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Civil aviation authorities and airports in several parts of the world have implemented discrete radio frequencies and practical procedures to enhance communication between pilots and aircraft rescue and fire fighting incident commanders. Enhanced communication prevents unwarranted aircraft evacuations, which often result in injuries to exiting passengers and aircraft crewmembers.
Strictly limiting access of ground vehicles and ensuring that all drivers are authorized and qualified to operate on airport movement areas can enhance safety. Updating policies, procedures and training; using simulation technology; and identifying ‘hot spots’ also are believed to be effective.
Methods of Preventing Runway Collisions Evolve in Europe and the United States 12 pages. [PDF 73K]
Definitions of runway incursions and estimates of aircraft-collision risks at airports vary among air traffic management authorities in Europe and in the United States. Sharing lessons learned from experience with airport surface-movement procedures, technologies, training, incident-data analysis and airport signage and marking could have international safety benefits.
Effects of Napping on ATC Night-shift Performance 16 pages. [PDF 88K]
An experimental study of the effects of planned napping by U.S. air traffic controllers during simulated work on a night shift found significant benefits, including enhanced ability to complete tasks and greater vigilance. Whether they had a 45-minute nap or a 120-minute nap, however, all controllers found arising from sleep moderately difficult and reported low-to-moderate feelings of being rested.
International Civil Aviation Organization procedures for declaring mayday or pan pan eliminate ambiguity about an aircraft in distress or an aircraft in an urgency condition, respectively. Declaring an emergency generates maximum assistance from air traffic controllers worldwide, but delay in declaring an emergency may create confusion or narrow the pilot’s options.
Investigations of recent bird-strike accidents at airports in the United Kingdom and in the United States have resulted in several recommendations for reducing the risk of bird strikes to aircraft. The recommendations include studying the use of radar to detect bird activity near airports.