julesmusician
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:25 am

LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:04 pm

Few questions for those with experience:

Why aren't planes told to go to the end of the runway and around the long way instead of cutting across?

Thursday, November 24, 2005 at 15:05

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It's not a record you want to brag about: Los Angeles International Airport and two others nearby have the worst runway safety records recently among the nation's busiest airports, a review of federal aviation data shows.

Federal officials are most concerned by the situation at bustling LAX, where commercial jets have come perilously close to crashing at least twice since 1999, the first year of data reviewed by The Associated Press.

The problem persists because, despite millions spent to reduce violations known as runway incursions, LAX's airfield has built-in flaws: It's too tightly packed and arriving aircraft must cross runways used for takeoffs.

Runway incursions occur when a plane or vehicle on the ground gets too close to a plane that is landing or taking off.

LAX, the nation's fourth-busiest airport in terms of flights, has two sets of parallel runways. Planes land on the outer runways and, while taxiing to their gates, cross the inner runways, which are used for takeoffs.

Southern California has long been the nation's runway incursion epicenter. Among the country's 25 busiest commercial airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Long Beach Airport and LAX ranked one, two and three in runway incursion rates _ measured by incidents per 100,000 flights _ since 1999. The three airports also topped the list for the total number of incidents, regardless of size.

Nationwide, the number of incursions has dropped about 20 percent from its 2001 peak. Airports in Boston, Philadelphia and Newark had unusually high numbers of incursions in fiscal year 2005; those in Denver, San Francisco and New York's La Guardia had none, according to federal records.

Incursions spiked at 407 in fiscal 2001, FAA reports show, before dropping to 326 in fiscal 2004. Boston's Logan International bucked the trend in spectacular fashion by recording 15 incursions in the 2005 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, after experiencing just four from 2002 through 2004.

Still, federal attention has focused on LAX because the incursion rate has remained consistently high _ even though officials say interim fixes have reduced the severity of the incidents, if not the number.

"I don't feel there's an enormous safety problem there right now (but) the numbers do concern us," said Dave Kurner, the Federal Aviation Administration's regional runway safety program manager.

Spokeswomen at Long Beach and John Wayne airports said most runway incursions at their facilities involved small, private planes. LAX, however, mostly serves commercial aircraft, giving it the greatest potential for a catastrophic accident.

Aviation officials call the geographic clustering a coincidence.

"There's no common theme or thread, nothing unique to Southern California," said FAA spokesman Donn Walker.

The worst aviation accident in history occurred on a runway in 1977, when two jumbo jets collided at the airport in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 582 people. At LAX, 35 people died in 1991 when an air traffic controller cleared a jet to land on the same runway where she had positioned a commuter plane for takeoff.

Now, after years of planning, LAX plans a permanent fix: a $250 million airfield renovation that officials say should eliminate most of the violations.

LAX has seen between six and 10 incursions annually since 1999, though FAA officials caution those numbers can be misleading. None of LAX's eight incursions in 2005 posed an imminent collision risk, Walker said.

That wasn't always the case, though. In November 1999, the pilot of a departing United Airlines Boeing 757 pulled up early to avoid barreling into an Aeromexico MD80 that had mistakenly taxied into its path.

In an August 2004 incident that chillingly echoed the 1991 crash, the pilot of an arriving Asiana Boeing 747 swooped about 200 feet over a Southwest jetliner that an air traffic controller had positioned on the runway where the jumbo jet had been cleared to land.

Looking down from the LAX control tower, the potential for problems is obvious as a succession of arriving jets nose up to a stop line before reaching the inner runway as other planes roar down it.

"I always equate it to the same act of faith as pulling up to a traffic signal and you've got a green light and you see somebody pulling up in the other direction," said Mike Foote, the air traffic controllers union representative at LAX. In other words, you assume _ and hope _ they'll stop.

Authorities have tried to address LAX's problem by installing new technology in the control tower, and placing "hot spot" warning signs on the LAX charts pilots use. Additionally, LAX has spent $8 million on better airfield signs, lighting and markings, said spokesman Paul Haney. And, next year, the airport is scheduled to get a new ground radar system that will give air traffic controllers precise information about the locations of planes on the airfield.

A major airfield rejiggering should also give air traffic controllers greater control over the planes they guide. The project faces environmental lawsuits, but the airport hopes to settle those and begin construction early next year.
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:34 am

Unfortunately the parallel runway set up requires arrival aircraft to cross an active runway on their way to taxiways to get to their terminals.

Forcing aircraft to proceed to the end of the runways following their landing would have a significant negative impact by increasing runway occupancy time and thus reduce hourly runway capacity. As is during much of the day, distance between arriving aircraft is down to the minimum wake separation spacing.

