by Jeffery Taylor
WisDOT Bureau of Aeronautics
A “hot spot” at an airport is not just a great place to get a $100 hamburger, but rather a location on the airport where there is an increased risk of collision or runway incursion, and where increased awareness by pilots is necessary.
Typically, it is a complex or confusing taxiway-taxiway or taxiway-runway intersection. A confusing condition may be compounded by a miscommunication between a controller and a pilot, and may cause an aircraft separation standard to be compromised. The area may have a history of surface incidents or the potential for surface incidents.
In Wisconsin, there are six locations identified by the FAA Runway Safety Program as hot spots.
Outagamie County Regional (ATW) where taxiways A, B and C meet in a complex intersection.
Chippewa Valley Regional (EAU): Multiple converging taxiways meet near the intersection of runways 22 and 32.
Southern Wisconsin Regional (JVL): Runways 32 and 36 approach ends are closely aligned and may be confused when lining up for departure. If you set your heading bug to your departure runway heading when assigned by ATC, you will have confirmation you are taking off on the correct runway when you line up in position for takeoff.
La Crosse Municipal (LSE): The runway 36 hold position is set back on taxiway F well before the approach end of 36 so you will not enter the runway 03 safety area.
General Mitchell International (MKE): The first hot spot is where pilots taxiing northbound on taxiway E for an intersection departure on runway 19R at taxiway V can end up entering runway 07L-25R if they miss the right turn for taxiway V. To avoid a runway incursion, pilots on taxiway E should use extreme caution approaching runway 07L-25R.
General Mitchell’s other hot spot is in the area of taxiway M and runway 01L-19R. The pavement widens out as the taxiway approaches the runway and may cause confusion.
You can find more information about hot spots in other states in the current FAA Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD). Hot spot descriptions, along with associated airport diagrams, are provided in the back of each directory.
By identifying hot spots, it is easier for pilots to plan the safest possible path of movement in and around an airport. Planning is a crucial safety activity for airport users — both pilots and air traffic controllers alike. Proper planning helps avoid confusion by eliminating last-minute questions and building familiarity with known problem areas.