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Airport Ground Procedures
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...AC No: 91-73A 2003 Annotated and Condensed; (Includes towered and non-towered arrivals, departure and procedure checklists condensed for General Aviation.) Standard Operating Procedures Template; Taxiing Control Position Lesson; ...Taxiing Revisited; Use of Written and Verbal Taxi Instructions; ...Taxiing Suggestions; ...The Last Thing You Learn; ...Basics of Taxiing; ... Prevention of Taxiing Problems; ...Staying Lined Up; ...Surface Movement at Non-Towered Airports; ...Uncontrolled Airport; ...Taxiing; ...More Taxiing; Prevention of Incursions; ...Situational Awareness; Runway Incursions; ...FAA Runway Incursion Advice; .Incursions; Incursions; Excursions; Anti-Incursion Program; ...Statistical Analysis of Runway Incursion;
...Non-Movement Airport Areas; ... Getting the ATIS; New ATIS sequence in 1999; ...When to Say ATIS Phonetic; Brakes; Smooth/Sharp Parking Turns; ...Ground Radio to Taxi; ...Courtesy; Ramp Manners; ...Runup;... Taxiing Instruction; ...Yoke Control; ...Response to an Email; ...Teaching Taxi Skills; . ..Pre-takeoff Considerations; ...Pre-takeoff; ...Departure Radio; ...Arrival radio; ...Post-Landing; ...Parking; Magneto Check at Shutdown; ...Shutdown; ...Post-flight Inspection; ...Tie Down; ...Preferred Tiedown Knot; ...Low Visibility Taxiing; AIM Markings and Procedures; SMGCS; ...Single Pilot Airport Ground Operations; ...Situational Awareness On the Ground; Ground Use of Lights; ...FAA Expectations; ...FAA Recommendations; ...AC No 91-73A Taxiing; ...Alternative Taxiing Suggestions; ...SOP; ...FAA on Ground Operations; ...FAA Runway Safety; ... Ground Use of GPS; Words to Taxi Bye; ...Looking for Trouble; ...To Cecil on Taxiing;
AC 91-73A Annotated/Condensed (2003)
Towered Taxi Procedures Checklist
--Airport diagram in view
--Beacon, lights when moving
--(Night) taxi lights
--Listen on frequency
--Call with position
--Note intersections and runway crossings
--Park to clear approaches
At Active Runway
--Hold short of runway holding position markings.
Taking the Runway
--Takeoff restrictions readback if any
--Clear runway, intersections and departure end
Towered Arrival Taxi Procedures Checklist
In Range and Descent
Before Crossing a Runway
–Clearing approach corridors
--Expedite crossing and taxi clear of hold bars
--Post flight checklist
Non-Towered Departure Taxi Procedures Checklist
--Announce taxi intentions
--360-degree turn to clear traffic
--Announce departure intentions
Non-Towered Arrival Taxi Procedures Checklist
--Clearing runway call-up and taxi intentions
--Charts, manuals, equipment
--Prevention of runway incursions
--Complex intersections, construction and "hot spots".
--Weight and balance
--POH/FOM data and charts
--Missing the gate
–Configuration for conditions
--Anticipation of exit route and procedure
Standard Operating Procedures Template
--Pilot in Command responsibility and accountability
--Use of technology
--Use of written taxi instructions
--Use of written taxi instructions for readback
--Use of standard phraseology
--Sterile cockpit when taxiing.
Checklist Procedures and Philosophy
–Format and terminology
–Do and verify
--Challenge and response
--Safety checks of area
--Beginning and sequence
--Out of 1000\
--After landing and clearing runway
--Cleaning up and taxiing
--Parking and securing
--Preparing frequency list
--Procedure review and cross-check clearances
--Crossing or holding short of runway verification
--Taxi into position and hold
--Risk of CFIT
--Special airport limitations
--Special security limitations
--Density altitude considerations
--Transfer of control
Control Position Lesson
I have used the heading indicator for years as a device to teach students where to hold the yoke while taxiing. Today in an aircraft with a 'heading bug' I had a student show me how taxiing could be made easier by setting the 'heading bug' for the wind direction and then holding the yoke accordingly. Worked beautifully.
When I first arrive at the airport I try to make note of the runway in use and make a stab at guessing the wind direction and velocity from the way the windsock is behaving. I encourage my students to do the same.
On hearing the ATIS, set the heading-bug for the wind direction as an aid in holding the yoke in the proper place and direction. Do not delay getting yoke in proper position when winds are strong. A two second delay is all it takes to have the airplane flip over. Set the heading-bug for the runway when arriving into a pattern. Recognizing that the ATIS can be up to an hour old, it a good idea to check with ground prior to taxi by saying, "Say wind". The same query made to the tower when turning final gives you a very desirable update in crosswind conditions. Caution: The ATC instrument reading the wind may be a mile from your touchdown point. CCR had five socks at one time and it was not unusual to have them all pointing different directions at the same time.
Taxiing in wind lessons: Always hold yoke full over as though the wind were over 20 knots. In calm conditions make up a wind direction. Once the wind gets to lifting under your wing you won't have time to bring it back down. Practice making both left and right 360s on the ground while changing the yoke position. For those who have heading bugs, set the wind with the bug and taxi accordingly.
Final note: There is seldom a reason to grip the yoke any tighter or with more fingers than when flying. Work on your one-finger taxiing so that the good practice will carry into your flying. This is, in my experience, an endemic weakness in pilots.
By the time we solo we should be using power and brakes with great restraint. Minimum power required to move at a good pace and smooth additions for sharp turns. Brakes only for turning and stopping. The yoke should always be hard over and all the way forward or back. No partial movements while taxiing. Practice yoke movements at all times regardless of wind so that you will respond quickly and appropriately when real wind problems exist. The control deflection of the ailerons and elevators were designed to move as far as they do more for taxiing than for flying. According to the new uniform signs of airports, airplanes must hold so that no part of the airplane passes beyond the sign or a line.
There are several different nose-wheel and braking design combinations that require slightly differing techniques. The Grumman Americans have a free-castering nose-wheel and use differential braking for steering. The Piper nose-wheel is directly linked with the rudder. In the air or on the ground, when you move the rudder you move the nose-wheel. The rudder pedals have a rocking action that allows the application of both positive turn movement using direct linkage by moving the foot and differential braking by using the toe.. Don't move the rudder during preflight.
The Cessna nose-wheel and rudder are spring linked to the rudder pedals until the nose-wheel strut is fully extended. Once in the air the Cessna nosewheel hangs free and aligns itself with the relative wind. On landing there is no steering with the nose wheel until the strut is depressed. A normal turn is first initiated by fully depressing the foot. This places tension on the spring linkage and pulls the nose-wheel into the turn rather slowly. The turn radius can be made tighter by using the toe on the brakes. It is important that turns of varying radius be practiced.
---Taxiing skill is usually directly related to how well a pilot is able to keep the nose wheel on the center line. Use a rivet or mark on the front end of the cowling as an aiming point to hit the center line.
--Set heading bug to wind direction
--Verbalize all clearing as well as a swivel neck on the ground and in the air. The life you save may be your own.
--Make all yoke movements using one finger and the thumb. If you need more than two fingers youre doing something wrong. Remember the yoke moves both back and up.
--Make learning to taxi a priority. Begin by explaining/knowing how rudder/nose gear geometry works and moves. No brakes except for sharp turns and stopping. Make some 360s to headings then add yoke positions 90 degrees at a time. The first clue to a competent pilot is the way he taxies. Use heading bug.
--Control check uses thumbs up. Thumb always points to up-aileron. Turn head to check that other aileron is down before reversing control.
--Teach/make throttle control movements with forefinger as a measure. From 800 rpm to 1700 rpm is one fingernail length. Practice until you can do it every time without looking. Learn the sound and feel of every power setting. Hold Piper throttle with thumb palm up and fingers braced on console.
--It is not enough to clear final going from the runup area to the runway. Turn enough to protect yourself from an aircraft on close-in base.
of Written and Verbal Taxi Instructions
--At unfamiliar or complex airports write out your taxi plan and ATC instructions
--Any disagreement or misunderstanding should be clarified before moving
--Verbal repetition of taxi instructions is best assurance of accuracy
--Always refer to the airport diagram and verbally recite stages
--Always verify landing instructions with readback, verbal agreement of elements
--Coordinate all ground movements with verbal agreements
--Always update companions if they are off frequency for any length of time
--Maintain a 'sterile' cockpit when on the ground
--Use proper standard radio phraseology at all times
--No non-essential acts when talking/listening to ATC
--Readback all hold short instructions, runway crossings and clearances with runway designators
--Readback all takeoff and landing clearances along with runway designator
--Clarify all doubts before proceeding
--Have taxi diagram in sight
--Mark diagram with your progress
--Use compass or HIS to verify taxi directions. Use Runway numbers to verify.
--In low visibility use all resources available. (I once had ATC light gun light up taxiway centerline.)
--Stop whenever you become uncertain. (One night ATC sent out truck to guide me to runway.)
--Follow all instructions and clearances in a timely manner or advise ATC of delay.
--During landing rollout do not exit to another runway without ATC authorization.
Thing You Learn
If you make a good landing the yoke should be positioned for taxiing. When you turn off the runway the correct positioning of the yoke will prevent the upwind wing from lifting. The yellow lines of the taxiway is there to tell you where the middle is and gives reasonable assurance that you will not strike an obstacle as long as you are on it.
Taxiing speed and changes in this speed must be done with great anticipation. Power increases for up-hill and decreases for down-hill are selected and timed for maintaining a constant speed without the application of brakes. The use of brakes while doing anything other than turning or stopping is a sign of poor planning. Taxiing speed can only be managed by prior planning. Brains instead of brakes.
The radius of a taxiing turn is proportional to speed. Excessive speed puts unacceptable side-loads on the gear, wheels, and tires. Slow down straight ahead, then turn. Excessive speed while turning into a quartering tail wind without immediate and proper aileron deflection is a sure way to wind up hanging from your seat belt. Excess speed is the number one cause of taxiing accidents but is followed by flight control position errors. Stay on firm surfaces while taxiing. Avoid gravel. If you must start in a gravel area, clean away under the prop area. Start with absolute minimum RPM and get rolling without too much power. Keep it rolling when over gravel at minimum power. The propeller creates a vacuum that will suck up rocks and pebbles so they can be hit by the next blade coming.
Learning to taxi is one of the first operations a student is taught. Taxiing is one of the last skills a student will master. It is very difficult to give an acceptable excuse for a taxiing accident. The 1938 Pilot Training Handbook advises that no taxi speed should exceed a fast walk. Your taxi speed should never exceed one that allows an instantaneous stop. Good taxiing is a combination of speed control and directional control. Good taxiing skills require the same smoothness as flying. Good taxiing requires that you unlearn the use of the steering wheel. Taxiing requires 'kiddy car' skills.
The power required getting an aircraft rolling is greater than that required keeping it moving. Therefore, I recommend that the throttle be held in such a manner that you can rapidly and smoothly make small power adjustments. I have found that using a finger set to index the amount of throttle movement I require to be a good way to do this. I use my finger to determine how far the throttle can move. Once the aircraft is moving, reduce the power. Once rolling, you should do a brake check. No need to stop.
