FAA issues safety alert after series of close calls at US airports, including Logan

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a safety alert after a series of close calls at airports across the country, including two at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Last week the FAA held a “safety summit”, the first of its kind in four years, in an attempt to diagnose the cause of the rash of issues.

Earlier this month, a “close call” between JetBlue and Learjet flights at Logan Airport forced one pilot to take “evasive action” to avoid a potential collision.’

A preliminary investigation indicated that the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway around 7 p.m. on February 27, according to an FAA spokesperson.

The safety alert is an attempt to reinforce proper safety measures for airline workers and pilots.

The FAA is urging the following actions:

  • Ensure pilots and flight attendants have the same understanding of what “sterile flight deck” means and the risks associated with extraneous communication during this time.

  • Emphasize importance of awareness of the aircraft in relation to taxiways, runways and other aircraft. This includes reviewing the following previously published SAFOs:

    • 17012, High Collision Risk During Runway Crossing

    • 11004, Runway Incursion Prevention Actions

    • 08001, Flight crew techniques and procedures to enhance taxi, pre-takeoff, and after landing safety to reduce the risk of runway incursions

  • Encourage personnel to identify and report existing and emerging safety issues through voluntary reporting programs and understand the usefulness of voluntary reporting systems for the operation in which you are engaged.

  • Reinforce adherence to published processes and procedures, including checklists, Air Traffic Control instructions, and internal company procedures.

  • Ensure Safety Management Systems are accounting for the high rate of change and churn in industry.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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