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Tarom B737 hit a car on the runway at TO

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Tarom B737 hit a car on the runway at TO

Old 1st Jan 2008, 15:18
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One of the many curiosities is that while we have (and must have) an RT license, many ground vehicles seem to be operated by people who have simply been told where the transmit switch is. These same personnel have access to aircraft movement areas, and active runways. If the level of training applied to communications is similar to other operations, exactly how well trained and disciplined are these?
Operating at Glasgow, it is interesting to note the number of people who simply pay lip service to any form of ramp discipline, whether in vehicles or otherwise.
Moving away from UK airports, you see some really interesting events, including being cut up by a vehicle while taxying out (BCN), Being chased along the taxyway by dogs (egypt someplace), aircraft towed at ridiculous speeds (PRG), ops vehicles asked to confirm and read back a clearance such as entering an active runway (back the UK).

I wonder how many near misses occur simply because operating crews did keep a bloody good look out and listen, and caught a problem before it became an incident.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 17:12
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ops vehicles asked to confirm and read back a clearance such as entering an active runway (back the UK).
I presume you mean that the Ops vehicle failed to give a correct readback in the first instance and had to be reminded to do so. Excellent; this shows that the system is at least partly failsafe. If you were in an aircraft at the time, then it's even better, because you had situational awareness regarding the vehicle. I've heard plenty of pilots being required to re-readback clearances until they get it right.

Drivers of vehicles on the Manoeuvring Area at LGW and LHR receive a comprehensive training package in topography and RTF phraseology and are only allowed to drive unaccompanied once they have passed a test and have received a Certificate of Competence. Additionally, those whose priviliges extend to entering the runway receive extra training, testing and Certificate issue. Certificates are only valid for 3 years and are renewed by re-test. The syllabus and the overall scheme is a joint venture between the BAA and NATS and is regularly reviewed. I'm sure similar schemes operate at other UK aerodromes. If you operate from LGW, listen to the professionalism of any of the operatives in 'Checker'.

Unfortunately, the UK CAA have consistently refused to mandate a national regulation of driver RTF competence, leading to a CAA licence, which I think is wrong. Their view seems to be that they are only required to oversee the competence of pilots and Air Traffic Controllers, FISOs and A/G operators. Eurocontrol take the matter seriously but haven't the teeth to make any international regulation. Perhaps this will be remedied by EASA when they get around to Aerodromes. Maybe we should be campaigning to get ICAO to ensure that SARPS include Level 4 English and competence for all drivers on the manoeuvring area worldwide.

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Old 1st Jan 2008, 18:26
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runway incursion warning systems

Has the use of night vision equipment / infra-red cameras ever been used in military / civil aircraft to detect runway incursions? I think it would provide some advantages over primary / SSR plus it could be combined with a head-up display and should yield good enough results in low visibility. Seems to work in some modern cars, why not aviation?
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 19:13
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Uncle Maxwell,

Again, you're looking at technological solutions, which take time to implement, cost money, and will be available at only a limited number of locations.
As to night-vision and IR systems, they don't exist on current civil aircraft, and in the case of fog, they do not really penetrate that much further than visible light.

As said here earlier, the real answer is procedures, discipline and training. Where any of those are missing, or fail, no level of technical gadgetry will do the job.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 23:07
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night vision / IR ?

ChristiaanJ,

Agreed on the importance of training & discipline & procedures (just like our grannies told us) but all I am suggesting is that there are technical *aides* (not necessarily solutions) that might potentially *help* in lowering the *probability* of runway/taxiway incursions. Neither do I want to cut out human agency nor should you completely negate the benefit of technology. GPWS and TCAS did lower accident probabilities and it's about more or less rather than all or nothing.

If we relied on the known only and failed to innovate, we would have perfect procedures but still no swept wings, breaks on undercarriage or Mach trimmers - in fact we wouldn't be flying at all. Flight deck would still consist of 4 people, there would be no auto-pilot etc. etc.

Balance between innovation (potential long-term benefit) and training/procedures (short term clearly) should be right!

