The Air Traffic controller’s Perspective on Runway Incursion Hazards and Mitigation Options

The Air Traffic controller’s Perspective on  Runway Incursion Hazards and Mitigation Options.

Communication Hazards.

  • Unclear communication from the pilot to the ATC
  • Ambiguous communication
  • Lack of standard phraseology, including: speed of delivery, accents, # of instructions per transmission
  • Low level of aviation language proficiency
  • Frequency congestion
  • Call sign confusion
  • Read back errors
  • Assumption that flight crews and airport personnel have certain familiarity with airport
  • Simultaneous communication required for coordination between local, ground and radar controllers
  • Multiple tower / ground frequencies becoming commonplace at many large airports
  • Instances where 1 controller is responsible for traffic on multiple frequencies

Communication Mitigation

  • Provide awareness and refresher training, that includes
    • Situations requiring mandatory read back
    • Ensuring what is said or heard is really what is said or heard not what you or the pilot expected to hear
    • Clarifying/avoiding similar sounding call-signs
    • Not assuming that pilots are familiar with local operations
  • Establish outreach programs that include
    • Providing runway safety materials to foster collaboration
    • Encouraging the use of standard phraseology between controllers and pilots
    • Airfield vehicular tours to familiarize controllers with aerodrome signage, markings and taxiway/runway layout from a pilot’s perspective
  • Minimize single controller communication coordination between local, ground and radar controllers
  • Manage the use of multiple tower / ground frequencies
  • Minimize the occurrences where 1 controller is responsible for traffic on multiple frequencies

Construction Hazards

Hazards appear when part of the airport becomes non-operational

  • Potential capacity constraints that increase controller workload
  • Potential need to manage and coordinate increased number of runway crossings
  • The more crossing possibilities, the higher the incursion risk
  • Added vehicular traffic on runway and taxiway surfaces
  • Possible increased use of intersection takeoffs
  • Potential impact on RFF procedures.

Construction Mitigations

  • Manage movement numbers during capacity constraints
  • Manage and coordinate increased number of runway crossings
  • Develop SOPs for use during airport works including
  • Using intersection departures
  • RFF procedures
  • Providing information to pilots on available runway lengths
  • Develop memory aids to prevent departures and landings on closed or shortened runways

Airport Design Hazards

  • Operations to closely spaced parallel runways
  • Monitoring adherence to hold short clearances, particularly for high-speed turnoffs after landing
  • Potential for separation issues related to runway confusion
  • Simultaneous operations to intersecting runways
  • Increased coordination required when multiple tower / ground frequencies are in use

Airport Design Mitigation

  • Identify and publish hotspots
  • Develop controller awareness of high risk areas
  • Intersecting runway operations
  • Land and Hold Short Operations
  • Timing (when runway occupancy time is contrary to controller expectations)
  • Runway Crossings.
  • There is a correlation between the number of runway crossings and runway incursions consider increasing the use of end around taxiways.
  • Blind spots/low visibility
  • Reports clear of runway
  • Use of Surface surveillance equipment including CCTV if needed
  • Closely spaced parallel runways operations
  • Monitoring adherence to hold short clearances, particularly for high-speed turnoffs after landing
  • Awareness of separation issues related to runway confusion
  • Simultaneous operations to intersecting runways
  • Implement coordination procedures when multiple tower / ground frequencies are in use

 

Visibility Hazards

  • Not only due to fog, but also glare/snow/ reflection/water/sand
  • Certain movement areas are “blind spots” and are not visible from the control tower.

Visibility Mitigation

  • Identify “blind spots” and their hazards
  • Develop mitigation procedures
  • Utilize low visibility procedures
  • Manage traffic levels
  • To maintain situation awareness
  • To avoid frequency overload

 

Operational Hazards

  • Hub” route networks create peaks in controller workload
  • Managing contingencies related to:
  • Runway / taxiway closures
  • Inoperative approach aids
  • Technical issues experienced by flight crews
  • Weather phenomena
  • Environmental factors:
  • Distractions, false/nuisance alerts
  • Sight lines
  • Complex airport operations and configuration changes
  • Traffic volume
  • Shift work and fatigue-related performance effects
  • Use of complex/non-standard taxi instructions
  • Inadequate airport diagrams

Operational Mitigation

  • Options to enhance situational awareness
  • Implement CRM training
  • Foster a culture of teamwork. Awareness of other controllers’ activities.
  • Develop memory aids
  • Visual indicators for runway closures, intersection departures, etc
  • Position Relief Procedures and Checklists to highlight any high risk situations
  • Staffing
  • Provide adequate numbers to manage traffic surges
  • Prevent split attention/multi-tasking particularly during periods of low-level traffic
  • Re-Current training
  • Focus on local operations and runway safety issues
  • Tower cab & equipment configuration
  • Perform human factors assessment of cab environment
  • Foster a Safety Culture
  • Implement SMS

 

Signage

  • Report unserviceable signage
  • Advise flight crews of unserviceable signage
  • Amend affected procedures when signage is unserviceable
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