - you are indeed correct. I look forward to trying this one.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 13:43
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I continue to find the agressive & inflexible attitude of controllers at Manchester airport quite remarkable
I haven't found this to be the case. Admittedly I'm not a regular visitor but on the many occasions I've ended up diverting there with a less than substantial amount of fuel left in the tanks ATC at MAN have been very flexible, and patient when we get lost amongst the mess of taxiways they have to deal with day in day out. I think it is very easy to forget that these guys have a tough job - if they are being inflexible on occasion there will be a very good reason for it.

If this trial is successful then great, but the feedback I'm getting from mates who are MAN based is that the voice is difficult to make out.
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Old 11th Oct 2007, 17:35
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Magplug - MAN's taxiway and stand infrastructure would never enable 05L/23R single runway to achieve Gatwick runway movement figures at peak times. Flexibility at holding points is limited therefore difficult to achieve best departure sequencing. Runway exits may not be ideally positioned for arriving aircraft to minimise runway occupancy times. Some parking stands very close to runway causing congestion etc etc. MAN's taxiway layout looks constrained and complex therefore ATC need to be certain pilots fully understand which route they have been cleared. I'm sure any wrong turn must cause major headaches for GMC.

One big attraction of a second runway is that in the event of one runway not being available the airport can continue operating, albeit at reduced capacity. This means a lot to the big carriers who look very closely at contingency in the event of an unplanned runway closure. What better to have another runway available. That's why LGW has a standby runway, maybe not the same as the main runway but over many years it has served a purpose.
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