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Author Topic: NTSB Replies to SMAAC  (Read 1854 times)
Forum Manager
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Posts: 51

« on: March 01, 2014, 09:01:04 PM »
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SMAAC received a message from an NTSB investigator after writing the NTSB:

The safety recommendation in the Jly 1, 2013 letter asked the FAA to provide protection from conflicts between aircraft using runways that do not physically touch but have flight paths that intersect.  Looking at the MSP layout, that would be applicable during several permutations of runways in use.  Consequently,the FAA (should) be applying the recommendation to operations at MSP.

SMAAC wrote the NTSB after checking with the MAC and the MSP Air Traffic Control Tower several times about the NTSB letter, given that one of the problematic runway diagrams in the letter seemed to be the MSP runway layout (less R4-22).  SMAAC reported to the NTSB that MAC staff denied any problem at MSP but would not provide any statistics on aborted landings using R35 or at MSP generally.  FAA information is available as raw runway use data and consolidated by quarter, making it difficult to count R35 go-arounds.

On March 2, the Air Traffic Control investigator wrote that NTSB is "working on it. Your overall assessment is correct ...  if MSP is to comply with the FAA's recent change in separation requirements, they will have to develop a reliable method of deconflicting (sic) converging operations. There are various ways of accomplishing that ...  NTSB has no regulatory authority and cannot require the FAA to follow a particular path, we do have a strong interest in ensuring that safety issues are resolved.'

SMAAC proposed a reduction in scheduled flights by FAA at peak hours and a MAC policy change to stop adding facilities used principally to support the connecting operations.  Federal law provides a mechanism, CFR14, Part 161, for local limitations of airline operations due to the airport site size and locale. In simple terms, the safe capacity of MSP is limited by the comparably small area dedicated to the airport, the runway layout, the prevailing winds, and, most importantly, the difficulty, or impossibility, of maintaining safe flight separations with less than 90 seconds intervals between runway operations in westerly flow.

To an extent, the MSP problem could be solved by more automated flights, but there is a disconnect between PBN routes and overall U.S. development and deployment of Next Gen systems. 

« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 08:37:26 AM by Forum Manager » Logged
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