Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

New Twist on Runway Incursion/Unsupervised Trainee Tower Operators

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

New Twist on Runway Incursion/Unsupervised Trainee Tower Operators

Old 24th Sep 2008, 06:48
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sale, Australia
Age: 80
Posts: 3,832
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
New Twist on Runway Incursion/Unsupervised Trainee Tower Operators

From Avweb today.

Trainees In The Tower In Airliner "Swerve"

An incident that thankfully ended with some fairly rattled pilots and passengers but no more than a little lost tire rubber begs the question of who is training whom at some of the nation's air traffic control towers. The National Air Traffic Controllers Union says two trainee controllers were in on duty by themselves in the Lehigh International Airport tower when a Mesa Airlines CRJ700 had to swerve (as in the sudden deviation from a straight path) to avoid a just-landed Cessna 172 while taking off from the Allentown, Pa., airport. The widely accepted estimate is the RJ, with 60 passengers aboard, missed the 172 by about 10 feet while decelerating from 120 knots. According to the NTSB, the Cessna was told to take an early taxiway exit but missed and the pilot reported he or she was heading for the next taxiway. The trainees missed that and, thinking the 172 had left the runway, cleared the RJ for takeoff.

The Mesa crew apparently heard the 172 pilot's report that the controllers missed but started the takeoff. They were almost at rotation speed when they spotted the Cessna and swerved to miss it. While no one is so disputing the facts of the incident, NATCA is suggesting a shortage of qualified controllers played a role and it's sure to come up at a meeting of the House Aviation Subcommittee on Thursday to discuss--runway safety. "The FAA is so desperate to staff its towers they are forced to work trainees by themselves without adequate numbers of experienced controllers there to work with them," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey. "This has exposed the inexperience of our new workforce. It's unfair to these trainees and should be unacceptable to the flying public." The Mesa flight (operating for United) was cancelled.
Brian Abraham is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 14:52
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The No Transgression Zone
Posts: 2,483
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
I'm now very, very very careful these days with the high number of trainees---I've asked about supervision of these folks once--in the ATC forum--- but had gotten no response----
Now, obviously we have to train new controllers and they have to learn but lack of supervision is very disconcerting--- I never fully trusted controllers and of course check the AER and DER as well as any RWY/RWY or taxiway/RWY or taxiway taxiway intersection for traffic---especially confused students---but still
Pugilistic Animus is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 17:21
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: uk
Posts: 65
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, this was i'm guessing in the US? Cant speak for them, but in the UK such an occurance would be impossible (created by trainee on own). Trainees are never unsupervised and have to show that they can continuously control to the highest level of safety without help from a supervisor (who is obviously there just in case they cannot).

Unsupervised trainees? i cant believe thats possible?
DAL208 is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 18:24
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 196
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Quite a story. It is my personal opinion also that such an event could never occur in the UK. It is illegal for any unlicensed controller to issue instructions to aircraft without direct licensed controller supervision and for that controller to have to ability to intervene (stand by for ANO excerpt from somewhere to clarify the exact requirements - which I may not have precise).

Somebody please tell me the same is true in the US and that heads (and associated licenses) will roll. I find it extremely hard to comprehend how anyone with the associated safety accountabilities could feel that this was acceptable and/or sleep at night.

More to the story? I'd be very interested in any US colleague comments.

Last edited by hangten; 24th Sep 2008 at 18:25. Reason: OCD Grammar
hangten is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 20:12
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Near Stalyvegas
Age: 78
Posts: 2,022
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
According to the NTSB, the Cessna was told to take an early taxiway exit but missed and the pilot reported he or she was heading for the next taxiway. The trainees missed that and, thinking the 172 had left the runway, cleared the RJ for takeoff.

*The Mesa crew apparently heard the 172 pilot's report that the controllers missed but started the takeoff. *They were almost at rotation speed when they spotted the Cessna and swerved to miss it.
That I find very hard to believe.[my * and bold]. To attempt to take off on a suspected blocked runway.....the mind boggles. Could they not see the Cessna was still on the runway? Or has the Airfield got a "hump" bigger than the one at MAN?
watp,iktch
chiglet is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 20:45
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Up North
Posts: 225
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
two trainee controllers were in on duty by themselves in the Lehigh International Airport tower
All media reports seem to suggest a 'newly' qualified and trainee controller were on duty. How newly qualified was the controller and at what stage of training was the trainee. It will probably be determined this was a legal (yet undesirable) combination.

Rgds
The Moss

p.s. nothing personal to either AT bod when I say undesirable!
Ballymoss is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 21:31
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: California
Age: 64
Posts: 172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the FAA you only need to be certified on a position to work it alone. The tower could have been staffed with two trainees, one certified on local control and one certified on ground control. But I would question where the supervisor was. Seeing neither controller was CPC (journeyman) they could not preform CIC duties. But as the Union pointed out this is not a good situation as neither controller has the experiance to be able to handle abnormal situations. Same thing happens in Centers with trainees working positions alone, but there are always experianced controllers around to give them advice when needed.
slatch is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 22:41
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Zone of Alienation
Age: 79
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As always these cockups are turned political by NATCA. No one cares. We have bigger problems.
FIRESYSOK is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2008, 22:43
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: fort sheridan, il
Posts: 1,656
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
now I've seen everything...
sevenstrokeroll is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.