Do give you a non-aviation example: In chess, machines now play far better than any live human. Would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 07:21
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http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=20071230-1
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 08:45
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ChristiaanJ

From that provided by Boeing Pilot, agree with you 100%, "procedures, discipline and training" appear to have been seriously lacking in respect of any Safety Management System that should have been put in place by the airport operator and ATC during low visibility conditions.

Due to the apparent failings of both the airport operator and ATC, this could have been Tenerife 2!
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 10:02
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The current systems employed at, say, Gatwick automatically detect all targets within the Localizer Sensitive Area. If there develops a closing speed between any of these targets greater than 40kts, an alarm is sounded. So, a truck 2km from an aircraft accelerating through 40 kts will give a warning to the Tower controller, giving time for a 'stop, stop, stop' or equivalent message to be given.
Giving time? Therein lies the problem with all current Airport Movement Area Safety Systems (AMASS etc). In fact, the NTSB has been saying for years:

The system the FAA is currently deploying to prevent runway collisions requires a controller to do the following:

1. Determine the nature of the problem.
2. Determine the location of the aircraft.
3. Identify the aircraft involved.
4. Determine what action to take.
5. Issue appropriate warnings or instruction.

A ‘delayed’ controller yelling 'Stop, stop, stop' doesn’t, and never will, cut the mustard.

A ‘solution' to the delays has been proposed ( OK, I’ve proposed a solution as part of THIS ) where the controller’s VHF frequency is automatically commandeered at the instant of the warning and a strident automated transmission is made - ‘Runway Warning, Runway Warning, Runway Warning’.

Low vis Short finals? Immediate Go Around.
Rolling & Accelerating? Immediate Reject.

Nothing to lose - and a lot to gain.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 18:19
  #49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by forget
A ‘solution' to the delays has been proposed ( OK, I’ve proposed a solution as part of THIS ) where the controller’s VHF frequency is automatically commandeered at the instant of the warning and a strident automated transmission is made - ‘Runway Warning, Runway Warning, Runway Warning’.
Whilst technical solutions may well provide assistance (and, perhaps, a safety net) in preventing runway incidents the primary preventative tool will remain appropriate training and the use of robust procedures. If I could make it any bolder I would! Not only are the procedures and training relatively cheap but they are suitable for use at any airport and can also be implemented relatively quickly. The use of GroundMarker as proposed is not a particularly useful enhancement to the overall system. The broadcast of a warning only provides part of the picture - a pilot or driver faced with a warning but no other information may not take actions that improve the situation, and that's not taking account of the effect that a 'strident automated transmission' when it is unexpected can have on one's cognitive processes.

When something goes wrong on the runway the person with the most complete 'picture' is usually the controller who is then able to make a judgement as to the most appropriate course of action. The factors that are taken into account when deciding what to do are many and varied, and difficult (if not impossible) to set out in rules to be applied by a technical system. The idea of 'Rolling & Accelerating? Immediate Reject.' is not appropriate in every situation and may well introduce additional hazards. Take, as the most obvious example, a runway incursion involving a vehicle crossing the runway threshold as an aircraft is on its take-off roll (and consequently the vehicle is behind the aircraft), although representing a serious incident creates no immediate hazard to the aircraft. To reject the take-off in this situation is unnecessary and creates additional hazards that present far greater risks than continuing the take-off. Much work was done in the UK on this topic resulting in some useful guidance (see ATSIN 68 for details).

GroundMarker (like its sibling, CONTRAN) has some merits but, unfortunately, if a comprehensive hazard analysis is done on all operational situations where it may activate (as opposed to just those where it may save the day) it presents additional hazards which cannot be adequately mitigated. As with all such systems, user confidence is important - false alerts broadcast by the system will soon undermine its usefulness. One or two unnecessary go-arounds or rejected take-offs and pilots will no longer trust future alerts and I suspect that the aircraft operators will not be too impressed either. How is good is GroundMarker at the ratio between alerts of actual dangerous situations against other alerts?

Just as an aside, I would suggest gaining that important user confidence in a system is likely to be made more difficult if you use phrases like 'the controller’s VHF frequency is automatically commandeered'.

Of course, the need for such potentially problematic technical solutions would be much reduced if we had and applied proper procedures!

