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How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?  
User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17126 posts, RR: 10
Posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9758 times:

Hi!!

Yesterday night when I was trying to sleep I just thought about how pilots do find the taxiways they are assigned to taxi on in order to get to/from runway/gate??

Do they have some kind of GPS, or do they use maps or do they just simply watch for the signs around the airport??


Work Hard, Fly Right
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9755 times:

All major airports have aerodrome charts which give a plan view of the runway environment and all holding points, turnoff points and runway intersections, taxiways and gates. Sometimes, multiple charts will provide a zoomed view of particular terminals with complex gate layouts. These charts combined with the taxiway signs and markers, which label every taxiway, holding point, runway intersection etc. provide everything you need in most situations.

Of course, in addition to this you can request detailed taxi instructions from ground control at controlled aerodromes.


User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9739 times:



Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 1):
All major airports have aerodrome charts

 checkmark  An example of one published by the Federal Aviation Administration can be found here:
http://naco.faa.gov/d-tpp/0812/00237AD.PDF (link expires 18 DEC 2008)

Some of the newer avionics suites will display charts like the one above with the aircraft's current location depicted on the chart.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17110 posts, RR: 66
Reply 3, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9708 times:

Related question: Is there a standard (or multiple ones) for naming of taxiways? If so, how strictly is it followed?


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9694 times:



Quoting B747forever (Thread starter):
do they use maps or do they just simply watch for the signs around the airport??

Maps, plus signage. Here you go:

http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/flashcards/flashcards.pdf


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9678 times:

Sometimes, too, pilots at an unfamiliar field requests a "progressive taxi", where a tower or ground controller simply tells the aircraft where to turn...  Wink

(Don't think that would work out too well at, say, JFK in the middle of a block of arrivals or departures...but it's still an option)



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3568 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9677 times:



Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 2):
Some of the newer avionics suites will display charts like the one above with the aircraft's current location depicted on the chart.

I believe this is part of the Electronic Flightbag. Jeppesen makes handhelds for private pilots and Boeing has it on the 777. It's pretty sweet.


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User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17126 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9651 times:

Thank you for all answers.

So there is a combination of all the three examples I gave plus the progressive taxi help.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9636 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
Is there a standard (or multiple ones) for naming of taxiways? If so, how strictly is it followed?

Taxiways are typically named with letters (A, B, C, AB, BC, etc) and letter + number combos (A1, B2, C2). Numbers, at least by themselves, are not used so as not to be confused with runway signage. Having said that, I do recall seeing a chart for an airfield (who's names escapes me) in which the taxiways were numbered.

I don't know if the naming of taxiways is codified in regulations but it is likely.


User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10239 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9630 times:
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Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 8):
Taxiways are typically named with letters (A, B, C, AB, BC, etc) and letter + number combos (A1, B2, C2). Numbers, at least by themselves, are not used so as not to be confused with runway signage. Having said that, I do recall seeing a chart for an airfield (who's names escapes me) in which the taxiways were numbered.

On most airport diagrams I've seen, taxiways that have a letter and a number (i.e. A1) typically seem to be short spur taxiways that start at their respective lettered taxiway. So taxiways A1, A2, A3, etc. would be spurs off of taxiway A. Same seems to be true for double-lettered taxiways that have two different letters - so AB, AC, etc. would also be spurs off of A.

Suppose that's sort of similar to state and interstate highway nomenclature (I-195, 295, 395, etc. are spurs connecting to I-95).

I'd assume that double-lettered taxiways (i.e. AA, BB, etc.) are used once the 26 single letters have been exhausted.

I would also assume that taxiways are named simply according to the order in which they were built (or, perhaps, ones that are more-used versus less-used). Lower lettered taxiways (A, B, C, D, E) seem to typically be used for the taxiways that are closest to the terminals and such.

If anyone's interested, www.airnav.com has info on many US airports, including airport diagrams.



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User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8461 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9543 times:
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Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 6):
It's pretty sweet

It probably is with all the coffee that's been spilled on it, that's disgusting!



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineARFFdude From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 152 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 12 months 23 hours ago) and read 9477 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
Related question: Is there a standard (or multiple ones) for naming of taxiways?

You'll never see a taxiway India as it could be confused with a 1.


User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 9281 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 9):

I think you've hit it pretty much on the spot.

Also, airport diagrams and approach plates can be found here.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21796 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (5 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 9235 times:



Quoting B747forever (Thread starter):
Do they have some kind of GPS, or do they use maps or do they just simply watch for the signs around the airport??

Yes.  Smile

All of the above. If the airport is simple, you can just use the signs. If it's more complex, it's good to have the chart to reference. And the more advanced avionics systems can show a map of the taxiways with a "you are here" icon for your airplane.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 12 months 8 hours ago) and read 9128 times:

I think the taxiways with numbers like A1 is for like (Delta 821 turn left at A1 and taxi to the gate) A1 being taxiway alpha first turn. I could be wrong. But that's what I think the numbers mean in the taxi signs.

User currently offlineOvrpowrd727 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 12 months 8 hours ago) and read 9124 times:

if i remember correctly from class all airports accepting international traffic have to be standardized, so therefore all taxiways are in the English language and lettered/numbered accordingly. and one more thing the signs for the taxiway are always a yellow box with the letter in black, then you just go in the direction you were told like 'left on bravo right on tango' so <--B then T-->

User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1983 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 9105 times:

Some pilots here at WN say that they go in and out of the big airports so often that they "just know" how to get around. I wish there were a more in depth answer but I believe this to be the norm.

