Jun 2010

17 JUN 10 FAA Issues Runway Crossing Clearance Changes FAA Issues Runway Crossing Clearance Changes

Effective June 30, 2010, air traffic controllers will no longer use the term “taxi to” when authorizing aircraft to taxi to an assigned takeoff runway. With the change, controllers must issue explicit clearances to pilots crossing any runway (active/inactive or closed) along the taxi route. In addition, pilots crossing multiple runways must be past the first runway they are cleared to cross before controllers can issue the next runway-crossing clearance. One exception to the new rule is at airports where taxi routes between runway centerlines are fewer than 1,000 feet apart. In this case, multiple runway crossings may be issued if approved by the FAA Terminal Services Director of Operations.

The elimination of the “taxi to” phrase will apply only to departing aircraft. Arriving aircraft will still hear the phrase “taxi to” when instructed to taxi to the gate or ramp. However, controllers in these situations still will be required to issue specific crossing instructions for each runway encountered on the taxi route. For more information on the change, refer to FAA Order N JO 7110.528, which can be found at: http://www.faa.gov/ documentLibrary/media/Notice/ N7110.528.pdf.

12 Jun 10 Communications - A Vital Link!

FAA Safety.gov Notice Number: NOTC2337

The "option" is not an option..

The "option" is not an option..
Pilot deviations and incidents based on improper communications are growing at an alarming rate! Are you doing your part? Or, are you part of the problem? Proper communication technique is expected of every pilot and controller. Non-standard communications and deviation from standard phraseology causes misunderstandings and confusion. These are causal or contributing factors in a large number of incidents and accidents. Radio communications are a critical link in the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system. The link can be a strong bond between pilot and controller or it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results. Good phraseology enhances safety and is the mark of a professional pilot. Jargon, chatter, and "CB" slang have no place in ATC communications.
Remember, read-back of a clearance must be complete and clear to ensure correct understanding by the controller. The action of reading back a clearance gives the controller an opportunity to confirm that the message has been correctly received, and if necessary, to correct any errors. If a pilot is unsure or questions anything about a clearance they should ask the controller to clarify. Simply reading the instructions back may not be enough to focus the controller’s attention on the accuracy of the clearance. Read-back of a clearance should never be replaced by the use of terms such as “Roger”, "Wilco" or “Copied”.
"No, I said land over here..."

"No, I said land over here..."
Pilots should also be aware of how their expectations may affect what they hear. Errors often occur when pilots act on instructions given to other aircraft because the pilot was expecting similar instructions. Or, when pilots act on instructions they expected from the controller, which are different from the controller’s actual instructions. To avoid this, pilots must remain vigilant and focus on the controller’s complete communication. All pilots will find the Pilot/Controller Glossary helpful in learning what certain words or phrases mean. The Pilot/Controller Glossary is the same glossary used in FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. It is recommended that pilots review the glossary from time to time to sharpen their communication skills.
For more information on Radio Communications Phraseology?and Techniques please see the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) at this link:
http://www.faa.gov/air_ traffic/publications/atpubs/ aim/Chap4/aim0402.html
Very interesting examples of how communication errors have caused problems can be found starting on page 11 of the FAA Pamphlet found at: https://www.faasafety.gov/ files/notices/2010/Jun/ Communications_A_Key_ Component_brochure.pdf

Editor's note: Great communications don't end after the props and rotors stop. If you identify hazards, take time to contact the ATC facility and debrief the event. Then send in a NASA ASRS electronic report so we can eliminate the hazards, reduce consequence of errors and learn lessons the easy way. And it's free!
Fly Smart,

07 Jun 10 CFIT Risk Management

Photo credit Dario Crusafon

Photo credit Dario Crusafon
From SKYBrary: "While man-made obstacles in the vicinity of an airport such as buildings or towers are normally lit during the hours of darkness, natural obstacles such as hills or trees are not. As a consequence, unless there is exceptional illumination such as a full moon on new snow, natural obstacles will be largely invisible to the pilot during a night visual approach. Without due care, this factor greatly increases the potential of a CFIT accident..."
Read the full article.
Editor's note: Many GPWS alerts can be tied to night visual approaches, where crews get low during the arrival. When ATC is available, it is a good risk reduction strategy to take the vectors to final backed up with the instrument approach and avoid the threats from unfamiliar terrain and reduced visibility of night ops. Use all of the resources available and enjoy a minute or two more of flight time.
Fly Smart, Kent