Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NTSB investigating two runway incursions at Teterboro Airport

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation into two recent runway incursion incidents at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport (TEB). The first of the two incidents occurred on June 25, 2008, when a JetRide Learjet 45 flew over two airport workers at a height of 150 ft. and landed on a closed runway. The second incident occurred on July 9, 2008, when a Cessna 172 taxied across the hold line for a runway on which a Falcon 200 had just been cleared for take-off. No one was injured in either incident.

Here are details of the Learjet incident, from the NTSB Preliminary Incident Report (re-paragraphed for easier reading):
On June 25, 2008, at 5:34 am eastern daylight time, a runway incursion occurred at Teterboro Airport (TEB), Teterboro, New Jersey involving Windrider (WDR) flight 988, a Learjet 45, occurred during the midnight shift when there was one controller scheduled to be in the tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported that runway 1/19 had been closed by Airport Operations and confirmed by the controller. The controller placed two runway incursion devices (RID) at the local control position but did not inform approach control of the closure.

A lighted X had been placed on the runway at the departure end of runway 19.

The approach controller called the tower controller 27 minutes later to request a visual approach to runway 19 for WDR988. The tower controller approved the request. On the initial transmission, the tower controller cleared WDR988 to land on runway 19.

The airplane flew over two employees who were working north of the displaced threshold of runway 19, between taxiways L/A and B and landed on the runway. The displaced threshold is 770 feet from the approach end of runway 19. Closest estimated proximity was 150 feet vertical.

The controller was working the local control position for 7 hours and 21 minutes when the incident occurred. At the time of the incident it was daylight, the wind was calm, sky clear, with 10 statute miles visibility.

The initial review of data indicated that the controller sounded engaged and alert in his communications with aircraft and vehicles operating on the airfield. The controller was scheduled to work the midnight shifts each night from June 23 through June 26. The week before this event, the controller worked evening shifts (3:00 pm to 11:00 pm). The controller's statement reads in its entirety, "While performing required non-control duties WDR 988 landed on runway 19".

The automatic terminal information service (ATIS) information H did not mention the closed runway. [NTSB ID: OPS08IA009]
Here is what the NTSB had to say in a news release about the Cessna/Falcon incident:
On July 9, 2008, at 10:10 a.m. (EDT), a Cessna 172 (N316AS) and, a Dassault Falcon 200 (N277QS) were also involved in a runway incursion at Teterboro Airport.

The Cessna landed on runway 19 and requested a back taxi to the approach end of runway 19 for departure. The ground controller instructed the pilot to taxi to runway 19 via taxiway L and to hold short of runway 19. However, the pilot was not instructed to hold short of runway 24, which intersected runway 19.

The airplane had crossed the hold line for runway 24 but not over the runway edge when the tower controller cleared the Falcon for takeoff on runway 24. The tower cancelled the Falcon's clearance once it was determined that the Cessna was across the runway hold line. The FAA reported the two airplanes were 1,200 feet apart.

The incident occurred during the day shift with a front line manager and two air traffic control specialists on position.
Here are the NTSB Preliminary Incident reports about the second incident: NTSB ID: OPS08IA010A; NTSB ID: OPS08IA010B

NTSB Air Traffic Control Investigator Daniel Bartlett has been designated Investigator-in-charge for both incidents.