You’ve completed a challenging flight, maybe one that involves some bad weather. The approach was a success. The landing was among your best. But those visions of a perfect flight went up in smoke when you blundered into a runway “hot spot,” which is what the FAA calls areas that carry an increased risk of runway incursions. Hot spots may include the intersection of two runways, the intersection of a runway and a taxiway, or parallel runways/taxiways that could lead to a wrong surface event.
Exploring Real “Hot Spots”
A good example of an airport that presents multiple challenges for surface operations is Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM) in Minneapolis. FCM has six identified hot spots where pilots can get disoriented at night or with low visibility. Two of these caution pilots about the potential for confusing the closely positioned Runways 28L/28R and 10L/10R on approach. The other four indicate areas on the ramp and taxiways that are in precariously close proximity to Runway 28R/10L.
Runway safety risks aren’t limited to large-scale, multi-runway airports. They also exist at smaller, single runway landing fields. At Houston’s Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR) for example, you’ll find a hot spot at the intersection of Taxiway E and Taxiways A and A3 where the short distance from Runway 17/35 increases the likelihood of conflict between aircraft.
Bottom line: always review the airport chart and hot spot information before taxiing for departure and before landing. Both of these resources can be found here: http://bit.ly/RunwaySafetyDiagrams.