SMART SPENDING ON SIGNS IMPROVES AIRPORT SAFETY

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ARTICLE: Phoenix Sky Harbor, other airports get safety upgrades

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An airport can be a confusing place; runways look the same and there are few easy reference points that remind flight crew where they are and to make it even more confusing, many airports look alike.

An airport can be a complex operating environment with air traffic controllers’ rapid firing taxi, clearance and departure instructions while the flight crews are reviewing detailed checklists. In addition there is a lot of pressure to depart and arrive on time.

Signs, simple indicators that this is runway 9/27 or taxiway J or Terminal C are important reminders as to their location on the airport. Lights and lines make it easier to know where the aircraft is on takeoff or roll out, how much room the flight crew has to make a critical maneuver. Newer lighting systems warn the pilots when a runway should not be crossed because an unseen aircraft is about to touch down or takeoff.

Ms. Gersema does an excellent job of documenting the need for good airport signage to mark the ground “roads” where aircraft move around airports. The Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for example benefits from a consistent wind pattern so the airport’s layout is not as complex. Other airports have more intricate systems of runways and taxiways so their complexity drives the need for more instructive signs.

These very important airport information systems benefit aviation safety and they are eligible for AIP funding, which gets a high priority. If you need help sorting out how to qualify for such grants, email info@jdasolutions.aero or call 1-877-532-2376.

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