Airport geometry, communication and expectation bias are among the most common wrong surface landing precursors:
- Parallel and offset parallel runway configurations such as HNL runways 4L & 4R contribute to more wrong surface landings than any other configuration
- Pilots incorrectly proceed to the runway they typically utilize or expect, vs. the one actually assigned by ATC, even after correctly reading back the runway assignment.
- Pilots not specifically (visually) identifying or confirming their assigned runway, or misidentifying another runway for the one they are cleared for.
- Pilots not utilizing readily available geographic, visual and charted information to aid in correct runway identification
- Pilots not planning for their arrival adequately
This short video, Wrong Surface Landings, produced by FAA’s Runway Safety Group, elaborates on the impacts of airport geometry, communication and expectation bias on the WSL problem, and presents anecdotes to avoid a wrong surface landing. Among the best practices to put you on the correct runway:
- Thorough preflight and inflight planning to include arrival runway usage and preparation for unexpected changes
- Manage and reduce cockpit distractions
- Active listening
- Be prepared to react to a change to a landing runway assignment
- Use all available visual and charted cues, and equipment resources
- If ever unsure, ask ATC
Pilots of all experience levels have committed the wrong surface landing!