No need for the passengers even to know what you have done. Power adjustments must be adapted to the ground slope, wind forces, the surrounding situation and throttle linkage. Taxiing with one or more tires having low air pressure will greatly effect your taxiing. Check tire pressures during your preflight with a dial type gauge.
The factor of directional control extends beyond the turn to following the yellow lines. Side by side seating presents a parallax problem to the student. If you have any aspirations to upgrade your pilot level, taxiing on the yellow line is an imperative skill. You must concentrate on your taxiing when following a yellow line around a curve. The linkage of the rudder pedals both by movement and spring tension is such that having the rudder pedals straight does not mean that the plane goes straight. The amount of rudder depression has little relationship to how effective it is in the turn. Every aircraft taxies in a unique manner. Start out slowly and get a feel of controllability before you get moving too fast.
--Taxi slowly and cautiously
--Check your brakes before taxiing
--Keep your eyes outside the cockpit
--Your binocular depth perception ability ends around 20 feet.
--If your clearance looks too narrow, it probably is.
--Beware of large aircraft and helicopters
--Keep power and braking at minimum.
--Don't taxi any faster than the instructor will run.
--Controls to dive away and climb in the wind.
--Plan ahead for slope and surface conditions.
--FAR 91.113 indicates that you should never enter a runway without making sure the approach and bases are clear.
--Every holding instruction while taxiing must be acknowledged and read back.
--Non Towered Airports (NTAs) require greater vigilance and increased communications
--Become familiar with local pattern altitude and pattern procedures as well as radio call-up practice.
--Anticipate that IFR inbound traffic are probably making a straight-in.
--Expect to use visual cues, signage, markings and lighting to aid use of airport diagram
--Always monitor the CTAF and approach frequency to find out who's where.
--Transmit takeoff, departure and route plans before taking the runway
--Use your full call sign on first call up and always if another aircraft has similar call sign
--Always put the name of your airport as first and last words of each radio call
--Don't use radio until frequency is clear
Basics of Taxiing:
Planning your Taxiing:
1. Pre-taxi planning
--Planning and briefing of route
--Familiarity with airport
--Ask about recent changes
--Read back and check clearance
1. Monitor ATC for instruction or clearances to other aircraft.
2. Scan full length and approach corridors of runways you are about the cross.
3. Be even more cautious at night.
4. When using a runway as a taxiway, stay to one side and go a bit faster than normal.
5. Be aware if your landing turn-off intersects with another runway.
6. Maintain a sterile cockpit while taxiing.
7. Hearing what you expect to hear is a major problem.
8. Readback clearances
9. Use heading indicator to confirm taxi directions.
10. Do not exit on another runway unless cleared to do so.
1. Use all lights
2. Check with ATC if in doubt.
3. Expedite all runway crossing
4. Request progressive taxi instructions
--Use airport diagram
--Get ATC help early
--When in doubt, verify
Staying Lined Up
Professionals stay on the line. Students have trouble getting on the line and following the line. Students tend to taxi with too much power and use braking instead of pedal pressure to guide the plane. There is a parallax problem related to the nose wheel position offset from the seat. The aircraft that is on the line is somewhat assured obstacle clearance. No guarantee...just assurance. The pilot on final approach has a third dimension to deal with in attaining centerline alignment. A useful practice exercise to improve your skills in this matter is to set up a long final of several miles. Then get to approach speed and hands-off the yoke. With a very light yoke touch, while holding the nose aligned parallel to the runway with the rudder, slide the aircraft slowly left and right to each side of the runway. Do this side to side until you feel satisfied that you can slide and stop to either side at will.
Movement on Non-Towered Airports
---Beacon, navigation, no strobes
---All exterior lights crossing runways
---Entering departure runway all lights including strobes.
---Confirm frequency, monitor
---Check full length of runway
---Review airport diagram
Taxi for Departure
---Monitor and advise as to location and intentions
---Heads up, plan taxi route based on active
---Use heading indicator to confirm taxiway
---If you become uncertain as to where you are STOP but not on a runway.
---Give full attention when crossing a runway
---Make full 360 after runup
---Announce departure/takeoff intentions
---Clear final and runway and expedite departure
--Listen before transmitting.
--Not all aircraft have radios
--Announce taxi intentions on CTAF
--Higher level of watchfulness required.
--Stop and clear before crossing runways
--Do 360 scan turn prior to taking runway.
--Be extra cautious in calm wind conditions
--Know or learn local unpublished procedures
--Consider using lighting to warn others of your operation
--Give name of airport at beginning and end of every message.
--Use brief but clear statements of your situation and intentions.
--Check with any approach facility regarding inbound IFR traffic.
--Know IFR procedures and frequencies uses prior to CTAF. (Monitor)
--More frequent communication and enhanced situational awareness required.
Because of side by side seating the student pilot must be helped to find where to look for putting the nose wheel on the taxiway center line. Move the plane so as to be centered on a line. Have the student seated as usual and from a distance of thirty feet, slowly move in stages toward the aircraft nose. To the student you will be aligned with the center of students yoke. The center line due to parallax goes between the student's legs though some use the inside leg for aiming.. A post solo student might be helped by an instructor some distance ahead and facing the taxiing aircraft giving arm signals. See the AIM for taxiing signals.
The most likely aircraft accident occurs while taxiing. Casual taxiing and parking attitudes are preludes to accidents. Taxi scared. It is not possible to taxi too slowly but some compromise with the practical requires a speed equivalent fast walk. Always taxi as though the wind were at thirty knots to acquire expertise in the correct yoke movement. In real windy conditions you will have less than ten seconds to correctly position the controls.
Arrive at the run up area so as to allow the engine to face the wind for additional cooling and to allow maximum room for other aircraft. Circumstances such as blowing dust or noise may require that aircraft be facing a specific direction while in the runup area. Remain as far back from the taxiway as possible to allow safe passage of long winged aircraft.
Taxiing is flying with the wheels on the ground. There are only two dimensions and you must control direction and speed. You can control the speed with the throttle and the direction with the combination of rudder and brake. Reduce power once you start rolling. The wind effecting the wing and rudder are the imponderables that require anti-instinctive control movements of the yoke. Staying on the yellow lines should give obstacle clearance but watch out anyway. The exception to this is when there is snow/ice on existing tire tracks. Be original, make your own tracks.
Taxiing starts once you leave the parking spot after doing the brake check. Taxiing also begins when you cross the hold bar lines on clearing the runway and completing the post-landing checklist. Difficulty controlling taxi direction is indicative of a brake or wind problem. If you are having taxiing difficulty, slow down. Make sharp turns with careful use of a brake-power combination. Do all taxiing that does not involve sharp turns by use of the rudder pedals and not the brakes. Do not ride the brakes. At the first opportunity get a look at their size and you will see why. Hot brakes lose their ability to stop the plane.
Clearing the final and BASE should be a part of every takeoff. Monitoring the radio, alone, is not sufficient insurance to be sure that another aircraft will not make your takeoff more thrilling than usual.
The POH usually indicates a neutral for head and tail winds and all . For all other winds dive away from quartering winds behind you and climb into any quartering headwinds. In winds less than 20 knots I believe that you are just as well off diving away from any wind behind you and climbing into any kind of head wind.
Taxiing hand signals are self evident. When you turn off the magnetos it is a courtesy to show the keys to the line boy in front of the airplane.
--Readback all runway crossing and/or hold short instructions
--Review airport layouts in preflight, prelanding and while taxiing
--Know the signage (AIM)
--When doubtful request progressive instructions
--Check for traffic at intersections before crossing
--Expedite clearing runway and wait for taxi instructions
--Use proper radio phraseology
--Write down complex taxi clearances when unfamiliar
--Know where you are
--Locate where you want to go.
--Request your own selected route
--Compare with ATC selected route(s)
--Anticipate ATC's decisions
–Watch out for intersecting runways
--Don't trust ATC to keep you safe.
--When runways are parallel, get a clearance for crossing each one.
--When in doubt stop, unless on a runway, get help by radio.
An incursion is when anything on the ground creates a collision hazard with an active runway area. Human error is the primary cause. These are errors by pilots, airport personnel, ATC, animals, and pedestrians. Part of the cause is inherent in airport design and may be local or airport-specific. Some problem areas are not visible to ATC.
Runway incursions are accidents waiting to happen. Safe operation on an airports is a challenge especially to the unfamiliar pilot. Safety depends on planning, coordination and communication. At unfamiliar larger airports you must maintain situational awareness, have an airport diagram with written instructions. Copy your taxi clearance. Track it on the chart and then give a read-back for confirmation. You must know your starting position and mentally project yourself along the taxi route assigned. It helps to say aloud where you are and where you are going as you go.
Instruction should include the importance of clearing prior to taking any runway. 360s at uncontrolled airports are preferred. Students should be familiar with airport markings as presented in the AIM. A student should never take a 'cleared for immediate' ATC offer nor do I believe ATC should make such an offer to a student pilot. Poor visibility greatly increases the likelihood of a runway incursion.
19% increase in 1996 records.
71% by GA pilots.
Runway incursions have risen 50% since 1991.
Incursions are most likely to occur at night and in low visibility.
Misunderstanding, situational awareness and marginal airport markings are proximate causes.
A skeptical pilot who clears a runway before entrance is separating a memorable event from one that portends tragedy. Preventative measures are common sense and apply to all airports and all runways. Failure of a pilot to clear a runway without an adequate scan of the approach flight path to both sides of the airport is a form of Russian roulette. Impatience or stress is usually the driving force behind a runway incursion. Ignorance runs second. No part of an aircraft should intrude on the wrong side of the hold bars. Hold bars are made up of four yellow lines two dashed - - - - lines and two _____solid lines. You hold when the solid lines are on your side, you cross when the dashed lines are on your side.
1. Check NOTAMs and airport diagrams.
2. Proper phraseology
3. Check and monitor radios
4. Use lights
5. Get ATIS/AWOS and monitor CTAF
6. Avoid using land and hold short clearances.
7. Clear and report clear of runway when across the hold bars.
8. If at all uncertain of location or taxi route, get help.
Runway incursions are a real problem often made worse by poor visibility and confused pilots. IFR departures from uncontrolled airports may not be monitoring the CTAF. Incursions seem to be related to being on the wrong runway, using another aircraft's clearance, misinterpretation of airport signs or lines, and communication failures.
25 are operational by ATC
55 are pilot violations
20 are vehicle or pedestrian violations
Risk (seriousness) of incursion is classed alphabetically
from A to D or high risk to little risk of accident
--A high risk of accident
--B significant risk of accident
--C some risk with time for avoidance
--D little risk
--Proportion of incursions equates with proportions of airplanes
--Failure to hold short as instructed by ATC is most common
--2/3 of those incursions occurred after pilot acknowledged instructions but still went ahead
--Hearing is affected to a high degree by what you expect to hear.
--Hold bars have one side with dashes and the other a solid bar line.
