March 23, 2007
FAA Runway Safety Action “Promising” Step Forward
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The following statement was issued by Capt. Terry McVenes, Executive Air Safety Chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, at the conclusion of a news conference held today by Administrator Marion C. Blakey, to announce plans to allow broader use of moving map displays with “own ship” position.
“Today’s FAA announcement is a significant step forward in leveraging technology to make our nation’s runways as safe as possible. ALPA applauds Administrator Blakey’s pledge to develop streamlined guidance to allow broader use of Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) employing airport electronic map displays with ‘own ship’ position.
“Just like the GPS systems found in many cars, an electronic map display with ‘own ship’ position will give pilots the best information possible about their airplane’s location on runways or taxiways. Construction, traffic congestion, and weather all combine to make today’s airport environment increasingly complex. An electronic map display will give pilots accurate location information right in the cockpit.
“ALPA has long advocated the use of this technology to enhance flight crews’ situational awareness when operating in the often-complex ground environment at many airports around the world. Recently, ALPA co-hosted an industry-government meeting at which there was general consensus of the significant safety benefit brought to airline operations by the use of Electronic Flight Bags with own-ship position. The meeting resulted in a letter sent to FAA by ALPA calling for action on this issue.
“The Administrator’s remarks clearly reflect the value of EFB as part of a multi-layered approach to addressing the hazard of runway incursions. Combined with other proven solutions, such as enhanced surface markings, improved signage, runway status lighting and the “industry best practices” our crews have begun using for taxi operations, the EFB with own-ship position represents valuable additional information for crews to enhance safety awareness in the ground operating environment.
“FAA’s proactive use of the recent studies on the way flight crews react to these displays and use them to improve safety in ground operations is encouraging. Use of such a data-driven approach to streamline the implementation of this technology confirms the value of employing sound human performance analysis in decisions to develop and employ emerging safety technology.
“The fact that the FAA’s plan will allow deployment of this technology at a significantly reduced cost represents a win-win situation for airlines and flight crews, and most of all, the traveling public.
“We appreciate FAA’s recognition of the contribution that ALPA has made. We look forward to continuing this successful partnership and working with both FAA and our airlines to develop the processes necessary to get EFB with own-ship display safely in cockpits in the minimum amount of time.
“While today’s announcement is a promising development, work remains to be done to safeguard the passengers, crew, and cargo on our nation’s runways.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703-481-4440