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Runway Safety Best Practices

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Update: There is a disturbance in the Runway Safety Force, so a little booster shot is in order. Please take a few minutes and let us know your tips and tactics.

Cheers, Clark

FAA just put out a new jepps card, I got one at the ASW Runway Safety office yesterday and transcribed it for everyone to review.

They also have some nice posters for both airplane and vehicle operators. Contact your FSDO Safety Program Manager to get a copy.

FAA Runway Safety Program Jepps Insert – Front Side

Pilot and Flight Crew Procedures During Taxi Operations

Conduct Pre-Taxi Planning

-Study airport diagram BEFORE taxi

-Identify complex intersections

-Plan timing of checklists

-Listen to and copy ATIS

Write Down Taxi Instructions

-Write down complete taxi instructions to reduce pilot’s vulnerability for forgetting or making a mistake

Maintain Situational Awareness

-Know where you are and where you are going!

-Monitor ATC instructions to other aircraft

-Look TWICE before crossing intersecting taxiways or runways

-Be vigilant if given “position and hold” clearance

-Use extra caution at night or during reduced visibility

-Be extremely cautious when using a runway as a taxiway

“Heads Up” exiting the runway if exit intersects another runway

Coordinate Crew Communications

-On taxi instructions for takeoff

-On landing and hold short clearance

-On ATC instructions to parking

-On identifying runway instructions

-Before crossing hold short lines

-Identifying the correct departure runway and course

-On performing “heads down” tasks

Maintain the Communications Loop

-Maintain a “sterile cockpit”

-Use standard ATC phraseology

-Focus on what ATC is instructing

-Read-back all runway hold short, position and hold and crossing instructions

-Always clarify any and ALL misunderstood or confusing ATC instructions or clearances


Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

March 19, 2023 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Runway Safety

Fly Like the Pros

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With immense respect to Dr James Reason, it’s not slices of cheese out there, It’s all one cheese fondue. Hard to pick one piece out from the other. Professional pilots fly to and above regulated standards to avoid being covered in that cheese, and those standards provide both a challenge and an opportunity for all members of the aerospace team to strive for and exceed.

If you are flying Part 91, take time to sit down with a 135 pilot. 135? Seek out a cohort from the 121 world. And don’t miss out on opportunities to benchmark and compare best practices with our military aviation folks. All that said, some of the most impressive pilots I have ever flown with were working their craft in the Part 91 world, I have learned a lot from them.

Lifelong learners seek out knowledge from subject matter experts, it’s time to develop Professional Pilot Standards that include leadership training and improve our exchange of knowledge. It’s a vast expanse of sky and space out there, but we all share it.

Fly Smart


Please stay tuned while we get our site back up to speed, especially our Pages on SMS, Human Factors, Knowledge Exchange and Leadership.


-Advanced Aircrew Academy – Training to meet part 135 and IS-BAO requirements: Advanced Aircrew Academy

-FAA Safety Team Wings Program – Pilot and AMT Proficiency Program Courses: FAASafetyTeam WIngs

-Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) – systematically identify active and latent failures within an organization that culminated in an accident: HFACS

-Human Factors Associates – Diagnostic assessment of a client organization’s safety effectiveness regarding high-reliability performance and intervention strategies: HFA

– International Society of Safety Professionals – Offers certification for International Safety Managers: ISSP

-King Schools – Offers a plethora of choices, some of which are free and offer Wings Pilot Proficiency Program credit, and could get you a discount with your insurance provider: King Schools

Written by Clark

May 26, 2022 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

ICAO Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions

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In 2001, the ICAO Air Navigation Commission took action to address the problem of runway incursions. Several critical areas were identified that needed to be investigated and which had a relation to overall runway safety, including radiotelephony phraseology, language proficiency, equipment, aerodrome lighting and markings, aerodrome charts, operational aspects, situational awareness and Human Factors.

