As an aircraft mechanic, if you taxi or tow an aircraft or drive a vehicle across a runway, including inactive or closed runways, you need to be aware of a runway crossing procedure change. This new runway crossing procedure takes affect June 30, 2010. This important procedure has been put in place to help reduce runway incursions.
A runway incursion as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) means "any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft."
According to the FAA Runway Safety Statistics, in 2009 there were 951 reported runway incursions. There have been 673 incursions reported as of June 2010.
The most infamous runway incursion happened in 1977 when two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. In this tragedy, 538 people lost their lives in what remains the deadliest accident in aviation history.
According to the FAA the new procedure is as follows:
New Runway Crossing Procedure
Notice Number: NOTC2372
Runway Crossing Procedure Change
• Beginning June 30, 2010, controllers will be required to issue explicit instructions to cross or hold short of each runway that intersects a taxi route.
• "Taxi to" will no longer be used when issuing taxi instructions to an assigned take-off runway.
• Instructions to cross a runway will be issued one at a time. Instructions to cross multiple runways will not be issued.
• An aircraft or vehicle must have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing is issued.
• This applies to any runway, including inactive or closed runways.
Never cross a hold line without explicit ATC instructions. If in doubt ASK!
Reminder: You may not enter a runway unless you have been:
• instructed to cross that specific runway,
• cleared to take off from that runway, or
• instructed to position and hold on that specific runway.
To see a video of the change click here.
To read the Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions click here.
For additional information regarding runway safety click here.
Let's be careful out there.