FAA Gives Runway Safety Design Award to George Mason Student Team

A team of psychology students from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., won the FAA's Airport Design Competition for Universities, the university announced June 11. The team won a $2,500 prize and will present its work June 12 during the American Association of Airport Executives' annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The team members were doctoral candidates Carl Smith and Peter Squire and master's students Jane Barrow, Kevin Durkee, and Jennifer Moore. Raja Parasuraman, professor of psychology, was the team's faculty advisor. The students designed a system to reduce runway accidents and safety issues, calling it a "Runway Incursion Monitoring and Direct Alert System." It uses digital wireless transmissions to send an audible alert to pilots and ground operators on the airfield, and it can be used by airports of all sizes, the school said.

The competition let the students work with airport operators and industry experts. "The opportunity to work on designing a solution to a real-world problem was an empowering experience," Smith said. "Interacting with industry experts, aviation professionals, and academics exposed us not only to a wealth of information, but a different viewpoint on how the application of human factors principles can save lives."

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