--Dash through the dashes
--CFI to set example and standards
--Set-up by preplanning all ground movement
FAA Runway Incursion Avoidance Advice
--Readback all assignments and hold shorts
--Use airport diagrams for landings and taxiing.
--Know the signage
--Review airport NOTAMS
--Request progressive taxi and assistance.
--Clear runway when able and await taxi instructions
--Use proper radio phraseology
--Write out complex taxi instructions and then request progressive.
The pilot is likely to be guilty of an incursion by not holding short or of entering a runway without a clearance. Wisest to ask ATC if you have any taxiing doubts. The causes of incursions are likely to be lack of familiarity with the airport and ATC procedures. The FAA only counts incursions that occur at controlled airports.
Out of 5000 total airports only 467 have towers. Only 16 of these 467 airports have 1/4 of all runway incursions.41 of them have 50% of the incursions. 40% of all incursions are ATC initiated. A runway transgression is an incursion that causes a traffic conflict. This usually involves crossing a holding line without clearance or using a runway without a clearance. A transgression can occur on a taxiway. Incursions alone without the transgression usually result in a go-around or an aborted takeoff. Ground vehicle operations account for 21% of incursions.
Aircraft at controlled airports have transgressions derived from five general causes.
--Expectation bias; (Causes 1/4 of problems)
--A Positional awareness problem; (Being unfamiliar with airport)
--ATC/pilot communications problem; (Call-sign confusion is a mistake multiplier) Directional sign confusion (See latest AIM)
Uncontrolled airports cannot have transgressions. Incursions at uncontrolled airports are caused by poor clearing practices, inadequate use of CTAF, or the 'expected behavior bias' problem. Expectation bias means that one or the other pilots expect the other to behave in a particular way in a given circumstance. If, for some reason or other, the pilot does not perform as expected then the pilot holding the bias is set up for an incursion of one form or another. The three major factors can singularly or in combination made an accident chain leading to an accident. An unfamiliar airport's ground operations can be the most demanding and complex phase of flying.
--Procedures and orientation
1. Never assume or it will make an ass out of u and me.
2. Readback all ground instructions verbatim.
3. Stick to business until shutdown.
4. Scan outside the cockpit
5. Ask for help sooner than later.
6. Use your lights
7. Use and listen to the radio.
8. Use standard procedures.
Incursions are caused by three sources, ATC, pilots, and vehicle/pedestrian. ATC caused incursions remains relatively constant but pilot caused incursions have risen dramatically. When an incursion accident does occur it results in serious fatalities.
Checking for traffic before entering a runway is a basic premise
of all ground movement. Knowing where to look is a part of this
premise. You should position your aircraft so as to make visual
clearance easy and positive. Failure to check both left and right
base as well as final approach leaves you vulnerable. Not all
aircraft have radios and many who do, do not give position reports.
I recently had a driving experience that made the problem very real. I had a total electrical failure in a Volvo where everything failed but the engine. No radio, now air-conditioning, no electric windows, no radio, no horn, no lights and no signal lights. We were miles from home and mostly multi-lane freeways. I had no way to legally change lanes using hand signals or light signals. Changing lanes was an exercise in caution and spacing. This is the way NORDO aircraft must fly and operate. All aircraft should use the same cautionary procedures at all airports. You must be aware of your position and the likely and unlikely position of other aircraft.
It was a joy to see that way pilots/aircraft cooperated to make the 2000 fly-in at Pickneyville work. A single runway and single mid-field taxiway to and off the runway. As many NORDO as those with coms. Taxiway conflicts had to be coordinated with the landings and takeoffs since the entryway was at mid-field. In my own case I used a short approach and a long landing so that half of the runway could be quickly used by the three or four aircraft waiting to get to the takeoff end. Their getting on to the runway cleared the taxiway for me.
Every bureaucracy has a built in survival/expansion program. The more a program fails, the more need for expansion. Program selection is best if it is the largest possible event-occurrence and least likely to respond to regulation, training and technology.
Incursion potential on airports provides unlimited violation opportunities perhaps far exceeding those in the air. Ground violations are more easily detected than those in the air. What we have is an area with all the potential of our 'drug war'. A demand for huge expenditures of money with little discernable results. The very best of bureaucratic worlds
Any violation of the rules of safety goes through a series of steps that may vary in sequence, they are:
1.--A clearance or assumption problem;
A pilot must understand the signage of an airport, where to look for runway and taxiway information and be able to follow taxi instructions based upon magnetic headings.
2.--A communications or presumption problem;
A pilot must be able to follow standard phraseology and be prepared to request and follow 'progressive' instructions.
3.--A 'get there from here' problem;
A pilot is expected to have a current airport diagram and know the standard signs illustrated in the AIM.
4.--A knowing where you are and where 'they' are, problem. Use of cockpit and ATC resources to maintain situational awareness.
--Two out of three incursions consist of entering a runway without a clearance.
--Over half of the incursions are made by single engine aircraft.
--Most frequent incursions are by low time and low time in type pilots.
--3/4 of all ground 'deviations' are by general aviation pilots.
Statistical Analysis of Runway Incursion
Categories are ABCD
A Collision avoided only by extreme action
B Potential for collision due to decreased separation
C Decreased separation but time available for avoidance.
D Little or no risk of collision
--Below minimum separation
--On runway movement area without ATC authorization
--Inside movement area without ATC authorization
--Inside movement area without ATC authorization
Summary (Rounded percentages)
--Pedestrian/Vehicle occasions were 75 percent Class D and only 2 percent Class B with none in Class A
--Pilot occasions were evenly divided at 14 percent in Classes A and B and 84 percent in Classes C and D
--ATC occasions were evenly divided at 84 percent in Classes C and D and 16 percent in Classes A and B
--Pilots violate FARs most frequently in the aircraft, when driving or even walking.
--Incursion not affected by aircraft type.
--Airport volume may be factor. 32 busiest have 37 percent of Class A incursions.
--Reduction in other classes of incursion causes reduction in Class A incursions
--Better evaluation system for airports required.
--Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) gives visual and aural alerts to ATC (Never worked- cancelled)
.Non-Movement Airport Areas
I think "movement area" is about the dumbest, most mis-leading name the FAA has ever come up with for anything.
The separation of the two areas is an alternating broken line
A "movement area" is just that part of the airport's surface that is controlled by the ground controller. Non-movement areas are places like the ramp where you can move on your own without having to talk to ground
In other words, without talking to ground, you can move in a non-movement area, but you can't move in a movement area. Clear as mud. Why couldn't they have just named them something logical like "controlled" and "uncontrolled" areas?
October 2003 Development (PROJECT FAILED)
The latest FAA Anti-Incursion program consists of using the Marker Beacon frequency that is installed on a relatively high percentage of aircraft on towered airports. Under pavement sensors are installed that
broadcast through the Marker Beacon to location of any aircraft triggering the sensor. The broadcast tells the aircraft its location on the airport. This system is currently undergoing testing at Concord, CA on the taxiways of Buchannan Field. The volume of the Marker Beacon must be high enough to be heard.
Getting the ATIS
One of my readers asked that I expand of the following statement: "The student will benefit from getting the ATIS with the engine running at all times."
As a teacher I used several techniques that I found successful in the teaching of children. I found that hungry kids learn faster and better. After the lunch bell I would line the kids by the door. I would start a tape with math such as a mixture of multiplication and division tables. The tape would say the problem and after a pause of a second would give the answer. If the kid beat the tape to the answer, he got to go to lunch. Otherwise, he went to the end of the line. Worked with rote things such as states and capitols etc.
I have found that it is a tremendous advantage to be able to get the ATIS the first time every time. I have also found, that the expense of having the engine running is a prime motivation to listen and get the ATIS quickly and efficiently. I have had many pilots come to me who, even with the engine off, as you do will listen to the ATIS several times. In a 150 mph aircraft it becomes very inefficient for the pilot to slow down to C-150 speed just to get the ATIS.
My intent in getting the ATIS, as well as all of my primary instruction, is to prepare students for life after the C-150. I have received many belated compliments for using this ATIS method from students who have gone on to IFR copying of the ATIS and clearances.
I suggest writing the ATIS on the hand. I use a + format and let the vertical line represent the runway. In the top left quadrant I put the "name" of the ATIS. At the top of the + I put the runway used for takeoff and landing. In the top right quadrant I put the wind direction and in the bottom left quadrant I put the wind velocity. The lower right quadrant gets at least the last two digits of the altimeter setting. These are the essentials. I may make the vertical part of the + into a runway and draw an vector arrow to show the crosswind direction and velocity. I don't bother getting the visibility and weather. I already know the conditions or I wouldn't be sitting in the plane getting the ATIS.
The other ATIS information can be observed or noted without writing. Where an instrument runway number is always on the ATIS, ignore it when it is not the "landing" runway. Where the departure runway is into an instrument procedure route you will, be given a place to 'break off' your approach or where to expect instrument arrivals to 'break off'. Look out, some don't. It is best to keep your head up in the cockpit.
Pilots with their heads down have rolled, unknowingly, into other aircraft while copying the ATIS. You do not need to look down at a lap-board as you write the ATIS. It is best to keep your head up and an eye outside the cockpit. Never, never rely on a parking brake. Don't look down to your lap while writing the ATIS or other information. Find a way to do your writing 'heads up'.
The student will benefit from getting the ATIS with the engine running at all times. The cost for time on the ground will be recovered many times over in the air. This puts economic, as well as mental pressure, on his ability to WRITE the ATIS first time it is broadcast. This is a skill that can be learned and acquired. The dividend is a flying career time/cost saver. You can practice at home on the phone by calling the ATIS number at your nearest airport. (See phone numbers)
ATIS sequence 1999
Wind direction and velocity
Temperature and dew point
Active runway and Approach in use
When to Say the ATIS Phonetic
With the increased insistence of ATC on reading back the ATIS, I have found that any time I include the ATIS phonetic in the body of my call, ATC asks me to confirm that I have the ATIS. I have found that I can avoid the problem by always saying the ATIS phonetic at the very end. It works.
The conversion of kinetic into heat energy is what slows an airplane. The size and material of the brake determines its effectiveness in making this conversion and its effectiveness in slowing and stopping a vehicle or airplane.
Every brake has a point at which it will lose effectiveness. Heat will at some point cause braking to fade. Rust is another factor in aircraft brakes. Rust particles become embedded in the fiber disk and wears away on the disk
Most aircraft are parked in rows that require them to be pushed back into their allotted space. At my home field the aircraft are parked in rows. The incompetent pilot swerves far too close to one side of the land and then makes a sweeping turn to face away from his tie-down. Over the years more of our club planes have been damaged by such a procedure than by any other cause. A skilled pilot can make the turn very smoothly with brake and power while keeping the cockpit over the taxi center line. One of the last things a student learns to do well is taxi. 46% of all aircraft damaged results from taxiing impact.
I am of a nature to believe that everything worthwhile has been invented by a lazy man. This even applies to pre-historic times as well as present day. Why is a computer better than a typewriter? Being able to align an aircraft cleanly into position so that it can be pushed back into its space without a tow bar is a skill that pays off during the first rain. At some point in a pilot's flying career he is going to need this skill big time. Better to get the basics early.
Radio to Taxi
Never transmit on the radio without practicing what to say while holding the microphone to your lips. It does no good to practice without the microphone. Take a deep breath and get all the words out smoothly without pause or punctuation. Don't broadcast until you have mastered what and how to say everything. The order of words is often as important as the words themselves. For our convenience all practice will use the ATIS as "Alpha".
Concord Ground Who you are talking to...
Cessna 6185 Kilo Who you are...
East ramp taxi with Alpha Where you are...
request three two right What you want...
This should come out an a smooth series of words without punctuation
or pauses, as....
Concord Ground Cessna 6185 Kilo East ramp with Alpha request three-two right (32R is the runway, Alpha is the ATIS)
Practice, with the un-keyed microphone, until you get it right.
Then say it with the keyed mike. We usually ask for the closest
runway that wind conditions make usable. If ATC is unable or
unwilling they will make a runway assignment. You will find the
radio much easier to understand if you know what to expect ATC
(Air Traffic Control) to say. The usual ATC response will be...
85 Kilo taxi to 32R
Almost every ATC communication needs to be acknowledged and sometimes repeated back for verification. Your response would be...
"85 Kilo to 32R
All runway assignments are to be read back whether on the ground or in the air. A clearance to taxi lets you taxi anywhere on the airport as long as you do not intrude on the runways in use. The usual expectation is that you will proceed be the shortest route but it is not required. Let ATC know if you plan to wander.
Have clearly in mind where you are, where you are going, and the route to get you there. If ever in a situation where you are unfamiliar as to where you are or how to get where you are going on the ground advise the controller. If ever in doubt, ask for help. Just say, 85k is unfamiliar request progressive taxi assistance
This tells the controller that you expect him to advise you where to go and turn as you proceed. It is a sign of professional competence to admit when you require help. It is just as important to know how to get help as it is to know the way. You are going to be landing at many strange airports where the ability to get timely assistance is important.
Airport courtesy extends beyond the rules of right of way. Don't use strobe lights on the ground. Give preference to aircraft which operate on time schedules or are large users of fuel. (Fire suppression aircraft always deserve right of way.) In the run up area use the wheel instead of the wingtip as your guide to the edge. Give the taxiway as much clearance as possible to allow passage of long winged aircraft. Practice using as little of the run up area as you can safely so that you will develop the skills needed when little space is available. Though not required, General Aviation planes can develop good feelings toward their activities by giving way to commercial operations where practical.
A pilot should enter a run up area and park in such a way as to minimize the space occupied as a courtesy to other aircraft. The position, ideally, should not intrude on the ability of other aircraft to run up, use a taxiway or have runway access. The fighter wingman position seems to be the best option when arriving after other aircraft. All too often do we see three planes occupying space meant for five or more.
Arrive at the run up area so as to allow the engine to face
the wind for additional cooling and to allow maximum room for
other aircraft. Do not let yourself be hurried into a takeoff
by ATC or otherwise. A hurried departure may not allow you to
properly clear the runway approaches. Plan your turn to clear
the runway so as to give a large turning arc for smooth alignment
and acceleration. Remember, ATC only gives clearances. Responsibility for
and the safety
of any action resides with the pilot. Practice for the departure
communication with the tower to include "on course to destination)"
and a request for a time check. This serves as a mini-flight
plan which is recorded as well as gaining an experience in noting Zulu time.
Recently I was exposed to an FBO instructional program where the chief pilot suggested that I perform in some situations contrary to what I felt to be within the bounds of flying etiquette. I was told not to avoid a particular flight path when I knew I was being followed by a much faster aircraft. I was told to ignore the suggested altitude over a Federal Game Refuge because the altitude 'suggested' was not in the FARs. Finally, when I suggested that slow flight in the pattern as a full-time procedure was inconsiderate for other aircraft, I was told that avoidance was 'their' problem.
Ramp etiquette requires the calling of "clear" and acknowledgement of those in the area. A pilot is also responsible for the consequences of prop blast and usage of runup space. Room for four aircraft can be limited to one aircraft that is inconsiderate. On the ground etiquette practices are likely to be practiced in the air. Midair collisions are most likely to occur in the immediate vicinity of airports and more so at uncontrolled airports. Uncontrolled airport procedures have recommended practices as to pattern and radio procedures. Those who fail to follow recommended practices are exposing themselves and others to unnecessary risks.
--Remain watchful of things on the ground, moving, aircraft extensions and noises.
--Tiedown cables are not always on the ground, engines start without warning calls,
--Always walk around and clear of propeller arc range regardless of propeller angle.
--Do not touch bare aluminum with hands, skin oils can initiate corrosion.
--Aircraft aluminum is relatively fragile and easily bent
--On average a propeller hurts or kills one person a month. Be careful.
--Only soft clean cloth with proper cleaners should be used to wipe aircraft and plastic windows
--Washing excess lubricants off of moving parts and hinges does more damage than good.
--Getting into an airplane requires thought and planning as to where and how to put your feet and legs.
--Avoid pulling and putting your weight on doors, seats, and plastic panels.
--Make sure that you are not closing door on a belt or object after being seated.
--If you expect to adjust seat height do so before getting into aircraft.
--Do not slam doors. Pull doors tight before locking handle.
--Aircraft fuels have explosive capability. Inside or outside, fumes should not be allowed.
--As a pilot or passenger you should insure aircraft is grounded before being refueled.
--Do not hold on to aircraft extensions or parts that are not specifically designed for holding.
--Move the moveable parts gently but through their full extensions when preflighting.
--Learn where to look for cracks and to determine if a crack is structural or cosmetic
--Check fluids in such a way as to avoid ground contamination.
--Learn how to visually check tire condition and inflation.
--The pre-flighter of an aircraft should not be disturbed during the preflight.
Use a run-up checklist. Always face the wind. (Engine cooling is the reason.) We are not teaching a flying career made only of C-150s. We should teach with the C-150 the procedures that will follow over to high performance aircraft. An efficient runup should take only a minute or two at most. When checking controls your thumb always points to the up aileron. Index with your finger how much throttle will give the desired RPM. Learn the sound/feel for 1700 and 800 to save time. An airplane is just a expensive to operate on the ground as in the air.
Check your controls with the 'thumbs up' technique using the left hand and multiple head movements. The left thumb up always points to the up aileron and the head turn confirms both an up and down aileron. Elevators are confirmed up and down and rudder left and right. The right hand remains on the throttle while the left locates and touches the ampere meter and suction. Touching the item on the checklist is an insurance confirmation for the observer. (examiner). The power is indexed to 800 rpm by feel and sound. (Instructor covers tachometer). Flight instruments and set and checked. A frequent error is in setting the heading indicator with the compass because the numbers are transposed..
I teach indexes for throttle position. From idle at 800 rpm, the throttle held in the palm of the hand and the index finger moved back the length of a fingernail. Throttle is moved in until finger tip touches throttle clutch. This should give the 1700 rpm required for the magneto check. Repeat this exercise several times. Student should learn to do this by sound and feel. I have had several instances where this kind of operational knowledge of position and sound has changed emergency into routine. Think, no cockpit lights at night or no airspeed indication. This indexing skill should be taught for both power settings and power reductions.
I present magneto checking as a smooth switching via count as 1-2, 1-2, 1,1 with the eyes focused on the tachometer to note rpm drop and difference. Some pilots tend to leave the engine operating on one magneto overly long. It only takes a moment to check. The hand moves to and pulls and pushes the carb heat while the eyes note drop when on and recovery when off. If, during runup, you should accidentally go to OFF fully retard the throttle before turning magnetos back on. This prevents after-firing that can and will damage the exhaust system.
Knowing the airport altitude is an additional aid to knowing the altimeter setting. The best altimeter setting is from an accurate copy of the ATIS information.
A good run-up should take only two or three minutes. Any longer is indicative of inefficiency or poor checklist techniques. Some pilots use a finger-count method to keep items in order. Others work systematically across the panel. Use whatever works best for you. Using 'cockpit' checklist is just about the worst thing you can do short of not using a list at all. Dry run the next radio call up procedures until they come out smoothly, accurately, and completely. Discuss the taxiing, clearing turn to be made to check for aircraft on base leg and climb out departure plan. No turn over 30 degrees should ever be made without both looking and saying "clear".
Into wind Flap/(Pump)
Controls Trim for climb
Mags/C.H. Time Ck
RPM 1st CkPt
Radios set Time
Taxiing instruction (Instructor)
The nose wheel linkage, tire pressure, spring tension, and seat position affect taxiing and often cause turns in one direction to be easier than in the other. Winds over 12 kts can cause the aircraft to weather vane. Learn to compensate for both aircraft linkage and the wind. The competent pilot stays on the yellow line. Since the steering of the Cessna uses two springs in which one spring usually has a different tension, a different degree of anticipation is required to make turns. Learn to taxi with a minimum of braking because the brake pads are not much larger than a silver dollar. Braking is used only for making sharp turns and stopping. Take the student through several left and right turns by applying brake pressure.
The first skill element of taxiing is developing a smooth movement of the throttle control. This skill may be taught by holding the Cessna throttle knob in the palm of the hand and using the index finger as a lock and guide. I recommend holding Piper quadrant throttles with the thumb up and palm forward. Taxi instruction begins by practicing smooth throttle movement from 800 RPM up to 1200 RPM and back again. The aircraft idles at 800 but the brakes must be held on. It takes 1200 RPM to get the aircraft moving for taxiing, but once moving 800 will maintain the fast walk speed desired. While circumstances may vary, the "fast walk" speed seems most desirable. If brakes are applied during this slow taxi for turning or otherwise then power must be smoothly re-applied and then reduced once desired speed is acquired. Power is also needed if a small grade must be climbed. Each phase of flight deserves an equal level of attention. A poor control decision while taxiing can be just as dangerous as one made in flight.
The first taxiing lesson should be done with feet alone and hands off the yoke. Using a straight taxi area clear of obstructions have the student practice a controlled weave of the plane in S-turns from one side of the taxiway to the other using just rudder pressure and no brakes. After the feel of the bungee springs seems to be acquired, have the student attempt to follow the center line of the taxiway with only the use of rudder pressures.
The second skill of taxiing is the use of rudder in combination with the brakes. The student must be shown that the position and pressures of the feet and toes determines the amount of turning effect from the bungee springs and brake. Every effort should be made to effect turning without the use of brakes. Brake applications should be the minimum needed either to turn or stop. Some aircraft brake pads are not much larger than a silver dollar. Tighter turns requiring a light application of brakes should be introduced during the next lesson. Some of the turns should include coming to a smooth stop while straightening the nose wheel. Finally several 360 degree continuous turns should be performed both left and right with decreasing radii.
You seldom hear of taxiing practice. Taxiing may not be flying
but it deserves the same care, planning and awareness as any
other flight operation. Before beginning to taxi, determine the
wind direction and set the yoke. Check brakes at first roll.
Another brake check might be made (lightly) on touchdown. Under
certain conditions an off center taxi or landing may be appropriate
on slick surfaces.
