If you’ve ever questioned why better visibility around the airport is so important, take a look at this video depicting a near-disaster in Providence last year. (Thanks to Vanity Fair Musings via Don Brown at Get the Flick.
If that doesn’t make you crap your pants, I’m not sure what will. There are just so many problems here that could have been avoided with ground-based radar. It’s a foggy night in Providence so you can’t see much outside. The United pilots get lost on landing and incorrectly state their location as being near inactive runway 25R instead of active runway 25L. That’s bad enough to cause problems. Meanwhile, the controller really blows it. Despite the aircraft saying they were near Taxiway Kilo and hearing a plane fly right overhead, the controller doesn’t pick up that they must be nowhere near runway 23R and on 23L instead.
The hero here? Obviously the US Airways pilots. Had they departed as directed by the controller, they very well could have taken the top off that United aircraft . . . or worse. Fortunately they had the good sense to wait the whole thing out until everyone knew where everyone else was. Wow.
Coming from the capital of runway incursions here in LA, I certainly hope we can get some funding together for better coverage of what’s happening on the ground.