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How Do Pilots Know How To Get To The Gate?  
User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7813 times:

Hi everyone. I have wondered this for a long time now, how do pilots find their wat through the taxiway labyrinth to the exact gate where they should park? The only thing I know (from the unreliable Fsim experience  Smile) is that the ground controllers give the pilot the taxiways to get to the gate. But do they indicate the gate number and how to get to it precisely? Thanks in advance!

-Alfredo

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7804 times:

Commercial pilots usually have airfield maps with them. Controllers advise on the route (taxiways are identified by letters, numbers etc.) and gate they need to taxi to.

It's not too difficult really. Unless, of course, they get lost  Big grin

Regards

Ikarus


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7796 times:

Here's an example of one such map: (There are others).

http://www.naco.faa.gov/content/naco/online/airportdiagrams/00253AD.pdf

There are also maps (Jeppesen produces some) that show various terminals and gate locations in greater detail, including lat/lon info. Gates are also marked with their numbers, either on the terminal building itself, the jetway, or in some places, painted on the ramp.



User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6202 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7795 times:

I hear ORD is pretty complicated. Navigating through the correct taxiways to the parking area can indeed sometimes prove to be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the airport.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8685 posts, RR: 43
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7802 times:

I imagine that taxiing at smaller airports is not a problem, while hubs like JFK, ATL, ORD, DFW, LHR etc. may easily give pilots a hard time finding their gate.

Sorry for getting off topic, but this reminds me of some joke:

Those German controllers at Frankfurt Airport tend to be a
short-tempered lot. They not only expect pilots to know their
parking location but how to get there without any assistance.

So it was with some amusement that we (PanAm 747) listened
to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground and a
British Airways 747 (radio call Speedbird 206) after landing.

Speedbird 206: "Good morning Frankfurt. Speedbird 206 clear
to active."

Ground: "Good Morning. Taxi to your gate."

The British Airways 747 pulls onto the main taxiway and stops.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, ground. I'm looking up the gate
location now."

Ground (impatiently): "Speedbird 206, have you never flown to
Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly), "Yes, in 1944. But I didn't stop."



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7710 times:

Hi again, thanks for the replies guys!

I am familiar with the airport maps, they seem to show everything one needs to go to the gate. Do all airlines provide their pilots with the terminal & gate maps as well?

-Alfredo


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7685 times:

>>>Do all airlines provide their pilots with the terminal & gate maps as well?

Most, if not all, I'd say. That said, once they get familar with the airport and their airline's gate areas after a few flights, the terminal/gate diagrams are mainly used for looking up lat/lon data when needed. Sometimes, airlines change terminal wings and/or gates at an airport, and the diagrams get used more, but after the new learning curve, that tapers off.


User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7680 times:

...prove to be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the airport.

that's why you ask for progressive taxi instructions. this was a contoller will tell you exactly where to go turn by turn.



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 7658 times:

>>>that's why you ask for progressive taxi instructions.

Air carrier crews are expected to have all relevant nav data/charts (including taxi charts) for use at large airports like ORD, etc. Use of progressive taxi instructions (especially if it was avoidable) would really tie-up the frequency.

Not to say it never happens, just not routinely.


User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7632 times:

That's great information, thank you again guys.  Smile Now I'm real clear on the subject!

-Alfredo

[Edited 2003-09-16 04:26:35]

User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6585 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 7607 times:

Some airports are very good like Heathrow or Singapore in that they can light the taxiway lights specific to the taxi route of each aircraft. They simply tell you to "Follow the greens" and that's it. You go where the lights lead. Simple.

User currently offlineN6376m From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7429 times:

I guess I'd like to expand on this a bit; how does the pilot know what gate he's going to (as opposed to how to get there)? For example when my flight lands at ATL, how does the pilot know that he's going to park at A4 or B9 etc . . .

Also, when does he know this and does ATC have this information as well and does it factor into their clearances? It seems that if we're parking on the North side, we land on the northern runways.

Thanks in advance.

-76M



User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6585 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7386 times:

ATC knows well in advance which gate your plane is going to park at and will endeavour to land your aircraft nearest, or at least know the part of the terminal where that airline normally parks their planes.

From a pilot's point of view, if we have time we call the local ground services agent on the company frequency and give them an ETA, and they respond with the expected bay number. Going into some ports, we automatically get the bay number through ACARS from our company. If we have not had time to call, it's no problem, as ATC will always tell you which gate you are taxying to and include that in your taxiway instructions.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3465 posts, RR: 47
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7371 times:

...how does the pilot know what gate he's going to (as opposed to how to get there)? For example when my flight lands at ATL, how does the pilot know that he's going to park at A4 or B9 etc . . .

At AA we request "changeover" information via ACARS. Used to provide a bunch of data, but now just your arrival gate, crew connections and pax connections. If ACARS is not available, a quick radio call to the station will provide the gate. After clearing all runways, a quick radio call to the station to confirm gate availability is the norm.

...does ATC have this information as well...

Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends upon the airport & airline. i.e. AA at DFW/ORD/MIA there is no way ATC wants to know what gate I'm going to. First call to Ground Control includes your gate assignment.

...does it factor into their clearances?

Yes, but only when time, traffic and work load permits. Landed a few hours ago at LAX and even though all AA gates are on the south side, we were required to land on the north side to balance the arrival traffic flow.




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineN6376m From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7344 times:

Gentlemen thank you for your responses.

One more follow up - What's ACARS?

Regards,

-76M


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3465 posts, RR: 47
Reply 15, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7339 times:

What's ACARS?

"Airline Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) is a communications data link system..."




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7281 times:

The actual gate assignment is done by the airlines SOC. Rarely does a controller know the actual gate assignment. Of course, One exception may be SNA, since each half of the terminal is not assigned, and its first come first serve, but even then the controllers do not know the exact assignment. The airlines operations would most likely get that from airport ops.


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3465 posts, RR: 47
Reply 17, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 7264 times:

Gate assignments at SNA are assigned by AA SNA operations. If AA operations does not contact the airline, the gate assignment has not changed from the monthly plan --it usually does not change much. When last minute changes are necessary, AA ops will contact the individual airline(s) involved with appropriate gate change(s).


*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6585 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 7234 times:

Gate assignment by airlines seems to be something peculiar to the US. All other major international airports I have been to, the gates are assigned by the controllers, and the individual airlines have nothing to do with it.

People should specify in their replies that the US does things a certain way, otherwise people might be inclined to think the whole world is the same, and more often than not, it isn't.


User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7177 times:

How do you get from the runway to the gate?

Press 1 for progressive taxi instructions and the pink like magically appears on the taxiway...



User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 7115 times:

Funny Ual747 lol
I usually try following the airport diagrams I have while on the Flight Simulator, and when I'm at the last taxiway on the route and have no idea where the gate is, press 1 and follow the pink.

I wish the flight sim was a realistic thing. Quite honestly, I prefer getting the money someday to start my flight lessons! But for the moment, enjoy Airliners.net and drive 737's with my keyboard  Smile

-Alfredo

[Edited 2003-09-18 04:55:01]

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