To improve the situation with respect to runway incursions and to encourage the implementation of relevant provisions, ICAO embarked on an education and awareness campaign which began with a comprehensive search for the best available educational material for inclusion in an interactive runway safety toolkit. Information on this toolkit is provided in Appendix J to this manual. To address aerodromes, air traffic management and flight operations, among other subjects, ICAO also conducted a series of runway safety seminars in the ICAO regions, with the aim of disseminating information on the prevention of runway incursions. Between 2002 and 2005, runway safety seminars were held in the following regions as part of the ICAO education and awareness campaign: Africa-Indian Ocean, Asia and Pacific, Caribbean and South American, European, and Middle East. Recommendations were made at the runway safety seminars held in the Asia and Pacific and Middle East Regions for ICAO to produce a manual containing runway incursion prevention guidelines. Therefore, the objective of this manual is to help States, international organizations, aerodrome operators, air traffic service (ATS) providers and aircraft operators to implement runway safety programmes taking into account best practices already implemented by some States, international organizations, aerodrome operators, ATS providers and airlines. All of the above efforts were undertaken to address a specific problem, that of runway incursions. This focus on the so-called “tip of the arrow” was necessary; however, the inherent need to address safety in a proactive and systemic manner cannot be overstressed. An evolution in safety thinking has led to a change in focus: from that of the individual to that of the organization as a whole. It is now acknowledged that senior management decisions are influential in shaping the operational contexts within which operational personnel perform their duties and discharge their responsibilities. It is also accepted that, regardless of the extent to which operational personnel excel in their job performance, they can never ultimately compensate for systemic deficiencies and flaws in the system that binds them. This new way of thinking is reflected in the following recent Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on safety management which, for the first time, explicitly address the contribution and responsibility of senior management regarding safety.

Download the manual.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

March 17, 2008 at 1:14 pm

NTSB Alert: Controlled Flight Into Terrain in Visual Conditions

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Recent NTSB investigations have identified several accidents that involved controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) by both instrument flight rules (IFR)-rated and visual flight rules (VFR) pilots operating under visual flight conditions at night in remote areas.

• In many of these cases, the pilots were in contact with air traffic control (ATC) at the time of the accident and receiving radar service.

• The pilots and controllers involved all appear to have been unaware that the aircraft were in danger.

• Increased altitude awareness and better preflight planning would likely have prevented all of these accidents.

Recent examples:

-A Learjet departed Brown Field, south of San Diego, California, and struck terrain while being radar vectored in a mountainous area east of the airport, resulting in three fatalities.

Read the NTSB Safety Alert

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

March 17, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Runway Safety Newsletter

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Here is a Runway Safety Newsletter that I have been working on. Check it out.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

March 13, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Teaching ADM

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Great article on Aeronautical Decision Making from NAFI:

Teaching Tip
Teaching ADM 101

By David St. George, MCFI

Since more than 80 percent of accidents are pilot error, I argue that the most important airspace is between the pilot’s ears.

Sure, pilots must learn requisite physical skills, and flight instructors must also teach the decision-making skills that keep them out of those situations where extraordinary skill is required. When a pilot rolls a Cessna into a ball while trying to land in a 35-knot crosswind, are his stick skills to blame or his judgment? If we don’t teach aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and risk management, we are not addressing the primary cause of accidents.

A very useful mental model to demonstrate successful safety management is the “Reason Swiss cheese” model, developed by James Reason for the nuclear power industry. Mistakes there are a problem, too.

This model postulates numerous layers of “error defenses” we should always have working for us, insulating us from potential hazards. For most accidents to occur, many levels of safety defenses must be penetrated. An “accident chain” requires denial at each step in order to build into an accident. This chain is always remarkably obvious in retrospect, but quirks of human psychology make it invisible in action.

Your safety barriers start by creating safety awareness at the institutional level: Is my airport, club, or FBO safe? Do they encourage and enforce safety procedures, or are they more interested in maximum utilization at the expense of safety? Are we having too much fun at the expense of discipline? Proceed to the next layer: Is the equipment we fly well-maintained and -suited to the operation I am undertaking?

