It takes more than an airplane and a pilot to get an airplane-load of people off of the ground. Anyone who has flown out of Billings Logan International Airport knows that there is a whole host of support and maintenance workers whose efforts are necessary to keep air travel efficient and safe. Some individuals who are employed by airlines and airports serve as tarmac workers. These are the individuals who are responsible for loading baggage onto planes, guiding aircrafts in and out of their gates, and performing many other tasks.
Though once a plane leaves its gate and begins its taxi to its runway it generally does not encounter workers or airport vehicles in its path, incidents can occur where a non-flying vehicle may obstruct a moving plane. Encounters between planes and vehicles can be particularly dangerous when those encounters happen on runways. When an airplane encounters an obstruction such as a vehicle, piece of equipment, or another plane in its path on the runway, the incident is called a runway incursion.
Runway incursions are a cause of aviation accidents. The Federal Aviation Administration rates incidents of runway incursions from least to most severe with an alphabet-based scale. Incursions that are avoided long before they become dangerous situations are rated as Category D incidents. Incursions that involve narrow misses between aircrafts and other vehicles or items are rated as Category A incidents.
The amount of response time that a pilot has to avoid a runway incursion is critical to keeping the aircraft and passengers safe. That is why when errors occur at airports and vehicles and planes obstruct the path of other airplanes, pilots must be ready to act to avoid runway-based collisions.
To discuss possible legal claims that arise from a plane crash involving a runway incursion, or any other kind of aviation accidents, readers of this blog may want to contact personal injury attorneys in their areas.