Last edited by Spitoon; 2nd Jan 2008 at 18:45. Reason: Spilling
 
Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:26
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Am I wrong, or do I remember several extremely close misses where the aircraft taking off just managed to clear the 'incursion' by a few feet?
A "reject" in each case would have resulted in another Tenerife.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:40
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Take, as the most obvious example, a runway incursion involving a vehicle crossing the runway threshold as an aircraft is on its take-off roll (and consequently the vehicle is behind the aircraft), although representing a serious incident creates no immediate hazard to the aircraft.
Surface Target Tracking Software would ignore this nil-threat example.

'Rolling & Accelerating? Immediate Reject.' is not appropriate in every situation and may well introduce additional hazards
Which is why the message is 'Runway Warning' and not 'Stop Stop'.

Christian, Unless you can come up with an example I'd say you were wrong.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:48
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Which is why the message is 'Runway Warning' and not 'Stop Stop'.
In the few seconds it takes to sort out what's going on and decide on a course of action, between the warning and the impact, the "Runway Warning" alert sounds worse than useless.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:55
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.......... and decide on a course of action, between the warning and the impact, the "Runway Warning" alert sounds worse than useless.
Fair enough Christian; In true Gallic fashion you've decided that the impact should be the first indication of a problem.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 21:40
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Salut forget,
In true Gallic fashion...
Don't trust appearances, chief. Just because I live in France, that doesn't mean I'm French....
... you've decided that the impact should be the first indication of a problem.
Didn't expect such a fatuous remark from you, actually.
The real problem is that there are usually only a few seconds between the perception of a problem (by ATC, the pilots, or whoever, or whatever system) and the final impact.
A few seconds is usually not enough to resolve the problem.
So I'm back to my original remark "procedures, training and discipline".
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Old 3rd Jan 2008, 08:57
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Salut back Christian,
Didn't expect such a fatuous remark from you.
Apologies, tongue in cheek.

You say, (as does Spitoon) "procedures, training and discipline" are the first defence. No argument - Absolutely agree – 110%.

You also say “The real problem is that there are usually only a few seconds between the perception of a problem (by ATC, the pilots, or whoever, or whatever system) and the final impact. A few seconds is usually not enough to resolve the problem”.

This is where we may differ. Unless someone goes barrelling across an active Stop Bar at 30 knots there is (usually) a lead-in period where a normal situation ‘slowly’ deteriorates to produce a runway crisis.

As an example, let’s start with the Daddy of ‘Em All.

With KLM in position, static on the runway, and Pan Am taxiing towards him the situation was ‘normal’. I know that Pan Am wasn’t where the controller thought he was, but no matter, there was no threat to life or limb - so lets call it ‘normal’.

The instant that KLM started moving this situation changed hugely.
So, think this through. The simplest of target tracking software would have seen one aircraft ‘in position’ but then releasing brakes and accelerating, another aircraft on the runway ahead of the first. Let’s say we now have a choice; we can either trigger generic AMASS (I know it wouldn’t have worked here but let’s pretend for a moment) and have the controller -

1. Determine the nature of the problem.
2. Determine the location of the aircraft.
3. Identify the aircraft involved.
4. Determine what action to take.
5. Issue appropriate warnings or instruction.

or;

Have the ATC VHF automatically transmit ‘Runway Warning - Runway Warning’. As I see it, the warnings could be triggered with the ‘attacker’ at less than twenty knots.

In this case, and with the ideal response of “KLM rejecting” the world would have been a different place – at least for 583 souls.

I’ve looked at many incursion incidents, most recently the several near misses in the US, and there’s no doubt that the scheme could have shown benefits.

I certainly don’t mind being proved wrong (It’s only an idea) so, when you have an hour or so to spare, take a look at a few yourself and let me know what you conclude. As I said, nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.
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Old 3rd Jan 2008, 10:20
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I agree with Christian, procedure, training and discipline can save the day. In the following incident it was the US Airways 2998 pilots discipline that saved the day. Now the questions is would the software trigger the warning in this case??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BvgSS6kBdU
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Old 3rd Jan 2008, 10:57
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Now the questions is would the software trigger the warning in this case?
Oddly enough, I thought of Providence when I was writing about Tenerife. From the older NTSB animations I’ve seen, but not knowing exact locations against time, all I can say is “I think so”.

