- Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2023 15:23
Regulators refocus on alerts that are often unused or still under development, as pilots try to avoid close calls
An Airbus system warns pilots with a screen alert that a runway is too short. PHOTO: AIRBUS
Technology to alert pilots of potential runway crashes is widely available. Audible warnings and text alerts to help avert catastrophe on the tarmac are often standard features on new aircraft.
In many cases those features aren’t turned on.
Regulators have been reluctant to require their use. Some pilot groups have pushed for airlines to adopt such features, but carriers have had doubts about their safety benefits and costs.
“There are solutions right now,” Capt. Steve Jangelis, a top union official in the Air Line Pilots Association, said at a runway-safety forum earlier this year.
The U.S. hasn’t had a major fatal passenger airline crash in 14 years, but runway-safety alerts for pilots are getting renewed attention after a spate of serious close calls at American airports. Industry officials have debated whether inexperienced or fatigued pilots are a factor, or distraction among short-staffed air-traffic controllers.
U.S. air-safety and some industry officials are weighing whether to add more cockpit protections as pilot and air-traffic controller workforces navigate a surge in postpandemic flying, while airlines ramp up reminders to pilots about existing procedures.
Excerpt from WSJ
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