PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A March 2019 crash touchdown in Presque Isle was not the primary time snow affected a aircraft’s means to land.
An Embraer plane overran a Cleveland runway in 2007 when it tried to land in poor visibility and snowfall. One of many touchdown devices was not functioning and a snow squall made the runway invisible to the pilot, reported the Aviation Herald.
The newest incident in Presque Isle occurred March 4, 2019, when a CommutAir Embraer plane aborted its first touchdown as a result of snow, and missed the runway on its second try. The aircraft touched all the way down to the best of the runway and bounced, skidding right into a snow-covered area.
Although the Nationwide Transportation Security Board cited pilot error in its remaining report on the missed touchdown at Presque Isle, it additionally detailed how snow precipitated touchdown devices to misinterpret the plane’s place.
The Federal Aviation Administration has detailed security tips. However since snow can have an effect on instrument touchdown methods, the company has revised a few of these procedures to assist pilots, air visitors controllers and airport operators information planes to security throughout storms.
Final fall the company known as for extra frequent reporting of runway and climate circumstances, noting that many airports shut when a storm is imminent. It additionally urged extra frequent snow elimination to maintain runways as shut to reveal as potential.
“Following this accident, the FAA issued further steering to guarantee the standard of the localizer’s radiated sign throughout actions comparable to snow elimination,” company officers stated Thursday.
Snow can change the floor space of a runway sufficient to have an effect on the alerts of the localizer and glidescope, devices that present pilots the place the runway is, the FAA stated in its Airport Discipline Situation Assessments and Winter Operations Security plan.
New security protocols advise airport operators to report runway floor circumstances and embody the depth of snow, ice or slush. The studies must be issued extra incessantly, even when circumstances haven’t modified for a time frame, to verify pilots have probably the most up-to-date studies of climate and snow elimination efforts.
“After snow accumulation of two toes, the FAA system specialist wants to start out observing the situation of the localizer sign,” the revisions stated.
Airport operators must also maintain detailed snow elimination data.
The FAA offers grants to airports for a variety of security tasks, together with runway development and restore, lighting and snow elimination via its Airport Enchancment Program. The Presque Isle airport obtained a $1,074,816 grant in late 2019 to buy two giant runway snow sweepers, which introduced its complete to a few.
The machines are like big brooms, and sweep giant quantities of snow off the runway to keep away from ice sticking to the pavement, Airport Director Scott Wardwell stated in September 2019.
An airport upkeep foreman reported after the touchdown that 1 to 2 inches of snow had fallen earlier than the crash and that 4 to five inches had fallen that day. Snow elimination operations stored snow depth to 1/4 inch or much less on the runway, the report stated.
The security board blamed the occasion on the flight crew’s resolution to proceed touchdown after they couldn’t see the runway. Different components have been the primary officer’s fatigue as a result of being sick with influenza and the failure of earlier crews to report issues with the localizer, in response to the 23-page report.
Each flight crewmembers stated devices indicated the airplane was aligned within the middle of the runway, in response to the report. Testing after the crash touchdown stated the localizer was off by about 200 toes to the best.
Each the captain and first officer examined detrimental for medicine and alcohol following the incident, the NTSB stated.
CommutAir had solely obtained one report of localizer issues earlier than the missed touchdown, however 4 studies from different pilots have been filed afterward.
Airport Director Wardwell stated he had learn the report, however that the FAA owns, operates and maintains the touchdown instrument system, which is the case at most small airports. Federal requirements are in place on the airport, which is why the NTSB investigated.
“The NTSB report may be very detailed, and we on the airport would simply say that it speaks for itself,” he stated.