Also, I worked a charter flt to CMI, an airport WN doesn't fly to. We landed and the captain requested direction to the gate which the tower told. About two taxiways into the whole thing, the captain and FO didn't know where they were going so the captain just said, "Well, let's just go that way toward the gate" and made up his own route to the gate - which was clearly seen as there were only 3 or 4 gates. I'm sure this does not happen often, but it's a glimpse into how things REALLY go.



My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10239 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (5 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 9105 times:
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Quoting Ovrpowrd727 (Reply 15):
if i remember correctly from class all airports accepting international traffic have to be standardized, so therefore all taxiways are in the English language and lettered/numbered accordingly. and one more thing the signs for the taxiway are always a yellow box with the letter in black, then you just go in the direction you were told like 'left on bravo right on tango' so <--B then T-->

Well, to clarify, the sign for an intersecting taxiway is black lettering on yellow background. The sign for the taxiway you're currently on is yellow lettering on a black background.

Here's a PDF from the FAA describing airport signage:

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff...edia/150-5340-18E/150_5340_18e.pdf

Runway and taxiway sign diagrams start on page 6 of the document (page 12 of the PDF).

Quoting JoseKMLB (Reply 14):
I think the taxiways with numbers like A1 is for like (Delta 821 turn left at A1 and taxi to the gate) A1 being taxiway alpha first turn. I could be wrong. But that's what I think the numbers mean in the taxi signs.

Well, they do go in order, but if you're turning onto taxiway A from, say, taxiway A4, then if you turn one way, A3 will be the next spur, and if you turn the other way, A5 will be the next spur (not counting other lettered taxiways you may hit, such as B or C).



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3151 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9001 times:

At small, not too busy airports ATC is usually pretty helpful if you're not familiar. Every now and then you have a situation where neither pilot has been there before. I'll simply ask for a progressive since we're unfamiliar.

At busy airports like ORD and JFK it's not unusual to get told to "follow the fourth MD-80 to 32L-T10" or something like that. We get in line, and go. Sometimes the taxi instructions can get pretty crazy.



DMI
User currently offlineOvrpowrd727 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8987 times:



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 18):
Sometimes the taxi instructions can get pretty crazy.

Let's say that there is some type of construction or even better the aircraft happens to land clear across the airport opposite the terminal gate is needs to be, sometimes you'll hear the alphabet twice before you hear 'contact ground'... especially the new york airports like LGA and JFK that have twin lettering (AA) (TT) (D3) etc...


User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8975 times:

Depending on the size of the airport and the types of operations that might go on, controllers may give modified progressive instructions also.

In LYH, we had a controller that used to always tell unfamiliar pilots to turn north on taxiway Bravo, then hang a left at the Phillips 66 sign to get to the FBO. Not quite standard, but it got the job done quickly and without confusion.



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlineSB From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8970 times:

Heathrow had (still has?) a system where the green centerline lights would come on immediately infront of the aircraft guiding it so to speak. This was controlled by someone in the tower.

S.



"Confirm leave the hold and maintain 320kts?!"
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1925 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8842 times:
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Quoting SB (Reply 21):
Heathrow had (still has?) a system where the green centerline lights would come on immediately infront of the aircraft guiding it so to speak. This was controlled by someone in the tower.

Arent those the lights the light up the entire system in the night as for visibility and not so much as guidance



The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8834 times:



Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 22):

The green lights are taxiway centerline lights, but I have heard of the system SB is talking about that turns them on and off, creating a path to follow.



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3151 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (5 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8832 times:

Certain airports have those lighting systems for operations in low visibility situations. It's entirely possible to be legal to land but not be able to taxi once you're on the ground. I landed at CYHZ once in weather like this. It took nearly an hour to taxi to the gate because the fog was so bad.

Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 23):
The green lights are taxiway centerline lights, but I have heard of the system SB is talking about that turns them on and off, creating a path to follow.

Green lights are also used for high speed turnoffs from the runway.

[Edited 2008-11-30 19:48:12]


DMI
25 Post contains links Vikkyvik : I had thought that some airports use alternating green and white lights for high-speed runway turnoffs, but I can't find a corresponding FAA document
26 MTSUATC : As many have mentioned all airline pilots have airport diagrams and know where they are going for the most part. In my short 2 weeks as a ground contr
27 Post contains links RyDawg82 : High-speed runway turnoff lights are alternating green and yellow. See the AIM: http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff.../publications/ATpubs/AIM/index
28 SlamClick : Coffee? I don't see any coffee spills and I don't want to brag but I've spilled a lot of it in airplanes over the years. Are you referrring to the co
29 Soon7x7 : Some airports have ground radar and require xponders on while taxiing, airports that are prone to poor vis. My guess is in the future more will requir
30 SCCutler : This is the case at (for example) HOU, and it is a pain that my Transponder is linked to the GPS and automagically switches on at 40 knots, and switc
31 Vikkyvik : Interesting. I can see that being difficult - I've actually wondered about that myself. Does SFO have centerline lighting on their taxiways? Or maybe
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