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Runway Safety Needed At Busiest Airports

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:05 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical
Tags: Airports, Runway Safety, Mass Transit, Airline Safety

Some of the nation's busines runways are not in compliance with safety measures.



IMAGE SOURCE:  Wikimedia Commons/ Delta 757 taking off Reagan Washington Airport/ author: Carl Lindburg


A new report says that 11 major airports still do not meet federal safety requirements that give planes extra room to stop before ramming into passing cars.

It happened in December 2005, when six-year-old Joshua Woods was singing Christmas songs. A plane rolled off the runway at Chicago’s Midway and collided with his family car, killing Joshua.

The latest report from the Transportation Department’s inspector general says nearly one quarter of airports are deficient including: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Washington, reports the Houston Chronicle

Chicago was one of the few that did make improvements after the boy’s death.

For a ten-year period beginning in 1997, the report says 200 people were injured and 12 died from aircraft that plowed into cars. 

Improvements include creating a safety area approximately 1,000 feet long and 500 feet wide and adding about 250 feet along the side of the runway. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) admits that some airports do not have enough space for the safety areas.  In those cases, airports can install concrete beds that are collapsible absorbing and slowing some of the force of the plane.   They take up about 600 by 1,000 feet of space and have halted planes at JFK International Airport in New York. 

In some instances filling in wetlands might be required, which faces environmental and citizen opposition.

The FAA has already spent about $2 billion on safety improvements and the 11 out-of-compliance airports have until 2015 to meet a congressional deadline.

The Flight Safety Foundation says runway accidents are the most common that account for nearly one third of all airline crashes over the last dozen years.  They most likely are to occur when a plane lands rather than taking off.  #

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