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US airports now have software to prevent aircraft from landing on taxiways by mistake

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Pilots have to worry about more than just mid-flight crashes and bad weather — they also risk a collision if they land on the taxiway instead of the runway. Thankfully, they have now have a digital safeguard. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tells Axios that 43 major US airports are now using ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction (ATAP), a software platform that warns air traffic controllers if an aircraft is lining up to land on a taxiway by mistake. An aviator shouldn't endanger… (www.engadget.com) More...

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rndsm1
Brent Vegors 16
Every tool deployed to minimize Pilot/ATC stressors during critical phases is a plus. The more safety features built into aircraft/airports strengthens the safety net and that can't ever be a bad thing. It may seem "basic" to many but trying to land, especially with far less than ideal conditions, requires a lot of sensory demand. Imagine two active parallel runways, with an empty taxiway running parallel, coming out of a low ceiling while being at the end of longer trip. Anything to minimize an error is good. Add general aviation, newer pilots, and a rapid sequence landing; higher chance of an error. You are not at street level, where everything appears the same, but coming in to something which gradually becomes larger the closer you get & with a high rate of speed.
Bursk
Randall Bursk 5
Low visibility procedures in effect. Airline crews and ATC have more restrictions for qualification of pilots, aircraft, airports, etc. Briefing completed for destination prior to TOD. Includes weather, visibility restrictions, notams, runways in use, exit taxiway, review taxi route to gate. As mentioned by other comments, examples of excellent taxi aids, London HEATHROW, MUNICH, FRANKFURT, clear of runway-iPad shows live position on taxi diagram. Green centerline lights on pavement, red bar stop lights when necessary. If a crew of 3 pilots. Back seat pilot who sees and hears everything, backing us up. Fly as we train, train as we fly. Good flights.
rsackett
Richard Sackett 19
UNTIL YOU GET IN A COCKPIT ON A MOONLESS NIGHT WITH LOW VISIBILITY MOVING AT 100+ MILES PER HOUR AND THOUSANDS OF CITY LIGHTS OF ALL COLORS - YOU WILL NOT EXPERIENCE THE ANXIETY OF LANDING AT A MULTI-RUNWAY AIRPORT. BE THANKFUL THAT THERE ARE SAFETY FEATURES, NO MATTER HOW MANY,TO PROTECT YOU IN THE BACK OF THE PLANE OR ON THE GROUND. AN ACCIDENT CANNOT BE REVERSED, ONLY PREVENTED.
snow
James Cox 13
We always load up the instrument approach for the intended runway regardless of weather conditions, that make it hard to land on the wrong spot if you actually follow your course guideance.
Allensalem
allen Salem 4
So many aviation issues lately. I am not even a frequent traveler, but oh my the number of times we’ve had to pull up on landing and go round .AI will eventually replace everything but I’m afraid we’re gonna have some real problems before that happens
srobak
srobak 9
I remember back in the day we didn't need "software" to do this... we had pilots who practiced good airmanship and took pride in their vigilance in maintaining their knowledge and skills pertaining to their craft. Man - what a time that was.

Save of course for the occasional senile old coot who should have had his ticket pulled years ago, but of course after a lengthy & quality career at the stick.
CloudCraft
Keith Gordon 9
In the previous millennium we would tune in the ILS (really primitive: had to turn knobs on a receiver and twist another knob on something called an HSI or CDI) to assure alignment with a runway. Now, we have guidance to every runway threshold in the NAS via our FMSs. Hey. Wait a minute ...!
crchall
Chuck Chall 9
That just doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling about our pilot training. Inventing an electronic CYA device seems like it is diverting attention from finding the runway in the first place. No big deal, the electronics will warn us.
srobak
srobak 6
that is both incredibly frightening and quite sad at the same time.
mattwestuk
Matt West 9
I'm sure I am oversimplifying this...but isn't this analogous of needing software in a car to make sure you don't drive on a sidewalk?

I'm not a seasoned pilot for sure, but I usually don't find myself having an issue in identifying a runway from a taxiway. Those big 'ol numbers tend to give it away.
jbsimms
James Simms 9
Just ask the pilots of the three United Airlines & the one Philippine Airlines aircraft @ SFO on 8 July 2017 if they think it’s necessary after Air Canada 759 almost landed on them the night before?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Canada_Flight_759
mattwestuk
Matt West 5
Heck, sometimes even our most experienced pilots can’t even land at the correct airport!

https://www.flyingmag.com/news-cause-c-17-landing-too-small-airport-revealed/
jbsimms
James Simms 2
On November 20, 2013, at approximately 9:30 pm CST, a Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter with registration N780BA and operated by Atlas Air, mistakenly landed at the Colonel James Jabara Airport (6,100 feet), which was on the same heading as its destination, McConnell Air Force Base. After landing at McConnell, the plane was to taxi over to nearby Spirit AeroSystems, and pick up some fuselage parts for the assembly of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in Everett, Washington. The plane successfully took off at 1:15 pm CST on November 21 and landed at nearby McConnell AFB. The NTSB opened an investigation about the wrong landing.
jbsimms
James Simms -1
On November 20, 2013, at approximately 9:30 pm CST, a Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter with registration N780BA and operated by Atlas Air, mistakenly landed at the Colonel James Jabara Airport, which was on the same heading as its destination, McConnell Air Force Base. After landing at McConnell, the plane was to taxi over to nearby Spirit AeroSystems, and pick up some fuselage parts for the assembly of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in Everett, Washington. The plane successfully took off at 1:15 pm CST on November 21 and landed at nearby McConnell AFB. The NTSB opened an investigation about the wrong landing.
mbrews
mbrews 2
About the Air Canada nearly landing on SFO taxiway - per the incident report, there WAS NOT sufficient warning that runway 28 Left had been closed for MX at midnight. The planned runway closure may have been buried midway in the NOTAMs to the pilots, but it clearly didn’t get their attention. Other pilots on tower frequency saw the incoming a/c and saved the day.
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 6
This technology seems more analogous to putting sensors and software on a highway sign to alert police to a wrong-way driver. As James Simms points out, it would’ve been useful when Air Canada nearly landed on an occupied taxiway at SFO.
mattwestuk
Matt West 6
Wrong way would be someone landing on 35 instead of 17.

