Wed, Oct 03, 2007
Lear Cleared By Tower To Depart Unlit 19R
Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident involving
an aircraft taking off from a closed runway at Washington Dulles
International Airport last month.
The Board states on September 12, about 0313 EDT, the Dulles
tower controller cleared a Learjet 35 (N66NJ, file photo of type
shown at right) for takeoff from a closed, unlit runway. Earlier in
the evening, runway 19R was closed for surveying and the runway
lights were turned off.
The tower controller instructed N66NJ to taxi into position and
hold, then cleared it for takeoff.
The departure controller at Potomac Terminal Radar Approach
Control -- located in Warrenton, VA -- noticed the radar target
depart runway 19R and asked the tower controller if the runway was
open, and was told no.
The closure was advertised on the automated terminal information
service, and the tower controller placed an X on the tower's ground
radar display as a reminder of the closure. The closure also was
annotated on the tower status display.
There were no injuries or damage to the aircraft. At the time of
the incident, there was one tower controller in the cab; the second
controller assigned to the shift was on break.
The FAA has classified the incident as an operational error.
This is considered a runway incursion as defined by the
International Civil Aviation Organization.
As ANN reported, the FAA
announced Monday it will now following ICAO guidelines for such
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