Get student to taxi using rudder pedals only. No yoke (yet) or brakes. This will teach anticipation and a sense of how much spring pressure is available to turn in either direction. some adjustment of seat may be required to prevent use of brakes. Have student weave to each side of centerline, anticipate turns with full rudder pressure, and use brakes only when absolutely necessary.
Next taxi exercise will be to use combination of smooth brake pressure. and power to make several left and right turns of 360, 270, and 180-degrees. The turns should be made with minimum brake and power and nose wheel should be straight on completion of turn. Later turn should be varied as to brake and power to increase sharpness of turn. As part of the exercise you should practice coming out of the turns on lines with the nosewheel straight, much as you would for entering alignment to a parking space. It will take some practice.
Next taxi exercise will be to simulate winds or use actual winds for all taxiing. It is essential that the student master the basics of taxiing prior to solo. It is a matter of safety.
Emphasize that yoke position will be taught during subsequent lessons. Taxiing is the last skill mastered by pilots. The difficulty arises from a conflict with past driving practice. The turn with the feet may be to the right while the turn of the yoke with the hand may be to the left. This is a difficult unlearning exercise for most of us. Taxiing is one of the last operational skills mastered and the one that is the first indicator of a pilot's competence. Taxi at a speed appropriate to your skill, the aircraft, and conditions.
In aircraft you cannot turn unless you are moving. Any turning while moving too fast can seriously damage the aircraft by putting excessive side loads of the landing gear. It is best that all heavy braking be done straight ahead so that less braking will be required while turning. This is especially true when exiting a runway. Taxi instruction should include a series of turns that involve increasingly tight turns combined with stopping the turn with the nose wheel straight in a selected direction. This skill is similar to that required in parking a car.
I have several taxi specific lessons that I incorporate into my flight instruction. The first is weaving side to side on the longest available taxiway. I want the student to realize the differences between the wingtip and the wheel location. I want the taxiing to be done in anticipation for the inherent differences in pedal application, brake pressures and wind effect. All elevator/aileron inputs are made with full deflection while taxiing.
The student needs to understand the braking system as it functions in conjunction with the rudder pedals. Different manufacturers, because of patents have devised different systems. Cessna has a spring linkage to the nose-wheel that is pulled (more or less--sometimes it pulls more other times less) in both directions just by pushing in on the rudder. Once the pedal is fully depressed the pilot the pilot can increase the rate of turn by depressing the top of the pedal for differential braking. The foot is flexed at the ankle to apply braking only after the entire foot is fully depressed to get maximum tension on the spring.. The linkage of the pedal to the nose wheel is removed once airborne so that the wheel does not turn in the air. This makes crosswind landings easier since the wheel is aligned with the relative wind on landing.
On the other hand, Piper has its rudder and nose-wheel working in concert all the time. On the ground or in the air you get left rudder movement and a left turned nose wheel when applying left rudder with your foot. Because of this direct linkage the rudder should be placarded against the use of any hand movement while on the ground. Additionally this linkage means that crosswind landings require that the nose wheel be held clear of the runway until the rudder has been aligned with the relative wind. The more positive feel of the Piper seems to make taxiing easier. American Yankee types all use differential braking. This means that all turns require more or less braking to affect the free- castering nose wheel.
My next lesson is teaching yoke position based upon wind direction. This is a counter-intuitive situation where the direction you move the yoke may have no relationship to the direction to intend to turn or are turning. For the first three or four full circles I do the taxiing while making stops every 90 degrees.
I start with a quartering head wind so that each quadrant I stop at will have full control deflection. I will make a full 360 to the left followed by a full 360 to the right. Once I feel the student has the idea I will make a very slow 360 in each direction while the student thinks through the yoke movements required. This is not easy for the student. The full deflection change may be required by only the aileron or by both the aileron and elevator. On the follow-up lesson I will require the student to do both the taxiing and the yoke movements. Periodic reviews are worthwhile if the student lapses into careless or improper yoke positions during normal taxiing.
The advanced skill of taxiing is the use of the yoke which needs to be positioned so that a wind gust will not flip the airplane over. A formula that applies primarily to tail draggers but works just as well for tricycle is, dive away from the wind behind and climb into the wind ahead. Introduce this to the student when stopped. Show how the wind direction dictates the yoke position. The most likely aircraft accident occurs while taxiing. It is not possible to taxi too slow but some compromise with the practical requires a speed equivalent to a fast walk. Always taxi as though the wind were at thirty knots to acquire expertise in the correct yoke movement.
Yoke full left Yoke full right
full back full forward
Yoke level Yoke level
full back full forward
Yoke full right Yoke full left
full back full forward
I have found that before starting the engine some practice in yoke control can be given by turning the heading indicator with a pre-selected wind direction to various positions and having the student position the yoke. This can be followed by having the student close his eyes and position the yoke according to where the instructor has set the 'wind direction' on opening his eyes. The most advanced stage of this process would be by having the instructor call out differing wind directions in rather quick succession while the student tries to keep the yoke properly positioned.
Early on, find a large open ramp for taxi practice. So advise Ground Control. Initially geographic points may be used as indicators but the heading indicator should take precedence as an indicator and reference. The student should keep in mind the heading indicator number than shows the wind. Face the aircraft at an 45 degree angle from the wind. Help the student position the controls so that the wind passing over the ailerons will hold the wing down. Discuss how the movement of the wind in this particular direction helps hold the wing down as it moves over the aileron. Make successive 90 degree turns and stop. Position the yoke at each stop. Discuss the wind effect at each stop.
Next position the aircraft as before and make a slow 360 to the right while the student moves the yoke. Use the heading indicator to set a wind direction. Don't expect miracles from the student. Stop in the original position and make a slow 360 to the left.
Beginning at a 45-degree angle to the wind, real or selected.
Make successive 90-degree continuous turns through 360-degrees
both left and right. During each turn the yoke will be positioned
according to 'wind'. The next left-right turns can be slow, stopping
only if the yoke is not correctly positioned.
This is another good time to show that the "sum of the digits" on the heading indicator remains the same for each 90 degrees. 030=3; 120=3; 210=3 and 300=3 for example. The final check is to execute a continuous 360 while the student positions the yoke throughout. Again do both left and right turns. Finally, have the student execute a series of 90 degree turns either stopping or continuous as his skills require. Depending on wind direction and the direction of the turn, a right movement of the yoke may be required during a left turn or a left movement of the yoke may be appropriate for a right turn. Use the wind sock or ATIS wind direction and select a corresponding number on the heading indicator to serve as a guide for determining yoke position.
It is important to note that the yoke position required for
crosswind landing roll out is exactly the yoke position required
for taxiing. Full yoke movement is used while taxiing in full
forward or back as well as left or right. Failure to have the
yoke in the proper position at any time either in high winds
or when taxiing behind a jet could result in a ground level roll
over. Once the wind gets under the wing it is too late.
Once the basic yoke movements while taxiing have been acquired, all subsequent ground movements should be made as though the wind velocities were sufficient to flip the plane. A great deal of practice is required to overcome the habits acquired by driving a car. These yoke positions should be practiced until they are automatic. It only takes a few seconds for a wind gust to flip an airplane. You can't always plan the wind velocity at a destination. Taxi as though winds were always at 30 knots and let the student know how many times he has been turned over by these hypothetical winds on the way to the run up area. If your situation allows, try to expose the student to a variety of routes and runways about the airport. Calm or light wind conditions which are more common than high winds cause complacency and lack of practice. Taxi scared and prepared.
Response to an Email
When in the air you are flying the plane and for any crosswind you are usually expected to hold the nose straight with rudder and the wing down into the wind in a side slip to maintain runway alignment. When taxiing the yoke is always held for the full limits of movement. Always all the way over and all the way forward or back. When flying you only use as much rudder and yoke as required to maintain airspeed and runway alignment. On the ground you must anticipate the sudden gust that will flip you before you have a chance to react. Always use full yoke movement into or away from the wind even in the lightest of winds. The habits developed only have to save you and the airplane once for a full pay-back.
Yoke positions are NOT intuitive. Yoke may go right when turning
left. Setting the heading bug, if you have one, makes it easier.
Otherwise watch the direction of the wind from the heading indicator and
anticipate the yoke change for every turn of the aircraft.
Teaching Taxi Skills
I do several 15-minute taxi-practice sessions with new students. For your information, taxiing is the last 'flying' skill pilots learn to do well.. Taxiing is the first thing you start doing by yourself and the last thing you master. The hardest part is to get the pilots to differentiate between the spring tension and brake effect on Cessnas. The combined use of rudder, brake and power are different for nearly every Cessna aircraft model and type.
I begin by having the student to S-turns to each side of a taxiway line. Shallow at first with rudder-spring only and then in combination with spring and brake. Then we spin a few 'doughnuts' trying to get them able to position into the wind and into alignment for push-back into a parking space. Other aircraft types taxi differently but the basic control use remains the same.
Then I do a series of turns while the student practices positioning the
yoke for winds. I stop every 90-degrees but begin with the wind 45-degrees off
the nose. I do this in both directions with me doing the turning. Then I have
the student try to do the same series but stopping each time to confirm that
the yoke position is correct. Graduation comes when the student can give me
repeated opposite direction 360's while positioning the yoke correctly.
A gusting wind to 30-40 knots will not allow you to delay or do it wrong for over 5-seconds. 46% of all aircraft accidents occur on the ground while taxiing. It is very difficult to do only 'minor' damage to an aircraft. So, the importance of knowing how to taxi well should not be taken lightly.
Finally, you should read all of the latest FAA AC about taxiing. Near the end of 2003 the FAA published AC 91-73A. It has all the latest 'STANDARDS' for taxiing You are most likely to have a license loss or suspension for a taxiing violation that is contrary to the new recommendations since you should never get into an aircraft without having 'all available information". without being held accountable by the FARs even though its an AC.
1. Gross Weight and Center of Gravity
Gross weight is the empty weight plus useful load. You must check the POH to see if empty weight includes oil but it always includes unusable fuel. Useful load includes useable fuel, (oil?), passengers, and luggage.
Gross weight directly affects stall, takeoff speed, and maneuvering speeds. An improperly loaded aircraft will have undesirable flight qualities. If you have doubts or don't know, refer to the POH. The Va, maneuvering speed decreases as aircraft weight decreases.
2. Density Altitude
Density altitude combines the effect of pressure altitude and temperature. This affects engine power, propeller thrust, and the speed/distance required to create takeoff lift. This increases the lenght of runway required for landing.
A headwind will reduce takeoff roll. A tailwind will increase takeoff roll. Regardless of the wind you always fly indicated POH airspeeds. A 90-degree crosswind does not affect takeoff roll distance. Liftoff during takeoffs in gusty wind conditions should be done at Vso + 5.
4. "What if... Planning
See Takeoff Emergency
Radio frequencies are changed and monitored before call up. Transponder is activated, gauges and instruments are scanned and mixture to rich. Outside the aircraft is cleared. The EMERGENCY checklist is positioned. Practice the radio procedure for completeness, brevity, and smoothness in entirety until it comes out in the correct order without pauses of punctuation. Then the frequency is checked and the call made.
