Joining Forces to Reduce Surface Safety Events
The FAA has been tackling this problem from many fronts, including airport geometry, runway markings, equipment updates, staffing and pilot awareness.
But we knew that to reverse the trend, it was important for us to get together with other leaders in aviation safety from regional and national airlines, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, trade associations, labor unions and international air navigation service providers.
We laid out the risk and what conditions contribute to it, as well as ways to fix it. We shared the work we’re doing on taxiway alignment warnings and other automation upgrades, and heard some great ideas from airspace users too, ranging from colored runway markings to runway alignment alerts.
I’m happy to report that everyone at the summit was extremely engaged, and committed to returning to their respective organizations to promote awareness and solutions. Still, we agreed not to declare victory yet, because it’s the follow-on work that will reduce the number of actual and attempted wrong-surface events.
We will continue to approach this issue head-on until we solve it. We didn’t get to be the most complex yet safest airspace system in the world by ignoring red flags, or shrugging our shoulders, or counting our lucky stars. We can’t leave anything to chance. Instead, we have to continue to identify risks and pinpoint solutions.