Nov 28, 2018

An FAA-produced video series aims to ensure pilots understand the unique runway safety challenges that exist at several general aviation airports. One recent video focuses on three issues at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) in California’s San Francisco Bay area: atypical hold markings, wrong surface landings and movement area authorization.

“The biggest difference between HWD and other airports is the atypical location of HWD’s runway holding position markings for Runway 28L on Taxiways A1 and Z1,” said Doug McNeeley, airport manager at Hayward. “The markings are located on the parallel taxiways several hundred feet before the end of the runway and can easily be missed if pilots expect to see them closer to a normal runway.”

“Almost half of all incursions at HWD are the result of this expectation bias,” explained Joe Santoro, runway safety program manager for the FAA’s Western Pacific region. “This trend is not unique to HWD, and has been identified as a causal factor for a number of incursions at other airports as well.”

At Hayward, pilots also are at risk of wrong-surface landings. When landing to the east, pilots may anticipate landing on Runway 10L because it is closer to the ramp or they have landed there before, even though they have been instructed to land on 10R. When landing to the west, pilots cleared to land on 28R may be tempted to use 28L, which is more prominent.

Pilots should also be aware of short distances between non-movement areas and runways, which create situations in which aircraft exit runways or vehicles enter movement areas without contacting air traffic control.

“Since the video was released, we have seen an overall decrease of 40 percent in runway incursions at HWD, including a significant decrease in vehicle/pedestrian deviations; however, pilots need to continue to be vigilant to avoid wrong surface landings,” McNeeley said.

“Pilots are encouraged to review the video and the associated materials, to pay close attention to ATC instructions to prevent expectation bias and to maintain situational awareness while taxiing to avoid making a potentially dangerous mistake,” Santoro concluded.