They’re not landing and heading toward another aircraft with these taxiway incidents, though that does happen. They’re landing on the wrong “road”.

In bad whether the IFR instrumentation should prevent it. In VFR, the visual markings, lighting, etc. should prevent it.

Landing on a taxiway is poor airmanship, especially in todays highly automated, gps accurate aircraft. Even my Garmin GPS is accurate within 50 feet, and that’s on a small 172.
bentwing60
bentwing60 5
Isn't that what the different colored lights are for? At night, obviously, so I guess when they do it in daylight they had memorized DEFPOTEC but couldn't see it. /s
jbsimms
James Simms 4
As an older but still alert driver, it’s nice having some of the bells & whistles on my ‘19 Santa Fe; especially the backup camera, vehicle alert while backing, blind side warning, Bluetooth, etc... Took some getting use to as My previous vehicle I still have an ‘01 Dodge Ram w/out all of that

What I failed to mention in my previous post (one wish is FA would put in an edit feature) is I’m sure the passengers would think it’s needed when they found out how close they were to being involved in a major disaster.
CathyDrzyzgula
CathyDrzyzgula 5
It's like rumble strips at the edge of a highway
dcmeigs
dcmeigs 2
Do you fly at night?
stansdds
Harrison Ford approved? :-D
jbsimms
James Simms 3
First person I thought of when someone commented ‘Old Coots’ elsewhere.
williamscottrobertson
We’ve had this in Cirrus aircraft since the introduction of Nxi in 2016. Longer we’ve had ESP, takeoff configuration monitoring, crew monitoring, ect.
williamableman
William Ableman 2
Harrison Ford ALOTS... Harrison Ford Anti-Landing On Taxiway Software.
wannabehocker
wannabehocker 3
So entirely different paint schemes and lighting (for nighttime) wasn't enough. That's a scary thought about the quality of pilots in this country. There are many things in aviation that can easily be mistaken because of workload or fatigue. There is no justification for this kind of mess up.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle 3
Do they call it the "Ford System"?
tnbriggs
Terry Briggs 3
Isn't this just another excuse to have less than fully competent pilots in the air? All this software just dilutes and erodes piloting skills and creates a false sense of safety. And what happens when the software fails, as it will? If Asiana 214, Air France 447 and similar accidents had competent pilots they never would have happened.
plocher
John Plocher 6
Humans, even the absolute best, make mistakes. When they do, it is good to have systems that keep that mistake from killing people.

Railings on stairs and balconies, seatbelts, fences around dangerous areas…. Fully competent people shouldn’t need them, they just erode living skills, right?
srobak
srobak 1
backup cameras and obstacle sensors as well... nice add-ons to have, but people have become so reliant and dependent upon them that they now don't even bother to turn their heads, check mirrors, look out all the windows, etc. Too much aid kills competency. Those competency losses have already cost lives. It was the #1 contributor to the SFO crash some years back.
blackstock
As for the subject of this Squawk, while I've not seen it in use, I would assume when a controller gets an ATAP notification, they use the phraseology of 'appears'.

Bluestar 356, it 'appears' you are aligned with taxiway Delta.

The controller has no way of knowing the pilot's intentions (they may have planned an off-angle approach), thus it's just one more safety warning among many layers.

What it is not, is an excuse for being a less than competent pilot. But, under your plan I shall request they remove TAWS software also since it gives a false sense of safety.

Software does fail, that is why these are tools to aid in flight safety. They work in layers and TAWS, for example, does not replace knowing minimum vectoring altitudes, for it is a backup system to other navigation sources. Or put another way, it integrates and presents data is a different view.

Competency is knowing how these tools work together in a way to improve flight safety and also where their weaknesses are. They are not free passes to sloppy airmanship.
srobak
srobak 5
Yeup. As we continue to lower the bars for qualifications and proficiencies in all walks of life (often under the guise of equity or some other such nonsense) - we have to make up for the inadequacies somehow. It really should be the other way around.
raleedy
ALLAN LEEDY 2
Evidently if you’re not actually landing on top of a departing aircraft, you’re probably in the wrong place.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
It is amazing that a tool like this would be needed... I mean really, if you are color blind you don't land, at night Runways are illuminated White and Taxi Ways are Blue Lights... Approach lighting is pretty obvious... I cannot understand why something like this even happens.
Chancellry6
Steven Chaney 6
Not amazing at all. The idea is to move from happens less than one flight per million to never happens. Why are you against avoiding airplane crashes?
srobak
srobak 6
I doubt he is as much against avoiding them nearly as much as he is in ensuring competency and proficiency behind the stick - which has been inarguably on the downslide for some time.
rbordiway
rick ordiway 2
thank you.
srobak
srobak 1
I remember back in the day we didn't need "software" to do this... we had pilots who practiced good airmanship and took pride in their vigilance in maintaining their knowledge and skills pertaining to their craft. Man - what a time that was.

Save of course for the occasional senile old coot who should have had his ticket pulled years ago, but of course after a lengthy & quality career at the stick.
williamableman
William Ableman 1
My goodness... Years ago... I had flown plenty of ILS Approaches down to minimums in low visibility, like fog, and had no problems telling the difference between the runway and taxiway. If you can't tell the difference, you shouldn't be in the Pilot's seat.

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