We often ignore these two levels of defense. Flying in a “safety culture” creates an active awareness of risk management and a constant awareness of our vulnerability. NASA’s analysis of the Columbia and Challenger disasters clearly illustrates the tragic results of “normalizing deviations”—that is, risks or anomalies are accepted as “normal” and escape further scrutiny, moving it closer to a potential accident: “Those O-rings always leak a little,” or “That tank always sheds some foam on liftoff.”

The final safety defense barrier is the aeronautical decision-making psychology of the pilot. A pilot needs an active safety scan of risks and tools to mitigate them. But are we, as CFIs, addressing this issue on every flight and helping the student build up a repertoire of potential safe and unsafe decisions?

If we usurp this responsibility as the “all-knowing CFI,” we deprive the student of one of the most important lessons. By categorically stating that, “It’s fine to fly today,” we remove that important personal decision for the future pilot, and may be “normalizing” a situation that would be hazardous for the student in the future. We all have seen this occur: “This ceiling is low, but we can go today.” Or with equipment: “That nose strut is low, but it’s safe for us.”

Inevitably, the student learns the lesson of ignoring or normalizing an unsafe situation. Instead, we should treat every flight decision as a “teachable moment.” If we are to create safer pilots, addressing the importance of risk management on every lesson and illuminating the dangers of “normalizing deviations” are essential duties of every CFI.

Got a favorite teaching tip that’s worked for you? Share it with us at

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

March 5, 2008 at 9:10 pm

ALPA RUnway Safety Newsletter #2

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Here’s newsletter #2 on the ALPA site. There are lots of valuable lessons to be learned here, ones that others have learned for you and are now sharing.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

March 4, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Mastery Flight Training Safety Info

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Check out the great info on Tom Turner’s site Mastery Flight Training and sign up for his newsletter.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

February 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

New ALPA Runway Safety Site

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Through our new campaign, “Hold Short for Runway Safety” ALPA will focus its efforts on preventing runway incursions, excursions, and confusion. We will provide you with further education and common-sense guidance that will help prevent operational breakdowns. Every pilot knows we have too much to do and not enough time to do it between getting in the cockpit and taking off.

Check out the new Runway Safety site and give us your feedback.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

February 14, 2008 at 11:07 am

Identifying and Mitigating the Hazards Associated with Runway Incursions

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AFS Roadshow Presentation Jan 2008: Identifying and Mitigating the Hazards Associated with Runway Incursions
There has been an significant increase of runway incursions lately. In fact
it is so serious that Jim Ballough (AFS-1) and John Allen (AFS-2) traveled
around the country to meet with key management officials from Part 121 carriers to focus on reducing pilot deviations. This issue affects everyone who operates on the protected area of an airport intended for takeoff or landing.

The consequences of a runway collision are severe and it usually results in fatalities to pilots and passengers. As utilization of the National Airspace System (NAS) increases, there will be more exposure to this hazard. That is not a good combination. The key for operators to defend against it today is the use of good judgment and sound operating procedures. There are technological mitigations being developed for tomorrow, but they are not keeping pace with the growth of the NAS. We also need to ensure steps are taken at the Regulatory, Organizational and Supervisory level to ensure that no additional exposure is allowed within the system until the necessary defenses are in place. In other words, let’s not pour any more fuel on this fire. As pilots, it is not our job to fix the problems that production goals create, but many times we are left to deal with it as best we can. It is our job to operate professionally and safely. A valid assessment of the system state coupled with seasoned, conservative judgment leads to efficient decision making. We get one shot at this one, and we have to do it right every time.

This presentation provides educational re-creations of air traffic work.The FAA has provided it to safety professionals for education and awareness. Take a look at it and become part of the solution by sharing your thoughts with your FSDO’s Safety Program Manager. Or post them here and I’ll share them for you.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

February 12, 2008 at 9:43 am