Entries in Aviation (3)


GAO: FAA Needs to Act to Improve Aviation Safety

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of runway incidents and controller errors are up at the nation’s airports, and the Federal Aviation Administration should do more to improve safety, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.  
The GAO says, although the FAA has met some of its goals in reducing runway incursions (where planes and vehicles get too close), the overall trend is on the upswing. In 2004 there were 11 incursions per million operations, and by 2010 that rate increased to 18 incursions per million operations (70 percent of the most serious incursions involve general aviation planes, not commercial jets).
Controller errors are up too -- errors involving close calls in the air nearly doubled from the first three months of 2008 to the same period in 2011.
The GAO says it’s hard to know if these are actual increases, or changes due to new and better reporting requirements. They say that’s part of the problem -- that the FAA can’t be sure if safety is getting worse, or not.
So what should the agency do? According to the GAO, the FAA needs to expand the incidents it keeps track of -- to include runway overruns, and mishaps in the ramp area. The FAA should also categorize all incidents according to how risky they were. The FAA does this now with some types of mishaps, but not all. The GAO also says the FAA needs to a better job sharing information about incidents.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Aviation Experts Worry About Aircraft Mishaps on the Ground

John Foxx/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- With Thursday's collision of two commercial passenger aircraft on a runway at Boston's Logan International Airport in which the wing tip of a jumbo jet was sliced apart and the tail of the regional plane was badly mangled, aviation experts worry about the potential dangers that lurk on the runways of the nation's busiest airports.

Three months ago at New York's JFK airport, the wing of a giant Airbus clipped the tail of a regional jet, causing the smaller aircraft to spin like a top.

Ground mishaps are a major safety fret, and the Federal Aviation Administration has forced airports to improve the markings on runways and taxiways to help pilots stay on track. Although the FAA said serious runway incidents dropped 90 percent in the past decade, any close call can become potentially catastrophic.

In 2010, there were more than 900 runway incursions, which occur when planes get too close. Six were considered of the most serious type -- down from 12 in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pilot Killed During Air Show in Florida

WFTV-TV(BUNNELL, Fla.) -- A Tennessee pilot is dead after his plane burst into flames and spiraled to the ground during an air show in Florida on Saturday.

William E. Walker, 58, lost control of his YAK-52 Russian military plane during formation around 4:30 p.m. at the Flagler County air show, and was killed instantly when the plane went crashing down in front of a crowd of people.

No one else was injured in the crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Organizers canceled the remainder of the show on Saturday as FHP officials continued to look into the circumstances of the incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the cause of the crash and have released no other details.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio