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An arresting device might induce a pilot to discontinue his take-off run in an emergency when he would otherwise decide that it is safer to continue on, choosing the lesser of two evils. For landings, an arresting device would, of course, also be a valuable safeguard for overshoots, especially w hen all-weather landings become commonplace. It has the intangible value of adding to a pilot's sense of tranquility or composure in marginal weather; it should reduce or prevent damage to an aircraft that runs off the end of the runway, it reduces the fire potential and put the airplane in a position where rescue crews can more easily help the passenger. One airline has required that its new jet aircraft be designed to accept the stress of a tail hook anticipating the time when arresting devices will be installed. It will be interesting to see how many years will pass before this takes place!

Project HORIZON recommends that "Authority, responsibility and capability of the FAA should be broadened in such fields as airport standards and safety criteria; planning, accessibility, noise, and other environmental factors, zoning and management aid programs." This might accelerate implementation of airport safety aids if the local communities will be willing to relinquish some of their present jurisdiction. The FAA has a program to provide the more active airports with the essential aids. Of course, good management is another essential factor. Airport management is a profession requiring competence in flight operations, engineering, law, business management and human relations.

In addition to reducing the accident potential by installing modern facilities, airport management can take the leadership in promoting operational safety especially in general aviation. Accident prevention programs could be scheduled, warnings against seasonal hazards could be posted, etc. This is a separate subject which requires a paper by itself.


Airport operations involve the surrounding community. this is for two reasons--noise and falling aircraft. Noise is not dangerous but it arouses fear. The fact that very few people are killed or hurt in occupied areas around an airport is countered by the catastrophic potential of this possibility. This is akin to mid-air collisions; they do not happen very often but the consequences threaten to be disastrous.

As the countryside becomes more urbanized, the danger from falling aircraft increases. Perhaps this must be accepted as a normal risk to living in the same way the public has to accept other dangers to its existence. About one in every 2,000 persons is killed each year in highway accidents, falls, drowning, hurricanes, fires. According to statistics presented by the FAA, from 1950 to 1960 the autos and taxis caused 99,400 fatalities to third parties; trains - 11,200; buses - 4,700; airlines - 33; general aviation - 25. Though the chances of being struck by a falling aircraft are evidently very small, the potential must be reduced by emphasis on operational reliability, pilot training and especially zoning in the area of take-off and landing. With rare exceptions, adequate zoning laws have not been passed or implemented.
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