The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has again been honored for its creative efforts to reduce the number of runway incursions, this time by the FAA's Safe Flight 21 program. Safe Flight 21 is the FAA program specifically charged with developing methods for improving flight safety.
ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg chaired a committee that devised a low-tech, low-cost "runway occupied" warning system that flashes glideslope indicator lights at incoming aircraft if another aircraft is already on the runway. The system is currently being tested in Long Beach, California.
David Ford, Safe Flight 21's team leader on the project, presented the citation to Landsberg during a meeting in Long Beach, California. "Your support to the FAA organization has been exceptional and merits special recognition," he said.
"Runway incursions are one of the most easily preventable of aviation incidents," said Landsberg. "Our participation in this project is part of the Air Safety Foundation's ongoing efforts, both in partnership with the FAA and on our own, to reduce the number of incursions."
Working with the FAA's Office of Runway Safety, ASF developed runway safety flashcards, which show various airport signs on one side, and what they mean and the correct action to take on the reverse. The FAA distributed the card sets to every certificated flight instructor and designated examiner in the country. CFIs, especially those teaching at nontowered airports, use the cards to drill their students on safe ground operation, while examiners use them to quiz private pilot applicants.
ASF has also put the power of the Internet to good use in its efforts to reduce runway incursions. The foundation developed an online Runway Safety program course to teach pilots about the hazards and how to avoid them. It has also put online FAA reports on runway incursions involving general aviation aircraft. The reports are not representative of a "typical" GA incursion. They are instead more extreme examples intended as a learning device.
Runway incursions are a problem that crosses all aviation boundaries and experience levels. Statistically, an airline pilot with thousands of hours in the air is just as likely to be involved in an incursion as a brand-new private pilot in a small GA aircraft.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the nation's only private, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to providing continuing pilot education and safety programs for general aviation. It is funded by donations from individual pilots and organizations, which support the cause of improved general aviation safety.