NTSB urges FAA action on runway safety

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FAA has received a notice from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the agency has not

responded acceptably to runway safety recommendations issued after the August 27, 2006 fatal crash of a Comair Bombardier CRJ at Lexington, Kentucky.

The crash occurred when pilots took off from the wrong runway, which was too short to allow the aircraft to develop adequate speed for takeoff.

NTSB now says that the FAA has taken too long to issue regulations requiring "all crewmembers on the fight deck to positively confirm and cross-check the airplane's location at the assigned departure runway before crossing the hold-short line for takeoff."

It adds that an FAA directive issued in July 2007 requiring air-traffic controllers to state the takeoff runway, but not prohibiting controllers from issuing takeoff clearance before intervening runways have been crossed is not adequate. The NTSB states, "The point of this recommendation is to delay issuing any takeoff clearance until the airplane has crossed all intervening runways. Simply restating the runway, as the notice directs, is therefore not responsive."

The safety board notes FAA convened a runway safety summit in August 2007, and later performed surveys on airline safety practices, but has not informed NTSB of its results.

NTSB also says it is time for FAA to mandate that moving map technology be installed in cockpits, despite the FAA's concern that the technological infrastructure is not yet in place. The board also said it is waiting for the agency to convene a working group to review its recommendations on air-traffic controller workloads and procedures.