Runway Incursion Avoidance

Runway Incursion

Importance of runway incursion avoidance.

Runway incursions have become one of the biggest safety concerns in aviation. The FAA has implemented several programs since 2000 to help reduce the occurrence of accidents during surface operations. Most runway incursions are caused by pilot deviations or violation of regulations or ATC instructions.

Types of runway incursion.

The ICAO defines runway incursions as “any unauthorized intrusion onto a runway regardless of whether or not an aircraft presents a potential conflict.”

There are four categories of runway incursions: 

  • Category A incursions are serious incidents where an accident is narrowly avoided
  • Category B incursions happen when a separation between aircraft is decreased and steps must be taken to avoid a collision.
  • Category C incursions happen when there is another aircraft or object on the runway but there is ample time or distance to make corrective action to avoid an accident.
  • Category D incursions happen when an aircraft, person, or objects enters a runway unauthorized and while there is not a risk of incident, their presence creates a potential hazard. 

Runway incursion

Steps to take in avoiding a runway incursion.

What can you do to avoid runway incursions and increase safety during ground movement? Planning, situational awareness, and good communication are key to avoiding a runway incursion. When planning your flight, it is important to plan for ground operations as well. Pilots should be aware of high traffic areas, familiarize themselves with airport surface diagrams, and stay up to date on important guidance and changing regulations in order to maintain awareness of the hazards involved in ground operations. An awareness of potential hazards will reduce the overall risk if the pilot takes proper precautions.

Communication is vital when conducting ground movement. Communication can be divided into several categories: communication with ATC, communication with your crew, and communication with passengers. When communicating with ATC always focus on and restate issued instruction so no confusion exists. It is also important to monitor your assigned tower frequency for any changes or incidents that may arise. Communication with your passengers and crew is equally important. Always ensure your crew is properly briefed and familiar with current airport diagrams. If you are flying in an aircraft that does not have a separation between the cockpit and the passengers, you should brief them on the importance of refraining from conversation and certain activities during critical stages of the flight.

Situational awareness is always important, but is especially vital when conducting ground movement. Pilots should practice good situational awareness awareness of other aircraft located around them. Before accepting a clearance to cross a runway, it is important to check the runway for any traffic, as well as check the air for any aircraft that may be making a final approach. It is important to remember that while taxiing, your attention should be focused on your surroundings rather than on completing preflight checklist or entering navigation. It is a good practice to complete all checklists before or after your taxi operation.

While ground movement operations can present a unique hazard for runway incursion and accidents, the risk can be significantly lowered by cultivating good practices in planning, communication, and situational awareness. For more information on runway incursions and how to avoid them, you can check out the links below.

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