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30 "loss of situational awareness" (44). Specifically, when tower Proven and effective procedures are imperative for safe controllers are involved in an operational error, it is typically ground operations. Several identified by the FAA follow (41): due to one or more of the following (45): · Limit conversations when on runways; avoid unneces- · Forgetting about an aircraft, a closed runway, a vehicle sary communication. on the runway, or a clearance that the controller issued; · Be vigilant, especially when on or near runways. · Miscalculation of the impending separation; · Be aware of current airport surface conditions. · Communication error: hear-back errors (i.e., failing to · If lost, notify ATC immediately. If in doubt, ask! catch a read-back error); · Make your equipment visible by appropriate use of lights. · Misidentifying an aircraft or its location (and issuing an · Ensure your vehicle's radio operates properly and use instruction to the "wrong" aircraft); and radio headsets and noise-canceling microphones as · Incomplete or inadequate coordination among controllers. needed. · Use good judgment, should radio failure occur. · Never stop on an active runway unless coordinated with For these reasons, vehicle drivers need to improve their ATCT. own SA because they may be affected by others who may not have SA. Some general suggestions from the FAA for main- taining SA and improving communication follow (41): IMPROVING SITUATIONAL AWARENESS · Review current airport surface conditions before start- One of the recommendations from AC 150/5200-30, Airport ing snow removal operations. Winter Safety and Operations, for helping to prevent runway · Know where you are on the airport and where you are incursion after the runway reopens is to ensure that taxiway going at all times. directional signs, runway holding position signs, and other · Keep airport/taxi diagrams readily available during snow light fixtures have been cleared of snow blockage and are removal operations. legible and distinguishable to drivers and pilots (12). These · Be on the alert for aircraft, vehicle, and pedestrian actions improve SA because an operator can interpret his activity. location on the airfield better. · Make proper contact and communication with the con- trol tower, if open. The following suggestions are actions derived from Advi- · Monitor and announce position and intention over the sory Circular 120-74A, Parts 91, 121, 125, and 135, Flight- CTAF or be under the control of a radio-equipped vehi- crew Procedures During Taxi Operations that can be applied cle, if there is no tower or it is closed. to airport vehicle operators (46). To help improve SA, it is · Work out a method of signaling to clear the runway, important for a vehicle operator to etc., ahead of time. · Understand and follow ATC instructions and clearances; · Listen before you transmit. Monitor radio communica- · Have an airport diagram available for use; tions to establish a "mental picture" of airport activity, · Know and use all of the visual aids available at the air- if able. port, such as the signs, markings, and lighting; · Think before keying your transmitter. Keep communi- · Monitor ATC instructions or clearances issued to other cations with the controller clear and concise. aircraft; · Never assume. Make certain you understand all · Make a mental or physical note of the position of aircraft instructions. traffic and be especially aware of the elapsed time from ATC communication to any expected aircraft operation; Read back runway hold-short instructions and clearances · Prior to entering or crossing any runway, scan the run- verbatim. way, taxiway, apron, and/or final approaches for other aircraft or vehicles; · Follow proper procedures. · Use a "continuous loop" process for actively monitoring · Install a compass vertical card, digital compass, or regu- and updating their progress and location during snow lar compass in the vehicle. removal or low visibility operations. This includes know- · Install GPS handheld displays in the vehicle. ing the vehicle's present location and mentally calculating the next location on the route that will require increased SOPs provide a structure that helps to decrease the proba- attention (e.g., a turn onto a taxiway, an intersecting run- bility of human error and attempts to capture errors before way, or any other transition points). As the "continuous they result in a runway incursion. By applying SOPs to sur- loop" is updated, operators should verbally share relevant face operations, vehicle operators can reduce the probability information with other operators in the group; and of a runway incursion by increasing and maintaining SA · Write down ATCT instructions, especially if you will within the safety of procedures previously agreed to and be operating in an area for an extended time, or mark it made clear to all. on an airport layout drawing.