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FAASTeam Notice
Type: General Information
Notice Date: Monday, July 1, 2019
Notice Number: NOTC9547
Flying Cloud Airport is Improving But Still is Having Runway Incursions!
This posting will be removed on
Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) is continuing to have Runway Incursions (RI) and Wrong Surface Landing (WSL) issues.  FCM is a highlighted airport in total RI and WSL rates that includes all FAA and Federal Contract Towered airports nationwide.  Whether your home base is FCM or are just flying through, take precautions to help reduce FCM’s RI and WSL rate to zero.

Runway Incursions

A serious event occurred when an aircraft missed the turn on Taxiway Alpha and proceeded across the hold short line of Runway 28R at Taxiway Alpha 3, causing an aircraft in the landing flare to go-around and overfly the errant aircraft within 100 feet.

Pilots at FCM continue to cross runway hold lines or enter runways without tower clearance, even after correctly reading back taxi instructions. The most frequently incurred locations are:

  1. Taxiway Charlie prior to departure.  Taxiway Charlie is direct access to Runway 28R/10L from the ramp. Use caution to ensure proper turns to avoid entering the runway without a clearance.
  2. Runway 10L/28R and Taxiway Alpha 3 (A3).  Due to quick turn out of parking and location of the runway 10L, the runway has the appearance of being a taxiway.  Additionally, Taxiway A3 has direct access to Runway 10L/28R from the ramp.  Use caution to ensure proper turns to avoid entering the runway without a clearance.

To avoid Runway Incursions, use the three practices below to ensure you never have a runway incursion:

  1. Actively (purposefully) SCAN for runway hold short lines. Visually identify them. Do not wait for them to “sneak up” on you.  This is extremely important when visibility is low due to rain or snow.
  2. DO NOT cross runway hold short lines unless certain you have received clearance to enter or cross that runway and you are at the correct location. NEVER ASSUME.
  3. If ever in doubt, ensure you are clear of all runways, then STOP and ASK for assistance.

Increase your situational awareness even more with these specific best practices:

  • Always use a current airport diagram, no matter how familiar you think you are.
  • During FCM taxi-out/departure planning, review ALL Hot Spots.
  • During FCM arrival/landing planning, review runway and taxiway layout and again review Hot Spots.
  • During taxi, stay “heads-up.”  Complete all checklists before taxiing or when stopped.
  • Brief passengers to maintain “sterile cockpit.”
  • Minimize and manage distractions. Do an engine run-up only when stopped.
  • After landing Runway 10R/28L, understand you may be cleared to taxi to the north.  This will put you between the runways where there is a small area between exiting one runway and entering the other runway protected space. 
  • Request progressive (step- by-step) taxi instructions ANY TIME you need additional navigation assistance on the ground.

Wrong Surface Landings (WSL)

FCM also experiences many WSLs, i.e. landing on other than the cleared runway or on a taxiway.  Pilots at FCM land on the wrong runway in both directions and mistake the large taxiways as a runway.  The most frequently incurred locations are:

  1. Multiple aircraft landed Runway 28L when cleared to land on Runway 28R.
  2. Multiple aircraft landed Runway 10R when cleared to land on Runway 10L.
  3. Aircraft lined up on final for the wrong runway or landed on Taxiway Bravo.

    To avoid landing on the wrong runway or a taxiway at FCM:

  • Be aware of a primary cause of wrong surface landings: “Expectation Bias.”
    • If you are accustomed to FCM’s more frequent parallel Runway 28 operations: and find yourself using Runways 10L or 10R, remember:  the opposite end of 28L is 10R; the opposite end of 28R is 10L.  Even after reading back the correct runway assignment, pilots have been known to go for the “left” or the “right” runway because that’s what they are used to seeing when operating in the other (more familiar) direction,
    • When on downwind, do not assume you will be landing on that runway.  You may be cleared for the other runway and will need to extend your base leg through final for the closer runway. Do not automatically line up for the closest runway.
    • Do not assume your clearance is to the nearest runway to your pattern.  You may receive a clearance that crosses the final for the closest runway.
    • Be aware of runway changes. If ATC assigned a runway and then changed it, with or without a landing clearance, controllers will tell you they are changing your assigned runway (Cessna 12345, change to Runway 28R…”). Pilots have incorrectly landed on their originally assigned runway, even after correctly reading back the new runway assignment. 
    • At FCM, if cleared for Runway 10R, do not let the displacement of Runway 10L lure you onto the wrong surface. 
    • Additionally, if cleared for Runway 10L, do not let Runway 10R, Taxiway Bravo, and the taxi lane to the south lure you to land on Runway 10R.
  • Pilots have landed on wrong runways or even taxiways due to distractions in the cockpit or preoccupation with an in-flight situation.
  • If you have a problem or concern with your aircraft or clearance, tell the controller (it does not have to be an emergency). Controllers cannot help if they do not know… and they want to help.
  • Read back landing runway assignment:  visually identify your landing runway. Confirm that it is a runway (and not a taxiway), and, that it is the correct runway.
  • Use visual cues, including: verify right versus left runways, runway magnetic orientation, and, known landmarks versus the location of the airport or runway.
  • Employ an active technique to verify you are lined up with the correct runway, and, use on every flight (write it down, say it out loud, verify your landing clearance on base leg, etc.).
  • If ever uncertain of your landing runway assignment, ASK for confirmation

Please review a short runway safety video that has direct similarities to FCM:

Remember to Focus: STOP. LOOK. LISTEN. Lives are at Stake!*

For additional information contact:

Runway Safety Program Manager

Great Lakes Area, Federal Aviation Administration