WASHINGTON- The United States aviation regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reported 46 close calls in July and almost 300 near miss or near collisions incidents this year.
The aviation system in the United States is globally recognized as the safest, yet even a single near-miss incident is unacceptable.
FAA Close Calls and Near Miss Incidents
Both the FAA and the aviation industry are actively striving for a target of zero significant close calls, echoing the commitment made during the Safety Summit held in March.
This strategy, similar to the one that nearly eradicated fatalities on U.S. commercial airlines, has been instrumental in reducing the risk of accidents.
Notably, U.S. carriers have achieved a remarkable safety record since 2009, transporting more passengers than the global population without fatal crashes.
A multitude of safety measures safeguard the well-being of travelers, encompassing various aspects: commercial aircraft are equipped with Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems, prominent airports deploy surface safety technology, and a robust set of protocols are in place.
Both air traffic controllers and pilots assume pivotal roles in this safety network.
The FAA adheres to exceptionally cautious standards to ensure a secure separation between aircraft. Safety experts meticulously investigate all incidents, even those where the possibility of a collision is remote or non-existent.
These occurrences are systematically assessed for potential safety risks. The agency makes this information available on its website, continually updating it as new data emerges.
Furthermore, the FAA has undertaken the hiring of 1,500 controllers for the fiscal year 2023. This addition is supplementary to the ongoing training of over 2,600 controllers at various stages in air traffic facilities across the nation.
Cause and Action
The root causes of runway incursions in the year 2023 are as follows:
- 60% attributed to Pilot Deviations
- 20% attributed to Operational Incidents
- 20% attributed to Vehicle/Pedestrian deviations
Further, the FAA has implemented a series of actions since March:
- Released a safety alert that mandates operations to adhere to the highest safety standards, incorporating modifications to procedures or training as needed.
- Unveiled measures within the agency’s Air Traffic Organization to ensure that supervisors are fully engaged with operations and airfield activities during periods of high traffic.
- Established an Independent Aviation Safety Review Team.
- Allocated more than $100 million towards reducing runway incursions at 12 airports.
- Initiated the “Stand Up for Safety” Campaign for Controllers.
- Commenced the quest for a new surface situational awareness tool.
Air traffic control facilities convene Runway Safety Action Team gatherings each year, bringing together all airport users, including pilots, controllers, and vehicle operators.
During these meetings, participants engage in discussions about any incidents, safety issues, and potential solutions. These sessions serve as the main platform for identifying and tackling airport-specific risks within the surface environment.
The outcome of these meetings is the creation of a Runway Safety Action Plan, wherein stakeholders collaboratively outline and commit to undertaking distinct measures aimed at enhancing surface safety.
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