Monday, November 20, 2006

Runway Incursion

This picture is not relevant just thought it was jolly nice

I received a terrifying press release today to place on my 'other' website. It was concerning a runway incursion in Chicago in July this year involving a B747 and a B737. Since the worst ever aviation disaster in 1977 in Tenerife caused by a runway incursion lots of thought and innovation has been put into systems to avoid 2 aircraft being on the same runway at the same time.

Ground Movement Radars, Enhanced Surface Markings Project. There is currently a new project to develop a lighting system that will light the runway red should a runway incursion beome a possibility so the pilot will at least ask the control tower 'should i really be taking off?'.

At Chicago O'Hare they have some systems to help controllers detect incursions but on the day in question the most important one was not working and even so experts have said it would not have prevented a collision in this incident. Unfortunately you can never stop human error with all the systems in the world. A disaster was only prevented by the pilot rotating the B737 earlier than normal to avoid colliding with the aircraft that had just landed and was basically on the runway in front of him. They missed eachother by 35ft. (equivalent to 5 tallboys).

The most surprising thing about the video of this incident is the real voice recording of the pilot. I would have imagined his heart was in his mouth , but instead he casually replies to the screaming controllers "STOP STOP STOP!" with a cool as you like "don’t worry we got him".


Glynn said...

Hats off to the air traffic controllers. You guys are very clever.

Polarbear said...

very stupid more like