The Runway Centreline Blog
A long, long time ago, I almost jokingly suggested that we should be looking at Taxiway Safety as much as Runway Safety. But in the nearly seven years since I posted it, I've seen a steady stream of taxiway collisions across the world. The latest in Turkey provided some spectacular visuals and luckily no one was hurt.
Image credit: pixabay
Over the past year or so, I've written about a couple of topics that seem to have converged into this post. Airport professionalism, the application of aerodrome regulations (twice), runway strip standards and accidents were topics I recently explored and after doing so more research I stumbled across a couple of incident investigations in Australia that bring these previous articles together.
In almost a teaser to a post I have coming out on Monday, the NTSB has just released all the factual information it has collected in its investigation of an incident that occurred last year at San Fransisco involving an Air Canada A320. As you can see from the video that they released yesterday, this was a very close call. Even though there were no injuries or deaths or damage, it represents a great opportunity for examination and learning. Unfortunately, my post on Monday discusses a couple of missed opportunities.
Image by Brian Bukowski
A long time ago I wrote a rather comprehensive series on wildlife hazard management within an ISO 31000 risk management framework. It was the launch series for the New Airport Insider website and quite a bit of work on my part - but I enjoyed it. So, I thought I would repackage it as a quick blog post with links to each article.
This week, on Sunday, 14th January 2018, a Pegasus 737-800 veered off the runway at Trabzon, Turkey and came to rest on a steep slope quite close to the Black Sea. Obviously, it is way too early to speculate on the causes of the accident but as airport safety nerds, I think its okay for us to have a look at the role the runway strip played in this event. a few internet comments have questioned the compliance of the runway strip and it does look narrow. However, if Google Earth is to be believed, these comments and first thoughts might not be correct.
Earlier in 2017, the New Zealand Court of Appeal reversed any an even earlier court decision and found that the NZ Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Director had made an error in assessing the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) length requirement contain in Civil Aviation Rule Part 139 - I blogged about that decision here.
And I guess, technically, the NZ CAA and Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) lost. The appeal was dismissed and costs were awarded but the reasoning included in the judgement does provide the NZ CAA with at least a partial win.
I’m not a big fan of safety tropes. They are often repeated without much thought and eventually this repetition becomes detached from the concept the trope is trying to convey. With many tropes, there are few non-trivial or non-catastrophic events that can reinforce the trope.
The saying on my mind today is “if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident”. The “accident” I often think about is something big, something catastrophic and something that happens to other people. I rarely uttered this trope because I, personally, didn’t feel the power of it.
Now, thanks to a court case in Australia, I feel the power has been returned to this saying. We know have a non-catastrophic event with quantifiable costs associated with the “safety” part and the “accident” part. Plus, I think nearly every airport safety professional out there can empathise with the operator in the case
All three on my children have been brought into the world of reading partially through the works of Dr Seuss. I can't count the number of times I have read his books. As my kids have grown older, they have turned into the reader and read these amazing books back to me.
The Bike Lesson is one of my favourites for the very nerdy reason that towards the end of the book The Berenstains provide us with a short & succinct definition of safety. It's three simple stanzas that I think encapsulate modern safety management perfectly.
A couple of months ago, the New Zealand Court of Appeal handed down a judgement against the NZ Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) assessment of Runway End Safety Area (RESA) requirements stemming from their own rules. While not everyone is in to reading court decisions and pulling apart regulations, I obviously am. As such, I thought I would save you the trouble and write about it here.
Header image from Karelj.
This post has been on the drafting table for a couple of weeks now as the concept of Lean Six Sigma in an airport environment continues to push my mental-gymnastic abilities. It started a couple of weeks ago when Dubai Airports announced on LinkedIn a new policy to reject at check-in baggage that lacks a flat surface.
I understand that the airport company must be seriously concerned about mis-tracks and other baggage handling system issues that result in delayed and lost bags. But in reading the announcement, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing in this decision and after much pondering, my thoughts have centred on the concept of Voice of the Customer (VOC).
When the FIFO phenomenon took off*, mines required aerodromes to ferry workers in and out and staff to inspect and maintain them. Operating an aerodrome (some would later become airports), is obviously not core business for a mining company and thus, became fertile ground for outsourcing. This post explores the issues I have experienced and seen at aerodromes that have outsourced their airside activities and/or obligations.
I love the concept of culture. Obviously, those in the safety game are familiar with the concepts of safety culture and just culture but I like to think about it more generally as a way of managing people and ensuring good performance. For me, the power of understanding culture stems from the idea that all individual behaviour is influenced by the culture that surrounds that individual.
Image credit: A dodgy photoshop job on a photo by Aylmer
I have a confession: For quite a while I didn't really get how the "manufacturing" mindset, in so far as it relates to the concept of Lean, applied to airport operations. I couldn't grasp the application of the philosophy to the airport.
What is our product? What are we making?
I think, finally, the meaning of it all has given me a glimpse of its power and I'm keen to learn more. And in my usual style, I plan on doing that publicly, here, on this blog.
Image credit: Neville Wooton
After some very hectic years with little opportunity for writing, I am very excited to bringing The Runway Centreline back to life for 2017. I've been incubating a few ideas over the last 12 months or so and, while I have a lot of work in front of me, I think the next 12 months are going to be very exciting.
A news story on Twitter (via @Speedbird_NCL) caught my eye the other day. The gist of it was that due to fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, the numbers assigned to runways in the US were being re-designated due to changes in the runway's magnetic direction.
I am overcome with the desire to gloat. I have, in my humble opinion, the best job in the world. Now this might be the exhaustion talking but this week has had a great mix of new experiences, further development in existing skills and a real sense of progress. The reason I'm exhausted is that my schedule this week has been chaotic. I've worked on average only 11 hours or so for each of the first three days this week but those hours have included evenings, mornings and a fair bit of back of the clock "flying".
When I started this blog, I was all about airside. I was an aerodrome inspector, after all, and for me, it was all about the planes. Then I went and got a job running an airport and I had to start worrying about that other category of customer, passengers. Generally, our airport operates smoothly. We have a very high percentage of routine travellers who know the drill and probably even know the staff. Actually, now that I think about it, that could lead to complacency if we are not careful.
It's been a busy week, this picture might explain it...
Last month I mentioned the widespread attention being paid to runway safety (runway incursions, excursions etc.) but over the last few months, and the last few weeks in particular, we've had quite a few high-profile taxiway accidents. So much so that maybe the next global safety initiative will be taxiway safety (excursions, clearances, traffic etc.). Recent Boo-boos
Image credit: Marina Hinic
- Aerodrome Standards
- Aircraft Accident
- Airport Management
- Aviation Regulation
- Aviation Safety Regulation
- Court Decisions
- Risk Assessment
- Runway End Safety Area
- Runway Safety
- Runway Standards
- Safety Regulation
- Six Sigma
- Voice of the Customer
- Wildlife Management