Aviation Safety: Near-Miss Spikes!

Authorities are very concerned about the spike in near-miss incidents and mishaps at US airports.

On Aviation™
4 min readNov 14, 2023
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Authorities are very concerned about the spike in near-miss incidents and mishaps at US airports.

Why is this important: Recently there has been a very noticeable increase in the number of near-misses (runway incursions, and mishaps) at US airports. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are very concerned, and in our view, these concerns are justified.

Continue reading to learn more about what’s going on with the spike in near-misses, what the authorities have to say, and ways in which these incidents could be reduced.

US sees surge in ‘close calls’ with planes at airports, raising aviation safety concerns

The nation’s top accident investigator said Thursday that a surge in close calls between planes at U.S. airports this year is a “clear warning sign” that the aviation system is under stress.

“While these events are incredibly rare, our safety system is showing clear signs of strain that we cannot ignore,” Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told a Senate panel on Thursday.

Homendy warned that air traffic and staffing shortages have surged since the pandemic. She said there has been a “lack of meaningful” training — and more reliance on computer-based instruction — by the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines. She said technology improvements could help avoid what aviation insiders call “runway incursions.”

By Fox News

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NTSB chair says US near-miss aviation incidents ‘clear warning sign’

Nov 8 (Reuters) — An increase in serious near-miss aviation incidents is a “clear warning sign that the U.S. aviation system is sharply strained,” National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy will tell a U.S. Senate panel on Thursday.

Homendy, who will testify at a Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee hearing with the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation unions, will tell senators in testimony seen by Reuters that the aviation system has a lack of sufficient technology to prevent runway incursions.

The hearing comes as Congress, airlines and regulators grapple with an increase in serious aviation close calls and look for ways to reduce them.

“We cannot ignore or avoid the warning signs of strain from all these recent events,” Homendy’s written testimony says calling for “more technology for runway and cockpit alerting… We cannot wait until a fatal accident forces action.”

By David Shepardson | Reuters

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Why more aviation accidents happen on the runway than in the air

It’s probably the least memorable part of a holiday. The plane is on the runway. You’re about to take off, squashing a bag under the seat in front, perusing the menu. Or the plane has just landed and you’re desperate to start your trip. These are moments travellers forget — unless, that is, something unexpected happens.

This is where passengers found themselves after a runway incident at Stansted last month. A Ryanair plane, travelling from Luxembourg, collided with a ground vehicle as it was taxiing to the gate. Footage shows the ambulift — a mobility assistance device used by disabled passengers — approaching the plane, before stopping and attempting to reverse.

The action is evidently misjudged. The top of the vehicle is clipped by the aeroplane’s wing, seemingly resulting in damage to the aircraft.

By Sophie Dickinson | The Telegraph

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What Are Sterile Cockpits & Why Are They Important For Aviation Safety?

While the word “sterile” has several meanings depending upon the context in which it is being used, it implies concentration when paired with the word cockpit. Even for a person who is not an aviator, it is easy to understand that mistakes are more likely to occur when a pilot is not focused solely on his job.

Unlike a carpenter who might have made a wrong cut, an error by a pilot can put dozens of people’s lives at risk. Up until the FAA and EASA published rules relating to a sterile cockpit, there had been numerous incidents when pilots failed to set the flaps correctly or forgot to lower the landing gear. Add to this the failure to monitor instruments accurately during an approach, and you can easily understand how not being focused on the job could be deadly.

By Mark Finlay | Simple Flying

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Thank you for reading this week’s On Aviation™ digest. What are some of your concerns with the recent surge in near-misses at airports? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Remember to check out our On Aviation™ Podcast and continue the conversation on our Twitter and Instagram.

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