It was recently discovered that Detroit Metro Airport, a hub for Delta Airlines and a focus city for Spirit Airlines, is currently using very dangerous and unsafe landing practices while aircraft are on the ILS Approach runway 22R.
The offset ILS antennas for runway 22R are located in close proximity to taxiways Alpha and November, causing major disruptions to signals sent to aircraft on the approach for that runway, causing them to overshoot the runway, or fail to align themselves correctly on a regular basis. The danger is especially imminent when widebody aircraft taxi, causing a larger disruption. If in very poor weather, such disruption and inaccurate approaches could cause a devastating accident.
Opinions had been voiced by pilots and controllers for years, and in 2015 the FAA shut down the ILS procedures for that runway. However back in August, 2018, the FAA declared the runway’s ILS procedure active again, despite any change.
Because of this, veteran air traffic controller filed a “whistleblower complaint” with the US Office of Special Counsel, saying “the FAA has prioritized airport efficiency and capacity over the safety of the flying public…”. He claims that if the antenna was just moved, that the problem would resolve itself.
The FAA says these claims are unsubstantial, and that these procedures are deemed within acceptable risk. The US Office of Special council disagrees, and believes there to be substantial risk to the flying public. Now, a letter has been written to President Donald Trump, about these findings. Special Council member Henry J. Kerner said the following in the letter to President Trump: “I urge the FAA to further review the safety issues associated with the ILS Y approach procedure and take the steps necessary to resolve them”.
From this point forward, it is now up to the President, and or Congress, to decide whether the FAA needs oversight on this situation.
The full report by ABC7 WXYZ Detroit’s Heather Catallo can be found below: