CJP 2021: A Deep Dive into the Methods and Mindset Behind “Safe to Land”
The first day of CJP 2021 included the official announcement of the CJP Safety and Education Foundation’s “Safe to Land” initiative to combat runway overruns, further demonstrating the organization’s commitment to enhancing the safety of Citation jet operations. Additional details about the new program were revealed throughout the convention.
Ahead of the CJP Safety Standdown on Thursday, Oct. 21, CJP Safety Committee Chairman Charlie Precourt was joined by representatives from The Presage Group to detail some of the new procedures that were developed and derived through the association’s landmark go-around study conducted with the valuable input from CJP member volunteers.
Capt. Bill Curtis, head of the aviation group at Presage, recalled a statement from the pilot of the chartered Boeing 737-700 carrying then-vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence that overran the runway on landing at New York LaGuardia (LGA) in October 2016. “These are his words: ‘the moment had slipped past and it was too late … there was a little time to verbalize it, and he instructed the first officer to get the plane on the ground.’
“So the moment really hadn’t slipped past, rather than call for the go-around,” he continued. “What we want to do is change that mindset so that the moment doesn’t slip by you. The moment stays alive; in fact, your pump is so primed that to make that decision to go around is much easier.”
Safe to Land incorporates “gates” and callouts that provide pilots several opportunities to verify execution of a stable approach and to recognize deviations on descent while time, speed and altitude are still available to correct them. As they near the runway, pilots use these procedures to land within the correct touchdown area, and to immediately go around if the aircraft flies past the touchdown point limit (TPL) or deviates laterally from the centerline.
“Let’s say you do your normal air distance and you hit a gust of wind, or a hot runway and you get some ground effect [that leads to] floating, floating, floating all the way down that extra distance,” Curtis said. “You want to make sure you get down by the point that you still have ground distance to stop. It’s as simple as that. But now we’re giving you a visual point on where you can make that decision.”
Precourt then presented a video of flying various approaches to his home airport in Ogden, UT while utilizing Safe to Land callouts in the busy flight deck environment. “This is the first step on a journey to apply something that should become very simple in the long term,” he explained, noting he missed a few callouts while filming. “Understanding the detail behind it’s going to take some time, so that’s why we’re doing what we think will be about an 18-month initiative.”
Another aspect behind the testing and application of Safe to Land protocols is flight operation quality assurance (FOQA) monitoring, utilizing aircraft position information transmitted off the aircraft through AirSync that is then interpreted through CloudAhoy to detail each approach and landing. Results are then graded and available to the pilot shortly after touching down.
“We’ll be able to measure on a scorecard [that] at 200 feet, was I in or out of any of those [Safe to Land] parameters?” said Precourt. “This data can help us reconverge and have a discussion about, instead of 15 degrees of bank or 100-feet lateral separation, maybe it should be something else.”
Along with Precourt, CJP members Tom Abood, Ron Eisenberg, Stephen Elop and John Springthorpe are among a dozen CJP members who have served as beta testers for the program. “I certainly believe what we went through was just blazing the trail,” Elop said, adding the ability to check his approach and landing score has “directly affected how I fly approaches.
“Everyone has a routine after a flight,” he continued. “I have added [pulling up the CloudAhoy Safe to Land interface] as a step after every flight of the day. Most often now it’s like, ‘ya know, I deserve that score. I know what happened.’ The system is remarkably simple to set up and use.”
Such information and self-scoring is key, Curtis emphasized, toward improving approach procedures and reducing the risk of runway excursions. “With a little bit of philosophical oversight [we can change] your behavior,” he said. “In these procedures, we’re hopefully going to change behavior when it’s important by giving you simple guidance.”
Additional details about the Safe to Land initiative will be available soon at citationjetpilots.com/safety.