February 2008 Issue

Runway Incursions: Failed Expectations

Whatís the real cause of incursions? A review of ASRS reports finds a long list of false assumptions, miscommunication, poor signage and lack of standardization.

Fortunately for those of us who fly, runway incursions that cause accidents are relatively rare. But thatís not to say incursions themselves are rare: Runway blunders have become an everyday thing, so much so that NASAís Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) has thousands of incident reports best described as coulda-beens. We recently reviewed an intriguing report on this subject delivered to the [IMGCAP(1)]International Symposium on Aviation Psychology in Dayton, Ohio, last April by Dr. Ed Wischmeyer, an aviation researcher and contributor to our sister publication, KITPLANES. Wischmeyer mined some 2000-plus ASRS reports collected between January 2003 and January 2006. His search criteria sought out reports on ground conflict and ground incursion incidents. This search yielded 1049 relevant reports, 723 of which were from turbine operators and 326 from smaller piston aircraft on personal or instructional flights.

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