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Runway Incursions

Table of Contents

AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety Program
Runway incursions pose a significant but unnecessary risk for pilots and their passengers. This course will help you avoid common pitfalls as well as needless accidents and scares.

Airport Operations
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation offers a wealth of instruction on safe runway operations at both towered and nontowered airports with many online products, including airport signage flashcards, quizzes, articles, DVDs, and airport taxi diagrams.

Taxi driver
Tips for a smooth, safe trip to the runway
By Dr. Ian Blair Fries
AOPA Flight Training, August 2005

We are pilots because we like to fly, and we spend much effort mastering aircraft flight, takeoffs, and landings. However, each flight begins and ends by controlling the airplane on the ground - that is, taxiing.

Runway Manners
Avoiding before-takeoff and after-landing dangers
By Chip Wright
AOPA Pilot, August 2005

But what about that time when you are on the ground, say, the time you start to taxi until you roll onto the runway for takeoff and the time after you land until you shut down the airplane? These are two overlooked, but potentially dangerous, parts of any flight.

Tackling taxiing
Smooth techniques for surface transit
By Sue Critz
AOPA Flight Training, December 2004

Keep in mind that where you taxi can be just as important as how you taxi. FAA statistics show that more than half of all runway incursions are caused by pilot deviations.

Two aircraft, one runway
Could a runway incursion happen to you?
By Wally Miller
AOPA Flight Training, July 2004

The Boeing 757 landed uneventfully on Runway 5R and turned off the runway. It was cleared to follow taxiways November and Tango to the ramp. The crew mistakenly turned off November onto Taxiway Bravo, heading back toward the active runway, while other aircraft continued to arrive and depart on Runway 5R.

Preventing runway incursions
Instructors are the 'tip of the sword'
By David Wright
AOPA Flight Training, July 2004

Runway incursions aren't new. In fact, as most pilots know, the worst disaster in aviation history happened on the ground, when 583 people died in the collision of two Boeing 747s on the island of Tenerife in 1977 (see " Two Aircraft, One Runway," p. 22). The tragedy happened when the captain of a KLM Boeing 747 initiated takeoff without a clearance and collided head-on with a Pan Am 747 back-taxiing on the same runway.

Crossing the Line
Tough fixes for a growing problem
By Nathan A. Ferguson
AOPA Pilot, October 2000

With new gizmos to continually draw pilots' eyes into the cockpit, safety is jeopardized every time the rubber meets the tarmac. A look at recent newspaper stories about runway incursions would have you believe that taxiing in two dimensions at the big airports has become more complex than flying in three.

Pilot Counsel: FAA immunity for runway incursions
By John S. Yodice
AOPA Pilot, June 2000

It seems that we can expect more uncomfortable one-on-one discussions between pilots and FAA inspectors about possible regulatory violations. Now pilots may need some legal guidance about participating in another new FAA program, the Runway Incursion Information and Evaluation Program (RIIEP).

Runway Incursions
Runway Incursion Is No Accident
By H. Dean Chamberlain
FAA Aviation News, October 1999

Five simple words, but together they define one of the FAA's hottest safety topics. Although most runway incursions do not result in an accident, the potential is always there, especially in low visibility situations.

Runway Incursions
Proceed With Caution!
By H. Dean Chamberlain
FAA Aviation News, October 1999

This is a glossary of common terms taken from the AIM that have the potential to be involved in incursion type incidents.

Runway Incursions
Editor's Runway: Only You Can Prevent Runway Incursions
By Phyllis-Anne Duncan
FAA Aviation News, October 1999

Read the FAA's nine points of safe ground operations, discipline, and the importance of this discipline to safe operations.

Safety Pilot: Don't get LAHSOed
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, April 1999

Cowboys used lassos to "keep them doggies movin.'" Air traffic controllers use LAHSO to keep aircraft moving at busy airports. LAHSO is the abbreviation for land and hold short operations, and it has become a controversial procedure.

Pilot Counsel: An Incursion Case
By John S. Yodice
AOPA Pilot, May 1998

"Runway incursions" is a high-sounding term that is currently being bandied about by safety gurus. It is much more meaningful to me to see the Federal Aviation Regulations in a real-life situation, understand how they apply to the situation, and take from it what I can do to make my flying safer. So, here is a real-life situation in an FAA enforcement setting, perhaps with some lessons for us all.

Safety Pilot: Runway Incursions
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, January 1998

Most pilots think that they understand taxi clearances, but there is one real big gotcha that seems to cause major problems. Let's say that you are given a clearance to "Taxi to Runway 22." According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, when ATC clears an aircraft to "taxi to" an assigned takeoff runway, in the absence of holding instructions, that authorizes the aircraft to "cross" all runways that the taxi route intersects, with one big exception. Runway 22 is the assigned takeoff runway, and the FBO, let's say, is on the opposite side of Runway 22 from the parallel taxiway that will take you to the end for departure. Can you cross 22 and taxi up the parallel?

Flying Safe: Learning Experiences
Runway Incursions
By Robert N. Rossier
AOPA Flight Training, December 1997

When another aircraft passes uncomfortably close in flight, it sends shivers down the spine - and reminds us of the importance of see-and-avoid scanning for other traffic to avoid a midair collision. However, there's probably a higher risk of aircraft colliding while on the ground, and the results can be just as serious as a midair collision.

Safety Pilot: Collision at Quincy
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, December 1997

The ground collision between a Beech 1900 airliner and a Beech King Air A90 at Quincy, Illinois, in November 1996 perfectly illustrates the concept of the accident chain - change any one thing and the accident is unlikely to occur. This collision is unique; in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation records dating back to 1982, there has not been another ground collision between an airliner and a corporate GA aircraft at a nontowered airport.

Safety Pilot: Ground Encounters
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, January 1997

The issue of how to operate safely on the ground at nontowered airports was raised again in November with the collision between a regional airliner and a Beech King Air in Quincy, Illinois. According to preliminary reports, the airliner, a Beech 1900, had just touched down and was on the rollout. It collided at the intersection of a crossing runway with the King Air, which was beginning its takeoff run. It is a good opportunity to review procedures, as most of general aviation is based at nontowered airports.

Safety Pilot: Stop, Look and Listen
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, August 1995

We tend to relax on the ground, but it's worth remembering that one of history's worst accidents happened when both aircraft involved were on the ground. The granddaddy of all runway incursions occurred in Tenerife in the Canary Islands when two heavily loaded Boeing 747s came together on a fog-enshrouded runway. The captain of one of the 747s failed to honor a "hold in position" clearance and started his takeoff before the other 747 was clear of the runway.

Read details on runway incursions at various airports from AOPA Flight Training.

Never Again Online: Runway incursion of the worst kind
By Lou J. Wipotnik
AOPA Pilot, April 2005

Back in the early 1970s, before runway incursions were a notable and common problem, I experienced my worst close call.

Landmark Accidents: Chain Reaction Collision on 30R at St. Louis
By Bruce Landsberg
AOPA Pilot, August 2000
Runway safety and ground operations continue to be a high-visibility issue for the FAA and the pilot community. How hard could it be to operate an aircraft on the ground? Turns out that it can be as complex as many flight operations and for a small percentage of pilots and their passengers, a mistake can be fatal.

Updated Tuesday September, 2008 4:58PM