After arrival at the runway, a direction of departure must be determined. It is a good practice for the departure communication with the tower to include "on course to (place)" and a request for a time check. This serves as a mini-flight plan which is recorded as well an experience in noting time. It is more specific as to direction with regard to traffic advisories. This departure allows us a direct route if approved by ATC. We don't have to go there, just head in that direction. Sometimes a runway will have special restrictions. 32Lat CCR, has a requirement that you pass the railroad tracks before making the left crosswind. Read the advisory signs at all airports.
Departing on a given runway has several options. The standard departure is a 45 degree turn after reaching 600' at CCR. To the right on a right runway; to the left on a left runway. All other departures must be requested.
You may request:
"R/L 270 overhead...
Practice until your call-up comes out smoothly as...
Concord Tower Cessna 6185K ready 32R on course...(to)
85K cleared for takeoff on course (place) approved.
Another clearance may be...
ATC:"85K taxi into position and hold"
This clearance MUST be acknowledged since it confirms our understanding and intention to stop in position.
We say..."85K position and hold"
ATC has a traffic situation on the runway or about to occur
that, while allowing us on to the runway will not allow us to
takeoff. This means we may taxi so as to clear the approach to
the runway, taxi on to the runway but NOT takeoff.
We must hold until we hear...
ATC:"85K cleared for takeoff on course (place) approved"
We may takeoff and proceed on course without acknowledgment.
The last possibility to be likely is ...
ATC:"85K hold short landing traffic"
"85K holding short"
Any clearance using the word "hold" must be acknowledged. (I have taught this procedure for years, it became an FAR in 1992). This means that we may taxi so as to clear the approach area but we may NOT cross the hold bars to the runway. The hold bars consist of four yellow/orange stripes. Two are solid and two are dashed. You must wait behind the hold bars until given an additional clearance.
When writing aircraft communications do not punctuate.
Departure and arrival using 32R
Concord ground Cessna six one eight five kilo east ramp taxi
85K taxi to 32 right
85 Kilo understand 32R
85K request taxi closer to hold bars prior to contacting tower
Concord tower Cessna 6185 Kilo ready three-two right right turn on course Livermore
85K right turn approved clear for takeoff
(no response necessary)
85K taxi into position and hold
85K understand position and hold
85K cleared for takeoff right turn approved
(no response necessary
Concord tower Cessna 6185K Blackhawk at two-thousand eight-hundred with _____ request straight in three-two right will report two-mile final
85K approved as requested (you win the brass ring)
85K two mile final
85K number two after Archer short final cleared to land 32R
85K cleared for 32R have traffic
85K contact ground point niner when clear
85K going to point niner when clear
Concord ground Cessna 6185 Kilo clear of the right taxi east ramp via bravo
85K taxi as requested
While easy to accomplish, the takeoff is a relatively high risk flight operation because of the few options if things go wrong. The best option available for takeoff is "not to". Risk management gives you the option of not to or to delay the takeoff. Don't let yourself be hurried by ATC or other factors (cost) if a delay or cancellation will reduce your risk.
During your preflight you have determined that the aircraft is safe to takeoff. During the pre-takeoff you have reconfirmed this safety by again checking doors etc. Once you have applied power and begun accelerating you are again limiting your options. Pilot actions taken before takeoff prevent most takeoff accidents.
Don't go until you are ready. Use your pre-takeoff checklist.
Trim set should be part of the pre-takeoff checklist. If and
when something goes wrong on takeoff don't do it to yourself.
Plan for the aircraft control operation required by the existing
wind, density altitude, runway conditions and the unexpected.
What if your door suddenly opens? What is your aborted takeoff
distance? What is your minimum altitude before you attempt a
240-degree return to the runway? Have things ready, know your
options, clear the close-in-base and final approaches. You cannot
rely on the controller's 'clearance' since every aircraft operation
is your responsibility. When you have done all of the above,
GO. The 'clearance' says, ""You may go ahead using your own
responsibility for whatever happens".
Don't let a controller or other planes hurry you into a takeoff. A hurried departure may not allow you to properly clear the runway approaches. Remember ATC only gives clearances. When cleared for takeoff the student is expected to taxi and turn toward the final runway approach course and base leg before entering the runway. A clearance for takeoff does not relieve the pilot of responsibility for his own safety. This is the only clearance that through common practice does not need the acknowledgment or your aircraft numbers. However, it is not wrong to do so. Plan your clearing turn to clear the runway so as to give a large turning arc for smooth alignment and acceleration.
Don't waste runway by too slow application of power. The safest takeoff requires that maximum use of the runway be made. Anything other than a smooth rapid application of throttle is relatively unsafe. Rotation and liftoff should occur at minimum safe operating speed (bottom of the green arc) and climb trimmed for best rate.
Once on the ground, Do not relax! Hold the yoke back and properly positioned for taxi. For any turns off the runway the yoke should be repositioned. The flaps should be retracted prior to any brake application if you are moving.. You are not clear of the runway until you cross the hold-bar. ATC will normally advise you to contact ground. During any delay you should continue to "clean up" the cockpit. This would include removing flaps, carburetor heat; turning off the strobes, unnecessary lights, transponder and leaning the mixture.
The number one region of aircraft accidents is getting into a parking space. Some pilots seem to think it necessary to make a little jog toward the parking space prior to turning. This could save a couple of feet of push back at best but all too often results in contact with a neighboring aircraft. Better to pick a point in the parking area where the nose is to go and plan your turn from the middle of the taxiway to that point. The nose wheel should be straightened while the plane is completing the turn.
One of the most common errors of aircraft handling occurs when positioning the plane at the tie- down. Draw an imaginary line from the tie-down to where you want the nose to be on stopping. DON'T weave toward the tie-down. This is the cause of numerous accidents. Once you have your imaginary line or a point, make a smooth/sharp turn and straighten the nose wheel before stopping. A well aligned plane is easier to push back
Check at Shutdown
With engine at idle, check slowly the left and right magnetos and OFF. When you are aware that the engine is going to quit, quickly go to both. After this check run the engine up to 1000 rpm and lean mixture to remove any plug fouling. After 30 seconds, kill the engine with the mixture.
Every few flights do a hot-magneto check. This involves reducing the power to low idle and slowly switch through the magneto settings to 'off' to see if the engine shows signs of stopping. Don't let it stop but this checks if a P-lead has become disconnected or the switch is improperly grounded. While doing this run a check of the oil pressure, the idle setting, and mixture cut off setting.
Radio 121.5 - 1200
Radios OFF (BOTH)
Lights off Mstr sw OFF (Both)
Key Off Log Time.
Tie Plane down Replace Control Lock
Replace Pitot Cover
A post-flight inspection allows an early detection and a more convenient correction of discrepancy. While tying down inspect the exterior. Check the oil and exhaust stacks. Is the air-filter secure. Everything that is right at the end of a flight has a good chance of being right the next time. Before departing check tires, exterior and exhaust system. Report any discrepancies.
Given a choice of where to tie down, always face into the wind. A crosswind tie down means that the aircraft will be trying to weather vane into the wind thus creating side loads on the landing gear. The rudder is the most easily damaged control surface. Cessna rudders will flop and bang in the wind unless exterior gust locks are applied.
Since hydraulic systems can be influenced and damaged by external heat, it is not a good idea to park with the parking brake locked on. Freezing weather may freeze the brake pads to the brake disk, too.
If the ropes or chains are supplied at fixed anchor points
it is best to have about 45-degree angles to the aircraft tiedown
ring. If the ropes or chains slide on a cable they should be
vertical to the aircraft. A tight rope is standard but it will
lift the cable and poise a hazard to foot traffic. Chains usually
have two hooks. The end hook goes into the aircraft tiedown eye
and the other hook is used to shorten the chain. Ropes require
that you become familiar with tying a bowline or half hitch.
Preferred Tiedown Knot
I always use a taut-line hitch. You tie it with the line slack and then snug it up to take all the slack out of the line. Roy Smith
Low Visibility Taxiing
Getting lost is very common at unfamiliar large airports. Early one dark morning I missed a turn at Yuma, AZ. I stopped and asked for assistance. ATC sent a truck to guide me through the construction maze to the assigned runway. Many large airports have low visibility taxiing diagrams. The system being tried at CCR will be a great help under low visibility conditions.
…Ask for help
…Have a taxi chart and use it with compass/heading indicator for guidance.
…Orient the taxi chart 'track up'.
…Use heading indicator to confirm you are on the correct runway.
A progressive taxi in low visibility does no good.
--Chapter two, section three of AIM covers airport marking aids and signs.
--Chapter four, section three covers airport operations
Movement Guidance and Control System (SMGCS) AC 120-57
--Stop bars at intersections of centerline lights of taxiway and active runway.
--Controlled stop bars work with green lead-in lights to runway that work on a timer that is reset by passage..
--Pilots shall never cross a lighted red stop bar.
--Two flashing yellow lights are runway guard lights indicating hold in position place.
--Green taxiway centerline lights are in pavement.
--Geographic position marker numbers are either hold points or for position reports.
--Three yellow in-pavement clearance bar lights may be co-located with geographic position markers.
--Taxiway centerline marking may be yellow with black border.
Pilot Airport Ground Operations
--Anticipate taxi route by using ATIS and prior experience
--Check expected route against airport diagram
--Plan taxi route for both arrival and departure
--Identify critical intersections and turns
--In low visibility do planning only when stopped
Awareness On the Ground
--Make all your movements based upon knowing what other aircraft, vehicles and people are doing
--Use radio, signs, markings and lighting to orient yourself.
--At NTAs (non tower airports) all advisories should name airport twice; beginning and end.
--Listen to ATC advisories issued to other aircraft inbound and outbound
--Know and mark on diagram where you are now and draw out your route as cleared.
--Track your route in stages based on intersections and turns to destination
--Orally communicate with another or to yourself as progress continues
--Do not stop on a runway, get off if you can or at least to one side
--At NTAs make a full 360 while using the radio to advise of taking runway, departure and route.
--Do not go into the takeoff holding position unless certain the runway is clear
--Have someone check out the 6 o'clock to make sure no one is landing.
--Advise frequency that you are in position and holding.
--Confirm runway by reference to compass heading
--After landing turn clear of the runway as soon as possible.
--Do not let ATC force you into a premature turn.
--Taxi clear of the runway and across any hold bars before cleaning up aircraft.
--An advisory at a NTA that you are clear is not needed but won't hurt.
Use of Lights
--Lighting will make aircraft more conspicuous
--Remember, lights just tell there is an aircraft; not what it is going to do
--Rotating beacon on whenever an engine is running
--Turn on navigation, position, anti-collision and logo lights prior to taxi
--all exterior lights on when crossing a runway and when taking off.
