The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, in partnership with the FAA Office of Runway Safety and Operational Services, today unveiled a powerful new learning tool to help pilots avoid runway incursions. The all-new Runway Safety online course challenges pilots to reexamine how much they really know about ground operations and provides them with a thorough understanding of how to operate safely on the ground.
In the past, the number of runway incursions was proportional to pilot certificate levels - a private pilot was statistically no more or less likely to cause an incursion than an airline transport pilot. "But the airlines have improved dramatically, to the point that GA is now responsible for a disproportionately high number of incursions. Now it's time for us to clean up our act," said Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "Fortunately, we've got a new tool to help do just that - the all-new Runway Safety course.
"The simple fact is that runway incursions should never happen - but they do," he continued. "The best solution is for pilots to be thoroughly familiar with airport markings in general, and with the runway and taxiway layout at the airports they'll be using in particular."
Using animation, video, challenging quizzes, and real-life examples, Runway Safety reminds pilots that they have to "fly the plane" from the time they start the engine until they shut it down again at their destination.
"There's an old adage in aviation: 'Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier,'" said Landsberg. "That's every bit as true on the ground as it is in the air."
Successfully completing the free AOPA Air Safety Foundation Runway Safety online course could also mitigate an FAA enforcement action if a pilot is later involved in a pilot-caused runway incursion. "Under the FAA's Runway Incursion Information and Evaluation Program (RIIEP), the agency plans to forego punitive legal enforcement and will normally be more lenient with a pilot who has passed the course and who meets other criteria," said Landsberg.
Passing the course also fulfills the ground requirement for the FAA's Wings pilot proficiency program.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, the world's largest nonprofit GA safety organization, was founded in 1950 solely to help general aviation pilots improve flight safety. Since that time, the GA total accident rate has dropped by more than 90 percent despite a large increase in GA flight hours. ASF produces not only online interactive courses such as Runway Safety, but also live safety seminars, videotapes, printed Safety Advisors and other aviation safety materials for free distribution to all GA pilots.
July 22, 2004