The long-awaited report on the October 2001 runway collision at Milan Linate airport in Italy that killed 188 people has pointed to the value of Honeywell's new Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS).

The report has confirmed that human error and inadequate airport procedures led to the runway collision, although thick fog was a contributing factor.

On 8 October 2001, a Scandinavian SAS Boeing MD-87 was taking off on a flight to Copenhagen with 110 people on board when a Cessna Citation business jet crossed its path.


After the collision, the jetliner careered into a baggage-handling hangar, killing four people inside.

The 182-page report says the pilot of the Cessna bore the main responsibility for Italy's worst civil aviation disaster, but it also highlights grossly inadequate airport procedures, poor runway layout and communication between air traffic controllers and the pilots.

The inquiry also found that runway signs, markings and lights were confusing, and that there was no alarm system to warn that the Cessna had strayed onto the runway.

"The Cessna was instructed to follow a path with no adequate signs and markings to allow the path's identification," it says.

For these reasons, Honeywell's RAAS system could make a difference.

Honeywell (Stand A712) recently obtained US Federal Aviation Administration certification for RAAS, which uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to determine an aircraft's location while taxiing and preparing for take-off. The system can provide up to 10 automated advisory messages to pilots.


These aural advisories are triggered when an aircraft is approaching a runway, either on the ground or in the air; when an aircraft has entered and is aligned with a runway; when the runway is not long enough for the particular aircraft; when the pilot inadvertently begins to take off from a taxiway; and when an aircraft has been immobile on a runway for an extended period.

Honeywell hopes that RAAS will be a welcome addition to ground-based aircraft safety systems, just as the company's TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System) and EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) have proved to be in the air.

"Honeywell has done extensive human factors studies of past incidents and has worked with numerous aircraft operators and industry groups," says Honeywell Air Transport Systems president Frank Daly.

"As a result, we are confident that RAAS will help save lives by improving pilots' position awareness in ways that have been shown to address the most significant causes of airport surface accidents."

RAAS is an add-on to Honeywell's Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), which is deployed on more than 20,000 aircraft and can be added with no new hardware or wiring.

The product is currently available for Honeywell Mk 5 and Mk 7 EGPWS, which are typically installed in commercial, regional and large business jets.


Source: Flight Daily News