--Strobe light use on the ground should be limited where they may interfere with other pilots
--Taxi clearance and readback
--Airport diagram in sight
--Taxiway intersections verify clear
--Runway crossings verify clear
Before crossing runway
--Runway surface clear
--Approach/departure ends clear
--Expedite crossing till clear of holding bars
Arrival at active runway
--Hold short of bars
--Advise tower when ready
Entering active runway
--Takeoff clearance received and readback
--Runway surface clear
--Approach/departure ends clear
--Ten miles @ 2000 feet)
--Airport diagram in sight
--Taxi instructions, holds verified and readback
--Expedite to clear runway holding bars
Taxi after landing
--Taxi clearance verify and readback
--Taxiway intersections verified clear
--Runway crossings verified clear
Before crossing a runway
--Runway surface verified clear
--Approach/departure ends verified clear
--Expedite to clear holding bar
Arrival at parking
--Taxi clearance and readback
--Airport diagram in sight
--Taxiway intersections verify clear
--Runway crossings verify clear
Before crossing runway
--Runway surface clear
--Approach/departure ends clear
--Expedite crossing till clear of holding bars
Arrival at active runway
--Hold short of bars
--Advise tower when ready
Entering active runway
--Takeoff clearance received and readback
--Runway surface clear
--Approach/departure ends clear
--Ten miles @ 2000 feet)
--Airport diagram in sight
--Taxi instructions, holds verified and readback
--Expedite to clear runway holding bars
Taxi after landing
--Taxi clearance verify and readback
--Taxiway intersections verified clear
--Runway crossings verified clear
Before crossing a runway
--Runway surface verified clear
--Approach/departure ends verified clear
--Expedite to clear holding bar
Arrival at parking
AC91-73 FAA Sample General Aviation Checklist for taxiing on departure and arrival
Before Engine Start
Airport diagram for review and availability.
Beacon on and engine start checklist
Clearance, lights, airport diagram and route
Frequency, intersections and crossings
Before Runway Crossing
Surface, clearing for traffic
Expedite crossing holding barsl
Arrival at Active Runway
Holding short, pretakeoff checklist, frequency
Taking the runway
Clearing the approach, readback clearance
Surface, no delay
Planned descent to call-up location
Airport diagram, lights
Readback all runway assignments, taxi and holding instructions
Readback instructions, expedite clearing hold bars
Exit intersecting runways only with clearance
Taxi After Landing
Frequency, diagram intersections and crossings, readback
Have diagram available
Before Crossing a Runway
Surface, clearing both directions
Verify clearance, expedite, clear holding bars
Airmens Information Manual
AC 90-42 Non-tower operations
AC90-66 Standard traffic patterns
--Use written taxi instructions in unfamiliar situations.
--Always check the expected with clearance copied.
--When in doubt, stop and communicate your doubts..
--Monitor the taxiing instructions given to other aircraft.
--Use cockpit resources to verify taxi route and clearing.
--Know and use the airport signs, markings, and lighting
--Readback and follow ATC instructions and clearances.
--Preconceptions as to expected clearance is greatest hazard.
--When told to use a runway as a taxiway, taxi near one edge.
--Never stop on a runway after landing.. Expedite clearing the runway.
--Scan all runways prior to crossing. When in doubt, communicate with ATC.
--It is important to know where you are and even more important to know where other traffic is.
--When told to taxi into position and hold, retain awareness of your vulnerability from landing aircraft.
--Plan your airport surface movement just as you plan a flight. (46% of accidents occur while taxiing.)
--Get clearance to exit on an intersecting runway during the landing rollout., otherwise take next taxiway..
--It is important to know your present location and just as important to know your expected next location.
No: 91-73A 2003 Taxiing
Use of WEB
By mail it took me four months to get this circular
Go to: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/rgl
Click on "Advisory Circulars" # 91-73A
My impression as to the organization and layout of this AC is the story of the seven blind men who identified an elephant by touch. I tried to organize and simplify the AC for student use but it refuses to either simplify or untangle. The FAA has succeeded in making Taxiing more difficult.
--Airports are getting more complex.
--Taxiing should be a part of the overall flight-training program
--Standard Operating Procedures are necessary in all parts of PTS.
--The solution lies in training, planning, coordination and communication
--Taxiing requires anticipation however, anticipation can cause problems
--Your expectations may be different from what you get from ATC.
--Study and learn the airport layouts you expect to use.
--Use a highlighter to mark the diagram-preferred routes to different runways in different colors.
--There is no substitute for using an airport in many different ways every time you taxi.
Alternative Taxiing Suggestions
--If different go to the suggestive assertiveness level
--Suggest a compromise of towing the plane part way.
--If you understand and can follow ATC’s route, ask for another way for practice.
--Ask to cross an active runway twice, to and from.
--Try to confuse ATC by giving magnetic headings 180 off directions
--Complain about the absence of signage.
--Stop and ask that a truck be sent to guide you
--Ask that tower use signal light on taxiway lines for night assistance.
General Aviation has its SOPs
--Practical Test Standards
--Taxi briefings with expectations and restrictions *Runway incursions are only officially recognized at airports with operating
--Analyze and seek clarification if needed
--Taxiing with "Sterile cockpit".
--Open airport diagram
--Navigation lights on when in motion
--Anticipate appropriate frequency from list
--Verify clearance of hold short or a crossing
--Prior to any crossing scan runways and approaches
--Readback clearance of hold short or a crossing
--No short cuts of identification or verbiage.
--Use your lights to help other aircraft and ATC
--Night and low visibility don’t compromise your safety.
--Position and hold at your own risk over one-minute. Get off the runway.
--Don’t wait for ATC to warn you of traffic behind. Go-around
--Use flashing lights to signal or warn other aircraft.
–Compare clearance and anticipated route with airport diagram
--Know your location and give it to ATC on initial call.
--Write-out non-standard or complex taxi instructions
--Turn on taxi light when moving and turn it off when stopped.
--Taxiway edge lights are blue, runway edge lights are white
--Do not taxi on runway centerline when taking a runway at night.
--When taxiing keep your head out of the cockpit, hold diagram UP.
--All scanning should include visual and oral combination
--Do not touch volume control when monitoring a frequency
--If unsure of position advise ATC and ask for ‘progressive’ taxi.
--All ‘head’s-down’ activity should be done when stopped.
--Use your compass, heading indicator and heading bug in all taxiing situations
--Listen to ATC and CTAF for any mention of the runway you intend to use.
--On the runway, you own it. Don’t let ATC hurry you off an exit.
FAA on Ground Operations
Detailed investigations of runway incursions have identified three major areas where pilots can help.
The best way to avoid runway incursions…
Enhance your Communications
Expand your Airport knowledge
Develop your Cockpit procedures for maintaining orientation
The best way to avoid runway incursions .
*Runway incursions are only officially recognized at airports with operating
The risk of being involved in a runway
incursion can be greatly reduced by improving communication skills, knowledge of
airport taxiways and runways, and cockpit procedures. Each is important to safe
Be Familiar with the Airport
I (copilot) motioned for the captain
to proceed to the ramp. He mistook this for an ATC clearance to cross the
parallel runway. An aircraft on its landing roll on the parallel was
fortunately turning off as we crossed.
Excerpts from report submitted to NASA'a Aviation Safety Reporting System.
Detailed airport diagrams are helpful. They are available from NOAA and
several commercial vendors. Although these diagrams are normally used by
instrument rated pilots, VFR pilots will also find them useful when performing
--Review airport diagrams before taxiing or landing.
--Keep airport/taxi diagrams readily available during taxiing.
--Be alert to airport vehicle and pedestrian activity.
Follow Proper Cockpit Procedures
Stay Alert Especially When Visibility is Low
Extra vigilance is required when visibility decreases and the ability for pilots and controllers to maintain a desired level of situational awareness becomes significantly more difficult. During periods of reduced visibility pilots should keep in mind:
The heading indicator is as useful on the ground
as it is in the air. Use it together with the taxi
chart to maintain orientation.
Cleared to land Runway 25L with controller advising "minimum time
on the runway, faster traffic in trail." As we slowed to taxi speed,
controller advised "Nice job, next high speed, stay with me." I
mistakenly took this to mean he was clearing us across all runways and we
crossed the parallel Runway 25R without clearance. A contributing cause
was focusing on clearing the landing runway with faster traffic behind.
--Cockpit workload and distractions tend to increase;
--As cockpit activity increases, attention to communications tends to decrease;
--Fatigue level increases; and
--Increased vigilance is needed when snow and other weather conditions obscure surface markings and make signs difficult to see.
Report Confusing or Deteriorating Surface Markings and Signs
Report confusing or deteriorating surface markings and signs and inaccurate airport diagrams to the tower or airport manager. Also, a report to the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is strongly recommended. ASRS maintains a data base of reported hazards. Alert messages from ASRS are forwarded to appropriate airport authorities for action. Airport authorities are requested to provide responses to ASRS. This serves as an important check on the type of corrective actions being taken and closes the loop in the incident reporting process. To obtain ASRS forms, fax a request to NASA at 415-967-4170 or write to ASRS, 635 Ellis St., Suite 305, Mountain View, CA 94043. Forms may also be printed from the ASRS website at ... http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/
Other Information Sources That May Be Helpful
NOAA Distribution Division, N/ACC3
National Ocean Service
Riverdale, MD 20737-1199
Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM
U.S. Terminal Procedures (TERPS)
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
Airport Markings, Signs, and Selected Surface Lighting:
Introducing SMGCS-Surface Movement Guidance and Control System
Airport Markings Poster
Airport Ground Vehicle Operations
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
or order by internet at
For reporting unsafe practices and conditions that may affect aviation safety 800-255-1111
Additional copies of this article with color available from:
---National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO)
---Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
---Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS)
---Anticipate taxi routes
---Pre-taxi plans on callup
---Taxi plans on arrival
---Have airport taxi layout
---Use airport taxi diagram
---Compare diagram/layout with clearances
---Locate critical ‘heads up’ and stop points.
---Verify assigned routes to instructions
---Write out instructions
---Listen to instructions for other aircraft.
---Verify similar aircraft having similar call sign.
---Clarify any uncertainty immediately
---Read back all instructions/clearances
---Do not cross active runways
---Do cross inactive runways
---Advise ATC if you delay moving
---Watch for light signals
---Readback all ‘hold short or ‘position and hold’ instructions in full along with your call sign
---Maintain a sterile cockpit when moving on the ground
---Understand and obey instructions and clearances
---Use an airport diagram
---Know markings, signs and lighting
---Monitor radio to locate and identify other traffic
---Use lights to show location and intent
---Minimize ‘head down’ time
---Night and low visibility require extra caution
---Use all resources
---Heading indicator and bug
---markings, signs and lights
---Diagrams and charts
---Know how to locate aircraft to clear final, holding short, crossing hold bars, etc.
---Don’t cross a runway you have not scanned in both directions even if inactive
---Use extra care when landing where the exit leads to another active runway (parallel)
---Do not exit on an inactive runway until cleared to do so. Ask.
---Last second turnoff instructions need not be followed if too fast/late situation exists.
---Don’t initiate communications until across hold bars and stopped.
Position and Hold
---Scan for aircraft, monitor and locate other aircraft
---Clear final and both bases before crossing the hold bars
---ATC is required to inform you of closest aircraft using your runway
---ATC is required to inform other traffic of your position
---Expect to be cleared for takeoff or for position and hold, once the runway is clear
---Contact ATC if you are in position and not cleared for takeoff
---ATC will use intersection designator if you are asked to ‘position and hold’
---"Full length" will be used by ATC when mixing runway clearances with intersections involved.
