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Archive for the ‘Safety Management Systems’ Category

Runway Safety Recurrent Training

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From the FSDO Safety Program Manager and myself; Our goal is to increase awareness and education about Runway Safety. Take 20 minutes and look it over.

“Hello everyone,

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
to the Eastern Region and Southern Region to meet with key management
officials from Part 121 carriers to focus on reducing pilot deviations.
This week, Ballough has been holding similar meetings in the Central, Great
Lakes, and Southwestern Regions, while Allen has West Coast duty in the
Alaska, Northwest Mountain, and Western Pacific Regions. You can view the
presentation on

Within it is a reference to the ALPA/AOPA/FAA Runway Safety Program, an on-line, interactive course. You can complete it in 30-45 minutes and get a completion certificate. Armed with this certificate, you can request credit for a portion of the new Wings pilot proficiency program, which may help lower your insurance rate if you fly GA on the side. To check out the course, go to 

Don’t be fool that the above message addresses the 121 arena only . We are
experiencing the same problem in the GA world as well!”

Things you can do:

1. Identify airport surface operational hazards to NASA ASRS, the FAA Safety Hotline and airport management.

2. Review cockpit procedures to identify elements that may contribute to pilot distraction during taxi and develop a TEAM approach to Transfer, Eliminate, Accept or Mitigate those hazards.

3. Use an airport diagram, free from airnav.

If you have questions about the new Wings program, give me a holler, I am a Lead Rep for the FAASTeam at the Ft Worth FSDO.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Free Runway Safety Card from FAASTeam

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FAA Runway Safety Program Approach Chart For Pilots
Notice Number: NOTC1099

The FAA Runway Safety Program has made available through FAASTeam the following information card, which will fit in your approach plate book. To see or print the information card please use the web link below:

To obtain copies of the above card, please contact your local FAASTeam Program Manager. For more information on who is your FAASTeam Program Manager and Runway Safety information, please go to Taxi (and Takepff/Land) Smart


Written by Clark

January 23, 2008 at 7:29 am

2006 Safer than 2005

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From AOPA’s e-pilot…

The downward trend continues for general aviation accidents. The number of accidents per 100,000 flight hours decreased from 7.19 in 1997 to an all-time low of 6.32 in 2006, while the fatal accident rate dropped 7.4 percent during the same time frame, according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s just-released 2007 Joseph T. Nall Report. The report provides an overview of the GA accident statistics, trends, and contributing factors from the previous year. “Even with a slight uptick in the number of hours flown in 2006 as compared to 2005, pilots are flying fewer hours than they did five years ago,” said Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Air Safety Foundation executive director. “But the accident rate shows pilots are flying safer.” Read more on AOPA Online.”

Thanks to all who work every day to continuously improve aviation safety. You are making a difference and will help sheperd in the next era of cooperation and communication.

FLy Smart and Happy Holidays!


Written by Clark

December 21, 2007 at 9:18 am

Runway Safety & Communications 101

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“WestJet plane in near-miss at L.A. airport

WestJet Boeing 737 came within 15 metres of colliding with a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 that was taking off

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A WestJet airliner on a flight from Calgary was involved in a near-miss Thursday with another jet on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport, aviation officials said.

The close call happened at about 1 p.m. and appeared to have been the result of mistakes made by both the arriving pilot and a ground traffic controller, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials said the WestJet Boeing 737, which seats up to 132 passengers, came within 15 metres of colliding with a 150-seat Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 that was taking off.

The Northwest jet was travelling about 240 kilometres an hour when the WestJet plane approached its path. The WestJet plane managed to stop just in time to avoid a crash.

No one was hurt, authorities said. An investigation was under way.

Gregor said the arriving pilot switched radio frequencies too early after landing and was unable to receive final directions from the air traffic controller, the Los Angeles Times reported on its web site.

When the WestJet pilot notified the ground traffic controller that the plane was proceeding to its gate, the ground controller cleared him without checking first with the air traffic controller.

Aircraft arriving at the Los Angeles airport must cross the inside runway to reach their gate.

The “runway incursion” was the eighth such incident at LAX this year, matching the total for all of 2006.”

Communications are key for safe operations on the ground. Keep aware of active runways during taxi and assess incursion potential.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

August 31, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Runway Safety Threat and Error Management

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How to”fly smart” in the airport ground environment? Get a current airport diagram and use it! Here are some tips from FAA SPANS Notice Number: NOTC0932

Line Safety Audits completed by the airlines revealed 23% of errors and 38% of the threats occur before ever leaving the ground.

A crucial part of the flight process is pre-flight planning. Accident analysis reveals that preflight planning is often inadequate or entirely ignored. An important part of this flight process is the obtainment of information for your departure, arrival, and alternate airports. This should include utilizing a current Airport Facility Directory, obtaining current NOTAMs, and having a current Airport Diagram. And not only should we have it, it should be out in plain view and ready for easy reference.

Airports Diagrams are readily available (and FREE!) to download at If you are an aviation nut you must like charts also, especially free charts given to you by Uncle Sam. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO), publishes and distributes United States government civil aeronautical charts and flight information publications. You can now download or order these charts online.

It is not only important to have a current airport diagram, but to also USE THEM. You should review the airport diagram before taxi while stationary; and then after receiving your taxi clearance, review the diagram again to ensure that you are familiar with the taxi route and any hold short instructions. Red and White signs and markings mean STOP, do not taxi past unless you have been cleared to do so. Use your charts and checklists, and look outside, both on the ground and in the air for other aircraft. Listen for traffic on the radio too, this helps build a mental picture of activity at the field. Just like a railroad crossing, Stop (at least mentally), Look and Listen when approaching all taxiway and runway crossings. ATC can help out and provide progressive taxi instructions when we are unsure of where we are or where we need to go. A few questions up front will save answering a lot of questions later. If there ever is a question, STOP and ASK!

Visit the FAA NACO site to download the entire library of Airport Diagrams and Terminal Procedures…or go to the FBO and pay a lot of money….

You can also check out the award winning online Runway Safety course provided by AOPA. It’s FREE!

One thing that I do is take a yellow highlighter and highlight the area (FBO, Terminal) on the diagram that I am going to. A Nav Log goes a long way on the ground too, so you’re not heads down looking for frequencies while taxiing. When at all possible, do your checklists when stopped, esp if you are single pilot. We also turn on all external lights when crossing an intersecting runway, which is especially effective at night. If you have a TCAS, you can use that on the ground too to build that mental picture of airborne traffic. At a lot of major airports, they now want you to leave your transponder on at all times, so the Airport Movement Area Safety System can electronically see you and keep ATC in the loop.

If you have any special tips and techniques, let’s hear about them.

Fly (and Taxi) Smart


Written by Clark

July 20, 2007 at 9:28 am

Stop, Look and Listen

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From our local FAA Safety Program Manager…

“DOT Says Serious Runway Incursions Still a Danger
The Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General (IG) said
in a report  released last Thursday that runway incursions remain a
persistent, serious problem, despite the FAA?s efforts to reduce their
frequency. Though the focus of the IG?s study was at Boston Logan, Los
Angeles International, Philadelphia International and Chicago O?Hare
airports, where incursions have recently increased, the results of the
study gave recommendations for system-wide improvements. The study said the
FAA should engage in better information sharing to communicate root causes
of deviations and communicate best practices that have worked to reduce
incursions; focus more on controller human-factor issues and training; and
improve accountability at the national level to ensure runway incursions
remain a top priority. According to the study, runway incursions have
decreased from a high of 407 in fiscal year 2001 to a low of 323 in fiscal
year 2003. Since then, the numbers have remained relatively flat. According
to the IG?s study, the FAA did not comment on how it would address the
concerns noted in the report.”

And my thoughts on the matter….

An open, learning, just reporting culture will be a good start so that rich data can be gathered. then throw in valid risk assessment and a vigorous safety awareness campaign. “Stop. Look. Listen”. Another risk management system that works is “Ask, Assess, Act.”

We need to go beyond who did what, and look at “Why” it happened, and at what level the hazard was generated. Runway Incursions are an area where “Production” goals are outstripping “Protection” mitigations. Time pressure is huge at large airports to increase capacity, and it shouldn’t be. There’s only one thing that can happen when you try to put too much stuff in too small of a bag. There are latent hazards that reside at the Decision/Policy Maker and Line Management level, and they become active failures during the productive activities of controllers, ground vehicle operators and pilots. High ops tempo is always a factor, cognitive task loading leads to increased slips, lapses and mistakes. Invalid assumptions about system performance lead to skewed behaviors, high risk consequences and sub-optimal decisions.

Is the hazard more frequent (percentage wise) at these high capacity airports vs small towered fields? If so, capacity (production) is a risk element that needs to be transferred, eliminated, or mitigated.

