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Runway Incursions are a Growing Hazard for Controllers, Pilots and Passengers - (2/1/1999)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Air Traffic Controllers Association stands beside a recent MITRE survey that runway incursions are on the rise and do pose a threat to the flying public.

The survey results, issued in September 1998 to the Federal Aviation Administration, polled over 1,000 controllers about causes and prevention of runway incursions. Results were staggering. Since 1993, runway incidents increased dramatically by 70 percent.

The study shows that the FAA neglected to make the necessary improvements that would prevent runway mishaps. In fact, no new incursion devices have been installed for over 40 years.

"The FAA needs to give us the proper tools and technology if we are to be able to do our jobs effectively," says NATCA's Executive Vice President Randy Schwitz. "Modernization is one of our key issues and right now binoculars are the only "advanced" equipment our tower controllers have."

Some of the solutions presented by controllers included improvements to airport signs and markings on the runway. New technology was also recommended to help controllers and pilots during surface operations. Controllers admit surface operations are generally the most difficult, given the fact that air travel is on the rise.

The MITRE Corporation's Center for Advanced Aviation System Development conducted this survey for the FAA as a supplement to an earlier survey on runway incursions from the pilot's perspective. David R. Kelley and Gretchen J. Jacobs completed the study. This news release is in reference to the 1/27/99 article in the 1/27/99 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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