B747forever
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How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:31 am

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??
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zappbrannigan
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:50 am

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.
 
ShyFlyer
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:22 am



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.
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:55 am

Related question: Is there a standard (or multiple ones) for naming of taxiways? If so, how strictly is it followed?
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OPNLguy
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:32 am



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
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KELPkid
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:57 am

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)
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JAGflyer
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:58 am



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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B747forever
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:53 am

Thank you for all answers.

So there is a combination of all the three examples I gave plus the progressive taxi help.
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ShyFlyer
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:35 am



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.
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vikkyvik
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:50 am



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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andz
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:12 pm



Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 6):
It's pretty sweet

It probably is with all the coffee that's been spilled on it, that's disgusting!
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arffdude
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:49 pm



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.
 
Northwest727
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:04 pm



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.
 
Mir
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:14 am



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.

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josekmlb
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:02 am

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.
 
ovrpowrd727
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:15 am

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-->
 
QANTAS747-438
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:58 am

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.
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vikkyvik
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:00 am



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).
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pilotpip
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:29 pm

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.
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ovrpowrd727
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:05 pm



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...
 
cptspeaking
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:31 pm

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.
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SB
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:43 pm

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.
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FlyDeltaJets
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:04 am



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
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cptspeaking
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:12 am



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.
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pilotpip
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:16 am

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
 
vikkyvik
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:01 am

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 24):
Green lights are also used for high speed turnoffs from the runway.

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.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? Thanks.

EDIT: found it here:

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff...50-5340-30D/150_5340_30d_part1.pdf

on page 18 of the PDF.

[Edited 2008-11-30 21:05:24]
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MTSUATC
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:40 pm

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 controller ive noticed that SWA pilots know exactly where they are going. But as a ground controller, you MUST know your airport like the back of your hand. That was my first test at my facility. But when I have had to give progressive my trainer told me to call his turns. So now thats what I do. When a pilot asks for progressive I call his turns, eg straight ahead first left then 2nd right.
 
RyDawg82
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:38 am



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 25):
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.

High-speed runway turnoff lights are alternating green and yellow. See the AIM:
http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff.../publications/ATpubs/AIM/index.htm

2-1-5. In-runway Lighting
c. Taxiway Centerline Lead-Off Lights. Taxiway centerline lead-off lights provide visual guidance to persons exiting the runway. They are color-coded to warn pilots and vehicle drivers that they are within the runway environment or instrument landing system/microwave landing system (ILS/MLS) critical area, whichever is more restrictive. Alternate green and yellow lights are installed, beginning with green, from the runway centerline to one centerline light position beyond the runway holding position or ILS/MLS critical area holding position.


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SlamClick
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:17 am



Quoting Andz (Reply 10):
with all the coffee that's been spilled on it, that's disgusting!

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 coffee stains with contour lines and spot elevations?

Oh! There it is, down below. Well, he missed the whole thing somehow. Where's the fun in that?

It is the procedure at one airline (at least) that BOTH pilots will have the airport diagram out and in view and that only one of them will perform head-down tasks while the aircraft is moving. (seems funny to even need to say that but there you are...) Runway incursions are a very hot item between the FAA and flight ops/training managers just now.

One observation; San Francisco on a rainy night is very challenging to taxi on. The infields between paralell taxiways are just about exactly the width of the taxiways themselves. So what you get is two paralell rows of lights just about where you expect them, and leading off in the direction you expect. The only thing different is that there may be blue lights in the middle of the field where the crossing taxiway fillets are. I've had to count rows of lights before I actually turned and could see the center stripe.
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soon7x7
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:10 am

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 require this as FAA has big RUNWAY INCURSION campaign ongoing.
 
sccutler
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:48 am



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 29):
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 require this as FAA has big RUNWAY INCURSION campaign ongoing.

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 switches to standby when slowed to under 35 knots. I have to remember to switch it back in to active.

Navigating an unfamiliar airport on the ground is more stressful than most in-flight situations.
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vikkyvik
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RE: How Do Pilots Find The Taxi Ways?

Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:36 am



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 28):
One observation; San Francisco on a rainy night is very challenging to taxi on. The infields between paralell taxiways are just about exactly the width of the taxiways themselves. So what you get is two paralell rows of lights just about where you expect them, and leading off in the direction you expect. The only thing different is that there may be blue lights in the middle of the field where the crossing taxiway fillets are. I've had to count rows of lights before I actually turned and could see the center stripe.

Interesting. I can see that being difficult - I've actually wondered about that myself.

Does SFO have centerline lighting on their taxiways? Or maybe just on some of them? Seems like a good candidate to install them if they don't.

Quoting RyDawg82 (Reply 27):

High-speed runway turnoff lights are alternating green and yellow. See the AIM:

Ah, thanks for the link. The link I found doesn't seem to be the same thing, but had the same info about high-speed turnoffs.
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