Do air traffic controllers have reporting protections similar to those offered by ASAP? When we extend those privileges to everyone, all users of the NAS, then the number of reports will actually go up, which is a sign of a healthy reporting system. Then we will have a better contextual view of the system and be able to focus on “Why”, not “Who”. From there we can develop and implement valid action items and monitor their effectiveness.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

May 31, 2007 at 11:26 am

Safety Management System (SMS) Overview

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I have created a presentation that will introduce safety practitioners
to the basics of Safety Management Systems (SMS).
We are front line aviation safety advocates.
We have a principal stake in improving the management of safety,
reducing the accident rate and driving down mishap costs.
We can do this by taking a quality approach to safety.

Check out SMS Overview
This is a Level Zero Overview and Outreach effort, meant as an introduction and guide to your own personal SMS.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

April 20, 2007 at 10:50 pm

New “WINGS” Pilot Proficiency Program

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FAASTeam   FAASTeam News Release
Contact: James E. Pyles, National FAASTeam Outreach Program Manager
Posted On: April 11, 2007 The All New WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program . . . it’s no longer an “Award” program but a true proficiency program designed to help improve our skills and knowledge as pilots.

The All New “WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program”
by: James E. Pyles, National FAASTeam Outreach Manager

Regular proficiency training is essential to the safety of all pilots and their passengers. Each pilot must take a personal interest in their safety and that of their passengers. The WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program is designed to help each pilot construct an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It encourages pilots to continue their aviation educational pursuits and requires education, review, and flight proficiency in the Areas of Operation found in current Practical Test Standards (PTS) that correspond with the leading accident causal factors in the United States. Further, the program encourages participation of FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Industry Members to establish regular recurrent training programs within their organizations and areas of influence to help all pilots reach their highest potential and maintain a high level of safety and proficiency.

While the program is still in its final stages of development and final details are not yet releasable here are a few informational items about the new WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program:

  •  Three Phases; Basic, Advanced, Master
  •  Those maintaining the proficiency requirements for the Basic phase need not accomplish the flight review requirements of 14 CFR part 61
  •  Flight Review date “moves” with you as long as you continue to maintain at least a Basic phase / level
  •  Progress tracked on
  •  Curriculum and Syllabi are designed from Practical Test Standards
  •  Credits not based on time but on showing proficiency to applicable practical test standards
  •  Designed to promote development of year-round training and contact with authorized instructors
  •  Curriculum and syllabi for all pilots holding a U.S. pilot certificate
  •  Industry encouraged to provide incentives awarding pilots for their participation in the program
  •  Special emphasis on incident and accident causal factor areas of operation
  •  Flexibility in requirements and subject areas allow for maximum effectiveness of program for each pilot no matter what kind of flight activities they conduct
  •  Requirements include both knowledge and flight
  •  Certificate, wallet card, and transcripts are downloadable and printable right from
  •  For a very limited time pilots may earn credit for both the new program and sun-setting award program
  •  Target nationwide launch date is June

As you can see it’s no longer an “Award” program but a true proficiency program designed to help improve our skills and knowledge as pilots. Watch for more information to be released about the WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program on the FAASTeam’s internet site.

James E. Pyles
National FAASTeam Outreach Manager (NFOM)


Fly Smart


Written by Clark

April 17, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Boundaries and Centers

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I am reading Asaf Degani’s book Taming HAL, a discussion of human interaction with automation. One thing I have observed is that the foundation of a good safety management system is clear, defined boundaries of operating envelopes.  Our body and our aircraft have limits, and while we can perform at the edges of these limits,  doing so effectively removes any margin for error (envelope protection). Aviation is a dynamic, complex environment subject to multiple influences, but the system is designed to handle one change at a time. It is not designed to handle compound emergencies, and automation does not have the creative problem-solving skills that we possess. Automation is great at doing one thing, don’t ask it to do two, and don’t push it past the edge.

So let’s think about it before we go. Takeoffs are optional, landings are not. Operating away from a safe center begins to strip away defenses and leave no room for human or machine to recover. Let’s be sure we fully understand our capabilities and limitations (our machine’s too) and operate conservatively.

 Fly Smart


Written by Clark

April 15, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Time Management

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Get things quicker on the ground and leave more time for the fun stuff…flying!


Written by Clark

April 15, 2007 at 7:01 pm