Video, resurfacing part of wrong runway prevention at Tucson International

Published: Nov. 7, 2017 at 8:06 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 at 10:23 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A construction team working to reduce wrong runway landings at Tucson International Airport accidentally caused a runway issue of its own.

The crew was resurfacing Runway 29R/11L when it damaged electrical circuits, according to a release from the Tucson Airport Authority.

The work is part of the larger renovation project at the airport, according to COO and VP of Operations and Projects Danette Bewley.

It happened around 7:40 p.m. on Friday, November 3, according to a release from TAA. The outage affected flights from that time until 9:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, a private plane landed on the taxiway instead of the runway.

She acknowledged that TIA has two hotspots, which have been troublesome for pilots flying into the airport.

The first is the 29 direction, previously highlighted in a Tucson News Now special report. The 29L runway is shorter than its 29R counterpart, which is now being resurfaced.

The taxiway, boldly labeled 'TAXI', is also right next to 29R. Bewley said it can be confusing for some pilots.

The second hotspot is the distinction between 11L/29R and the taxiway, which is where the pilot of a Learjet 35 landed on Friday, Nov. 3.

The FAA is investigating the wrong surface landing. Nobody was hurt.

"We still have some issues going on, and it is our desire that when we get the airfield completely revamped and revitalized with the new program that this will mitigate wrong runway landings and also pilot confusion," said Bewley.

Tucson Airport Authority has a running list of projects, priorities and payments. The airport is still going through the FAA's National Environmental Police Act (NEPA) process.

In the meantime, Bewley said leadership collaborates with the FAA Safety Team and pilot organizations on awareness as another level of wrong runway landing prevention.

Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) are issued by the FAA to notify pilots about the conditions flying into Tucson and the airport is currently writing an educational video to inform pilots about the runway situation.

"It's really the entire airfield, because these types of things can happen anywhere, wherever confusion exists," said Bewley. "And if it's something that we need to do on an airfield, whether it's construction related or if it's pilot awareness, those are the things we're interested in doing."

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