---Contact ATC if you have concerns about a conflict
Safety Measures (Recommendations)
---Rotating beacon when engine running
---Position lights while taxiing
---All lights while crossing runway
---Be considerate in use of any lights that may ‘blind’ others.
---All exterior lights, except landing, when entering departure runway or when ‘position and hold’
---Landing lights when cleared for takeoff
---Who you are calling
---Your call sign
---Where you are located
---A short what you want to do
---Always put the ATIS at the end
---State your position on initial contact with tower/ground with new specialist
---Use standard phraseology
---Focus on ATC communications and nothing else
---Think out/rehearse what you are going to say
---Make initial brief contact if unusual or lengthy call time is required
---Acknowledge all clearances with call sign first or last
---Read back all instructions/clearances in their entirety
---Ask for progressive instructions if unfamiliar
---‘Monitor’ means listen only
---Clarify any misunderstanding or confusion
---Never land on a runway occupied by another aircraft
---Ask ATC about observed aircraft and be prepared to execute evasive maneuver
---You are expected to exit at first available taxiway of as instructed.
---Remain with tower after landing until told to contact ground but only change after clearing the hold bars
Acknowledge ---Tell me that you understood what I said and make a reasonable response to prove it.
Advise Intentions ---ATC needs to know what you plan to do.
Final --- The straight-in to a runway. Can be short, long or several miles
Hold for ---Wait, stop, stay where you are until something happens
How do you hear me ---I have not had a response from you. I have called and you have not answered
Immediately ---Don’t bother answering or arguing, move now as directed.
Position and Hold ---Put your plane into takeoff position and wait for a clearance.
Read back ---Say back what I just said to you.
Stand by ---Wait until I talk to you again.
Unable ---For whatever reason ATC or you cannot do something.
Verify ---Tell me that you have heard, understood and will act accordingly.
Without delay ---ATC does not want to discuss the situation, do what you are told to do, now.
Obsolete terms (Don't use)
Roger ---means Wilco
Wilco ---means Roger
---Runway markings are white
---Taxiway markings are yellow
---Ramps and aprons while often white may be otherwise
---Double lines with one side dashed can only be crossed when authorized from the solid side.
---To ‘hold short, always stop before the first solid line
---On a taxiway never cross a double solid line
---On a taxiway you can cross a double dashed line
---A black square with orange symbols is where you are
---Red with white symbols are entrances, critical or prohibited areas for aircraft without clearance
---Located before intersections usually on left side
---Yellow with black symbols give direction to turn aircraft
---Black arrows point the way
---Left signs for left turns and right signs for right turns
---White numbers on red sign for two ends of runway left and right by yellow hold-bars on taxiway
---Holding signs and holding position lines vary in setback from runway.
---Most incursions are made by pilots crossing holding bars without clearance.
---An exiting aircraft is not clear of the runway until all parts are past the hold bars.
---Runway edge lights are white, last 2000 feet are yellow. all spaced every 200 feet
---Taxiway edge lights are blue
---Taxiway centerline lights are green
---Never cross a row of red lights. ATC must turn off red lights before you can cross.
---Runway guard lights are flashing yellow between runway sign and hold bars
---Holding position lights are both above ground and recessed in taxiway
---Try to read back instructions using slightly different words or word order.
---STOP(not on runway) if uncertain of your position
---Request Progressive Taxi Instructions when in doubt
---At night line up on runway several feet to side of center to increase ability of others to see/locate you
---Keep track of ground and air traffic while ‘holding in position’ on runway
---Turn off taxi lights when stopped
---Do not use strobes on ground
Ground Use of GPS
For some reason, I have not found any information on using a GPS to help avoid runway incursions other than mentioning it myself in my book, Cockpit GPS, which is available from the home page of this site, www.cockpitgps.com. Sure there is discussion of new technologies based on GPS, but not simply using the map display to help you from getting lost on the runway.
What kind of GPS do you need? Any aviation model that shows a runway diagram will do. I will provide some screen shots from a Garmin GPS III Pilot, because it is among the more humble, yet viable receivers.
The technique is simple. Zoom in on the mapping GPS so that you see the runway diagram. All that you will see is a simple depiction of runways, not a whole airport diagram. However, this is very helpful to orient yourself and double check your location on the airport. Turning on the wrong taxiway is embarrassing. Turning onto an active runway can be catastrophic! In no way am I selling this as a substitute for using the airport diagram, but as a tool to help keep you oriented on the diagram. This is also not a simple cure for all runway incursions. It is just one more tool that is available to right now that can help with the problem.
I should also add that common sense and conservatism should always prevail. The runway diagram in the GPS could have inaccuracies and the GPS position could be in error, but generally I have been impressed. If the GPS shows that you are coming up on a crossing runway, you probably are. If the next piece of crossing pavement looks like a runway, but the GPS runway diagram does not show it as such, go with the conservative assumption.
I also fully realize that many runway incursions do not occur from being lost. However, being lost is a factor in many incursions. Also, the more concentration you can free from trying to orient yourself, the more of it you can spend on listening to the controller to make sure that you hear and comply with hold short instructions.
It is possible to set up a Tablet PC or a PDA along with a GPS and the right software and get a full airport diagram -- I think some of the Jeppesen software will do this. Honeywell has an upgrade to their EGPWS system that provides voice warnings such as "approaching runway 26." Airports are installing various ground systems also. These new technologies have much potential. My point is that the GPS that many people are already using can provide quite a bit of situational awareness on the ground as well as in the air.
To illustrate my point, let me give you an example that was almost a terrible accident where I disorientation was obviously a factor.
Here is the synopsis from www.ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/2000/A00_66_71.pdf:
After UAL1448 landed on runway 5R, the PVD local controller instructed the flight crew to exit the runway to the left, proceed to the ramp via taxiways N and T, and report when the airplane crossed runway 16. The UAL1448 flight crew became disoriented and turned back toward runway 5R. The flight crew then stopped the airplane, advised the PVD local controller of its position, and stated that it believed that the airplane was on an active runway. While UAL1448 was deviating from its assigned taxi route, FDX1662 departed from runway 5R, passing near UAL1448. (The sound of FDX1662’s takeoff can be clearly heard in the background of the ATC recording of UAL1448’s transmission of a position report.) Although the flight crew of UAL1448 reported its belief that the airplane was on an active runway, the PVD local controller cleared US Airways flight 2998, a Boeing 737 (737), for takeoff from runway 5R. The 737 flight crew declined the clearance because of its concern about UAL1448’s position. The incident occurred in IMC at night. No injuries were reported, and neither airplane was damaged.
If you would like a better airport diagram, click here. On this diagram the taxiways have been re-designated, but you can still get an idea of the intended route to the terminal.
The windshield heat on the 757 will block the GPS signal rendering it almost useless. It might surprise, you that the 757 does not depict an airport diagram -- for that matter, neither does the 777. I believe that there should still be an amber line depicting the approach, but I am not sure. My point is not how this exact case could have been prevented, but how you can use a mapping GPS to help prevent you from a similar situation.
Here is the display from a Garmin GPS III Pilot turning off the runway:
Here is the display that the UAL pilots would have seen when they were approaching the incorrect runway after making the wrong turn:
This is what the GPS would show if they had made the correct turn and were crossing the correct runway 16/34 which was closed:
What I have not shown is that most handheld GPS receivers show a "bread
crumb" trail which makes orientation even easier. Most IFR mapping GPS
receivers do not have the trail, but they do have the approach to the runway
depicted which aids in orientation.
Tower Tapes and Animation
The NTSB has tower tape with some animation in Real Player format at: http://www.ntsb.gov/events/2000/incursion/pvd_incursion.rm.
However, I much prefer the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Flash presentation of
this scenario. The animation is complete with an airport diagram showing
positions of the various aircraft involved along with the tower tapes.
I quickly stepped through the program. I thought there were some excellent points. On the issue of GPS usage, it advises you not avoid the distraction of GPS operation while taxiing. Basically, the point is that you should not distract yourself from by such tasks as programming flight plans into the GPS -- I wholeheartedly agree. However, I feel that using the map display zoomed in to show the runway diagram is a great help to situational awareness and is a simple enough operation not to be distracting.
Although I told you how to get to the portion of the program that illustrates my point, I would recommend taking the time to go through the whole program. It appears to be a good program, just consider also zooming in the GPS to help build your mental model and maintain situational awareness.
Words to Taxi Bye
Today's delivery of AOPA Pilot contained a booklet on communications that would give any pilot a running start. The booklet is good because it gives several true examples where poor communications created difficulties. On analysis I discovered some things omitted that I feel to be important. (August 2005)
Title:\Communications a Key Component of a Safe Flight
Special Edition www.faa.gov/runwaysafety
(25 pages 3x7 pamphlet)
Some terms omitted from the Glossary:
overfly, abeam, sidestep, give way, avoid, sequence, extend, etc...
Their ground radio examples were incomplete by not including a taxi route nor requiring a readback on page 21. In my opinion ground readback implements the readback skills required in IFR.
On page 25 I feel the omission of a pilot's options of exiting on an intersecting runway as well as a taxiway by requesting it or being told to. Happens all the time at Concord, CA. with dual runways.intersecting.
Looking for Trouble
---Ground plan as well as flight plan
---Watch for lines separating movement from non-movement areas of airport
---ATC instructions and clearances on the ground have to do with the yellow lines
To Cecil on Taxiing
Taxiing may well be the last thing a pilot learns to do well. Little things like getting the nose wheel straight when stopping during a turn for a 'push-back' parking space or to face the wind. ATC does not give permission. Taxi instructions are unspoken clearances. Nice CFI quiz question: When does ground control give a taxi clearance? Answer given in small print below. (To get you going after being told to stop.)
The only time I have ever had a student damage an aircraft with me in the right seat was in a Piper. Of course all of you know that just above the toe-stop of the Piper rudder pedals is a cabin structural bar. If you lift your feet, have large feet or otherwise get your toes past the toe-stop of a Piper you will soon be pushing on that bar and not on the pedals or brakes.
One of the first things every introduction to a Piper should include is a LOW
look up above the rudder pedals at that structural bar that is just above the
rudder pedals. It's there, just waiting to cause a ground accident/incident.
The latest ATC readback requirement of all taxi instructions is one of the best moves the FAA has made in years. Will make IFR read-backs less threatening.
When I take a student to an unfamiliar airport day or night we ALWAYS taxi back and often stop for a visit. A chance to talk with the 'locals' can prevent many problems otherwise likely just waiting to bite you. At least one hour of my three-hour night area flight to nearby airports for the ten landings to a full-stop includes night taxi skills.
On occasions where the field is well below VFR minimums and we can't see over a relatively short half mile. I take advantage of the conditions to give a taxiing lesson which will include complex route instructions to uncommon runway intersections. Sure keeps the instructor awake.
Continued on Page 5.15 Requirements Solo to Private Pilot