Watchlist issues

Landing accidents and runway overruns

Added to Watchlist on August 16, 2010

Problem

Landing accidents and runway overruns continue to occur at Canadian airports.

Background

Millions of landings occur each year on Canadian runways. Rain, snow, ice, or slush can contaminate these runways and will have an effect on the landing distance. Pilots are required to calculate landing distance prior to each landing. To do this, they need to have an accurate report of runway surface conditions. However, if this information is not available, landing distance calculations could be in error and the aircraft is at risk of running off the end of the runway.

Should this happen, it is important that an aircraft have an adequate "safety area" beyond the runway's end. At some airports, however, this is not the case, and the terrain beyond the end of the runway could contribute to aircraft damage and injuries to passengers and crew. This area, therefore, must be sufficiently clear of obstacles.

Solution

The TSB has investigated a number of landing accidents and incidents and has identified deficiencies, made findings, and issued safety communications such as runway surface condition reporting requirements and recommendations on runway end safety areas (RESAs).

Specifically, in the past 10 years, the TSB has issued 1 recommendation and 4 safety communications on this issue, but more must be done to ensure safe landings.1

  • In bad weather, pilots need to receive timely information about runway surface conditions.
  • Airports need to lengthen the safety areas at the end of runways or install other engineered systems and structures to safely stop planes that overrun.

This page is available as a brochure in PDF


  1. Recommendation A07-06 (Report A05H0002), Aviation Safety Advisories A020014 and A020016 (Report A02A0038), Safety Information letters A060029 (Report A06P0036) and A07A0029 (Report A07A0029)