The continued #1 hot spot around the airport continues to be off the 25L/R runways abeam the American Airlines and TBIT terminals.

The LAX masterplan will see several runways and taxiway reconfigurations including the construction of an parallel taxiway located between the 24L/R and 25L/R runway complexes were landing aircraft can taxi off and hold. In addition runway exits will be reconfigured further to stagger them in a way were one cannot directly exit at many of the current critical locations without basically making a slight 'dog leg" detour.

In regards to the other airports, I would say Long Beach is actually more confusing for potential runway incursions. I have flown in multiple times at night or poor visibility and have almost gotten my bearings lost due to the multiple runway and taxiway intersection crossings that interconnect.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
AAR90
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:51 am

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:41 pm

Quoting Julesmusician (Thread starter):
None of LAX's eight incursions in 2005 posed an imminent collision risk, Walker said.



Quoting Laxintl (Reply 1):
The continued #1 hot spot around the airport continues to be off the 25L/R runways abeam the American Airlines and TBIT terminals.

The two primary reasons for LAX's reported "high" number (averaging less than one per month) of runway incursions is the very small space provided between 25L/R in which to stop a plane without extending beyond the hold lines of either 25L or 25R, and the automatic "snitch" system that automatically reports when any part of a plane [even one inch] is extended beyond either of those lines. ATC tries to avoid stopping planes between the runways as much as possible, but that doesn't happen very often due to the very high volumn of traffic and limited taxiway space north of the 25's.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
hawaiian717
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:46 am

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:02 am

When I read the article, it caused me to wonder if it would help if the runways were switched. That is, use the outer runways for departures and the inner runways for arrivals. That way landing aircraft wouldn't have to wait for a gap in departures to cross an active runway.
 
LAXintl
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:46 pm

Quoting Hawaiian717 (Reply 3):
When I read the article, it caused me to wonder if it would help if the runways were switched. That is, use the outer runways for departures and the inner runways for arrivals. That way landing aircraft wouldn't have to wait for a gap in departures to cross an active runway.

Yes but that would reduce the airports departure rate, especially at times when ILS approaches are in progress.
Departing traffic would be required to cross the arrival runway to get to the departure runway. While possible on VFR days, would be extremely detrimental on IFR days as the ILS critical area cannot be breached. So in theory a departing aircraft might have to wait a long time for a series of ILS landings to be completed and a long enough separation to be able to cross the runway without disturbing the approach of planes which are miles out.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
hawaiian717
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:46 am

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 4:27 pm

I suspected there was some reason the swap wasn't done, as it seems like it would be obvious. Thanks for the explanation.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 5:48 pm

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 2):
The two primary reasons for LAX's reported "high" number (averaging less than one per month) of runway incursions is the very small space provided between 25L/R in which to stop a plane without extending beyond the hold lines of either 25L or 25R, and the automatic "snitch" system that automatically reports when any part of a plane [even one inch] is extended beyond either of those lines. ATC tries to avoid stopping planes between the runways as much as possible, but that doesn't happen very often due to the very high volumn of traffic and limited taxiway space north of the 25's.

Thanks AAR90, very interesting, as always. However, I am curious if the same situation occurs on 24L/R, as the runways are the same distance apart as 25L/R.

As a passenger aboard flights landing on 25L, I've seen up to three airplanes all holding short of 25R on taxiways at the same time. It always seemed more logical than having intersecting runways, but obviously I don't know everything.

~Vik
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
SuseJ772
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:13 am

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:37 pm

Quoting Hawaiian717 (Reply 3):
When I read the article, it caused me to wonder if it would help if the runways were switched. That is, use the outer runways for departures and the inner runways for arrivals. That way landing aircraft wouldn't have to wait for a gap in departures to cross an active runway.

Plus, the outer runways (arrival) are significantly shorter. I am not sure a fully loaded 744 or the like could take off on the outer runways.
Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
 
AAR90
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:51 am

RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:56 pm

Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Thanks AAR90, very interesting, as always. However, I am curious if the same situation occurs on 24L/R, as the runways are the same distance apart as 25L/R.

No, not really. Runway placement relative to terminals is considerably greater making for much more taxiway space to get planes clear of the runways. Considering the most activity on the north side is T-1 & T-2 with no essentially no hangers or cargo ops, the north side is much less active than the south side. The south side sees AA, DL, CO, and UA terminals and hangers plus all cargo ops. The greater traffic volumn plus runway placement means there is less pavement available for more planes to operate. Simply more congested... hence the multiple taxiways between runways on the south side, but not on the north side.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
goboeing
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RE: LAX Voted Worst Airport For Runway Incursions.

Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:15 am

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