RUNWAY INCURSIONS

June
04, 2003
by
BILL SCHROEDER, MCFI

There are two types of airports-those with control towers and those without.

The airport may appear different-but, the PILOT'S RESPONSIBILITIES are the same-SAFE OPERATION OF THE AIRCRAFT BOTH ON THE GROUND AND IN THE AIR.

Ground operations are just as critical as air operations.

Runway incursions-that is, proceeding onto a runway without proper clearance or, in the case of a non-towered airport, moving onto a runway that is in use, are up from:

180- in 1993
355- in 1998

Question: Why are pilots moving onto active runways during taxi operations?

Answer:
1. Not familiar with airport
2. Not paying attention to duties
3. Not familiar with ATC instructions
4. Failure to read back "hold short" or taxi instructions

What can be done to alleviate the problem of runway incursions?

1. Never cross a red illuminated stop bar, even if an ATC clearance has been given to proceed. Double yellow lines apply also.

2. Do not cross ANY RUNWAY, active or not, without stopping and Visually checking and then, if in doubt, asking ATC if you should proceed.

3. If in doubt about where you are while taxiing, bring aircraft to a stop and ask Ground Control for PROGRESSIVE TAXI INSTRUCTIONS.

4. Always have a TAXI CHART available and check your assigned route against the chart before moving.

5. At an uncontrolled airport, use the CTAF frequency to listen for other aircraft that may in on the ground and on the active runway, either departing or landing. Broadcast you location and/or intentions on tha frequency. STOP AND LOOK before crossing ANY runway.

TIPS TO REMEMBER!!!

-ALL TAXIWAY MARKINGS ARE YELLOW
-ALL RUNWAY MARKINGS ARE WHITE
-HOLDING POSITIONS CONSIST OF FOUR YELLOW LINES
(Two solid and two dashed lines-do not cross without looking or receiving and ATC clearance.)

Common ATC instructions-

"Taxi to…" a clearance to taxi to any point other than an assigned takeoff runway is a clearance to cross all runways that intersect the taxi route to that point. It does not include authorization to taxi onto or cross the assigned takeoff runway at any point.

"Taxi to....-hold short of…" is a clearance to begin taxiing, but enroute to the taxi clearance limit, you must hold short of another taxiway or a crossing runway as specified by the controller.

"Cross runway…" You are cleared to taxi across the runway crossing your taxi route and continue to the taxi clearance limit.

"Hold short…" Do not enter or corss a taxiway or runway specified by the controller. If there is a pointed hold line, do not cross it.

"Cleared for immediate takeoff." A clearance to initiate a takeoff without delay. This clearance usually means another aircraft in on final. If you are not ready, do not accept.

"Report location…" Identify your location on the airport.

"Land and hold short…" At airports with intersecting runways, controllers often use more than one runway for arrivals and/or departures. Be prepared for a controller to issue a "land and hold short" at Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

Configure the aircraft for short field landing, if necessary and READ BACK ALL HOLD SHORT INSTRUCTIONS.

At uncontrolled mountain airports- some airfields do not have taxiways, only a runway. So, if you are on the runway, be sure to announce your presence on the CTAF. And, upon landing and clearing the runway, report on CTAF that you have cleared the runway.

At some uncontrolled mountain airports you will land in one direction and take off opposite your landing direction. Be alert for aircraft that may not be familiar with the procedure at that airport. Two aircraft at opposite ends of the runway for departure can be very dangerous.

ALWAYS LOOK FOR OTHER AIRCRAFT ON THE RUNWAY. ANNOUNCE YOUR LOCATION ON THE CTAF.

Remember, also, that at uncontrolled airfields a radio is not required. So be alert and always WATCH for other aircraft on the active runway.

At uncontrolled mountain airfields that do have taxiways, do not enter the runway from an intersection. No one will be looking for you at that location. Use all of the available runway.

HOW THE PROS DO IT

  1. Airport diagram is reviewed before starting the engines.
  2. The current position of the aircraft is noted relative to the active runways, the most likely route to the runway and any special notes.
  3. The first officer communicates with ground control while the captain taxis the aircraft.
  4. No other duties are performed by either crew member when ATC instructions are being given.
  5. If there is any doubt by either pilot about what is said or intended by ATC, they ask for clarification.
  6. The first officer writes down the taxi instructions and asks for a repeat if necessary.
  7. All cockpit duties stop just prior to crossing a runway to focus on the event.
  8. Both pilots must agree that crossing the runway is safe and in accordance with ATC.
  9. Both visually check.
  10. Use taxi lights.

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Bill Schroeder instructs in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area. He holds a Master of Science Degree, ATP-ME, MEL, SEL, CFI and CFII. In addition, he serves as an FAA Aviation Safety Counselor and an Instructor/Check Pilot for the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. He can be reached by e-mail at checkpilot@thegrid.net. You can go to his web site at www.flightsafetycounselor.com

© Copyright 2005 Bill Schroeder