Recommends Sharing Graphical As Well As Textual Data
A notice posted on the
FAA's website last week is asking airport managers to improve
information sharing on airport construction affecting aircraft
Some see this as a reaction to last summer's deadly accident in
Lexington, KY where Comair flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from the
wrong runway. Many have speculated airport construction projects
contributed to the crew's confusion while taxiing which may
have led to their attempt to depart from a too-short runway.
In the notice, the FAA said, "Due to the rapidly changing
conditions that can occur on an airport when runways and taxiways
are closed for maintenance or construction, aircrews may have a
hard time keeping up with these changes as they occur. In many
cases, the NOTAM system may be inadequate."
The agency recommends information, to supplement NOTAMs be
shared in both text and graphic form.
The notice continues, "With today’s technology, there is
little to no reason why an airport operator cannot supply the air
carriers and FBOs on the airport with the latest and most current
information on runway and taxiway closures. This should be done
graphically as well as textually."
Flight 5191's crew did have airport diagrams aboard the
aircraft, but they were out of date, and they didn't reflect the
on-going construction at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. Crews did
have the NOTAM issued by the FAA with the latest information on
construction at the airport.
The FAA's notice added, "In many cases, pure text can be
difficult for people to envision exactly what is being described.
Whereas, using a picture or diagram that pinpoints the exact
location of the closure is much more clear. The dissemination of
the diagrams can be done by email, by establishing a website that
can be accessed by the tenants, or by hand delivery. The
possibilities are limited only by imagination. But the result is a
much more safe environment."
An example in the notice shows an airport with the areas
under construction clearly marked -- in graphic form.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown says the latest recommendation is
not related to the crash of flight 5191. She told the Lexington
Herald-Leader, "It is not the impetus for this."
The NTSB has not released its final report on Comair flight 5191
in which 49 people lost their lives.