It depends on just when 1448 busted the active. Where was FedEx at that precise moment?

If 1448 busted the active before FedEx started moving then FedEx (and 1448) would get a Runway Warning as soon as FedEx accelerated to, say, 30 knots.

If 1448 busted after FedEx started moving then 1448 (and FedEx) would get a Runway Warning the instant the Hold Bar was crossed, and before sticking his nose onto the runway.

This latter is, I recognise, a possible ‘problem’ window. Worst case? FedEx may get a Runway Warning pretty close to V1, but then again, 1448 would have hit the brakes hard (I’d like to think) so the worst case is a high speed FedEx reject on a clear runway.

PS. And with Ground Marker 1448 wouldn't have got lost in the first place.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 02:36
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Spitoon said
punkalouver, I have never understood why some people continue to believe that installing radar and other surveillance systems will prevent runway incursions and accidents.

Occurrence Summary :

A08O0004: The Air Canada Jazz CL-600-2B19 (registration C-GGJA, flight number 8027) landed on runway 24L at Toronto/LBPIA and exited at D4 taxiway. The aircraft was subsequently cleared to taxi across runway 24R turn right on Charlie and hold short of Bravo taxiway. After crossing 24R the aircraft was observed on the airport surface detection equipment (ASDE) by the tower controller. The aircraft appeared to be in the process of turning right onto C4 taxiway which is a high speed exit off of 24R, while Air Canada 622 (A319-100, registration C-FZUL) had been cleared for take off on runway 24R and had just begun the take off roll. Air Canada 622 was at approximately 40 knots and was instructed to abort the takeoff. Meanwhile Jazz 8027 had already turned around and was proceeding as cleared. Air Canada 662 exited D5 taxiway and returned to the departure end of runway 24R and departed without incident. The latest METAR at the time of the occurrence indicated the visibility was 1/4SM and the RVR for runway 24L was 4000 feet.


Now you understand why.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 20:50
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punkalouver, I have never understood why some people continue to believe that installing radar and other surveillance systems will prevent runway incursions and accidents. At best they are tools that support those involved in airport operations. At the very simplest of levels, as ChristiaanJ pointed out, a pure surveillance system can only be of value if someone who is able to do something to resolve the situation (in the often limited time available) is watching the display at the moment that an error becomes apparent. In practice, the operator with access to such a display is only likely to look at it if he or she is unsure about the location of traffic or to confirm that a clearance is being followed etc. - so when there is nothing to suggest that anything is wrong there is usually no-one looking at the display.
My, slightly fuller, response goes on to say that reliable surveillance is a tool for (typically) the controller but it will only save the day if it is used. Your example shows that it can assist the controller to remedy an unsafe situation but A-SMGCS level I will not prevent the incident/accident. All credit to the controller for spotting the problem but there are examples where a surface surveillance system was installed but was not being watched (or not being monitored in the right location) as an incursion was taking place.

If I return to my original point, I guess I should have included lighting and signage (although I would consider this to be an integral part of the procedures). It would be interesting to know how much of the risk of surface movement in LVPs was mitigated by the infrastructure/procedures and how much more could have been done. That is not to say that the ASDE is not necessary, or that it did not play a major role in preventing a serious incident or accident - but it is only a part of what is needed to operate safely in LVPs.

If we follow your argument there should never be a loss of separation in the air when there is a radar available because the controller can see what is going on. Sadly there are plenty of instances where the controller might have seen the incident if only he/she was watching that piece of airspace at the moment things started to go awry.
 
Old 14th Jan 2008, 21:47
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If we follow your argument there should never be a loss of separation in the air when there is a radar available because the controller can see what is going on.
My arguement if there ever was one, was to show that there is a debris detection radar in Vancouver which would likely have picked up a truck sitting on the runway. I said "Perhaps this would prevent this type of accident..."
and pasted the link.

For some reason you said "punkalouver, I have never understood why some people continue to believe that installing radar and other surveillance systems will prevent runway incursions and accidents. At best they are tools that support those involved in airport operations."

So I posted an example of a potential accident prevented by ground radar.
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