More Runway Incursions at HNL

Following a year of significantly lower numbers of runway incursions at HNL, there were SEVEN incursions just in the last quarter. In contrast to the historic rate of only one or two per quarter. Most RIs occurred after  a correct pilot readback -or even multiple correct readbacks- and several had a CFI aboard. This RI spike included a Wrong Surface Landing (WSL) on 4R after being cleared to 4L and an incipient WSL resulting in a loss of traffic separation go-around without an actual touch down. Here’s an invaluable WSL video (featuring HNL-specific issues).

The HNL RI spike is concurrent with the resumption of post-covid activities and while there are frequently correlation/ causation questions, if you’ve been inactive, we strongly recommend a session with a CFI before flying at HNL. Here are three immediate suggestions to regain focus:

  1. DON’T JUST READ BACK INSTRUCTIONS, VISUALIZE  EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE YOU MOVE; have a crystal-clear understanding or do NOT taxi or cross a hold line. Also, provide your aircraft call sign every time you accept a controller’s instruction.
  2. DON’T MOVE – OR STOP MOVING IMMEDIATELY– UNLESS YOU ARE POSITIVE OF WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.  HCF would much rather repeat an instruction or provide Progressive Taxi Instructions than have you commit a Runway Incursion.
  3. If you are a CFI, ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE PILOT IN COMMAND FIRST AND CFI SECONDand that is a distant second. Your absolute #1 priority is safe operation of the aircraft- PERIOD. There’s always time to debrief after a flight, but if you or your student commit an RI it is YOUR responsibility!

Please review this brief video on HNL-specific hold-line issues to keep you away from Runway Incursions.

In the past, the frequent runway incursions were at least in part due to the close spacing of parallel runways 4L and 4R and the resultant locations of their hold-short lines.  Because those hold-line positions were contrary to normal experience, many pilots failed to hold at the applicable line.

To solve the RI problem, HNL Airport lowered the capacity category of RWY 4L, which reduced the 4L lateral Runway Safety Area (RSA) and allowed relocation of its hold lines to a more familiar configuration. The present closely-spaced hold lines were also identified as a Hot Spot in the PAC Chart Supplement. The FAA Western Pacific Runway Safety Team produced the videos (available above) that illustrate HNL challenges. HCF and the HNL FAASTeam collaborated with outreach including controller forums and LRSAT meetings, and HCF adjusted its procedures to reduce the number of aircraft sequenced to RWY 4L.  Lastly, HNL airport installed elevated runway guard lights (“wig-wags”) at all RWY 4L and 4R hold line locations.

Copied, in part, from FAASafety.com Notice Number: NOTC1917

Posted in GACH.

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