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How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low vis?

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:51 am
by Trimeresurus
Character count exceeded the maximum limit, so it was going to be "How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low visibility conditions?" I know some airports have ground radars but I doubt the guys in the follow me car can see that radars reading from where they are, and many airports simply don't have it too. It would be scary to see a 777 appearing out of thick fog taxiing onto you while you were driving down.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:08 am
by battlegroup62
They use the ground radio channels just like the aircraft and have their own callsign. They don't get to drive were ever they want, on movement areas they follow the same comm rules and procedures as an aircraft. Ground control keeps track of everyone on frequency with either an old fashioned map or a digital display, its not the pilots job to keep track of it all they just have to keep track of themselves.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:03 am
by FGITD
Non movement vs movement area.

(ironically non movement is where most vehicle movement occurs, but that's not what the name is referring to).

Already mentioned but they treat vehicles in the movement area like aircraft. It requires more training, and is usually fairly limited in who has that access. Where I work it's pretty much just airport ops and emergency services who get to go out there.

Main thing I was always taught was that there is always an aircraft in the place you aren't looking, it's your job to avoid them, and jetblast is always stronger than you think.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:55 am
by Starlionblue
As previously mentioned, in the movement area vehicles are treated the same as aircraft. You'll hear them on the radio, e.g. when a vehicle needs to get out to the runway for a FOD inspection.

On the apron near the aircraft, on the other hand, it's a free-for-all. Of course, the basic rule is "don't hit anything, especially an aircraft," but there's no need to be tracked or reporting. Hence also the need for marshallers in certain cases. For example at TPE the "road" is outside the bays. When entering the bay or during push, marshallers have to stop traffic so the aircraft can cross the "road".

On a related note, during the walkaround you really need eyes in the back of your head. It's the most dangerous part of the flight. Luggage train tugs, catering trucks, fuel trucks. They're all out to get you, especially in places where driving is a bit more "casual". Yes, I'm looking at you, India...

When I was in flight school, an instructor and I came back quite late from some night flying. After securing the aircraft, we noticed that we had been locked in, so he couldn't get the car out. There was no traffic around at the time, so we got on the radio with ground and were subsequently cleared to "taxi" the car on the runway in order to reach a security gate on the other side of the airport. I think we got up to about 140mph. Good times.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:38 am
by Woodreau
At some airports the ground vehicles have some sort of Ads-b transponder. I’d be taxiing around and see airport operations vehicles driving around.

I’d look on my iPad and see the ground vehicles on the taxi chart and their call sign as well.

I thought it was kind of neat seeing the conga line of snowplows each one with their transponder on the iPad taxi chart

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:34 pm
by IAHFLYR
Woodreau wrote:
At some airports the ground vehicles have some sort of Ads-b transponder. I’d be taxiing around and see airport operations vehicles driving around.

I’d look on my iPad and see the ground vehicles on the taxi chart and their call sign as well.

I thought it was kind of neat seeing the conga line of snowplows each one with their transponder on the iPad taxi chart


Yep, and if you look at this sight for a number of airports in the U.S., you'll see all type of ground vehicles wandering about......call signs like ST1 (Super Tug), OPS8 (Airport Ops Vehicle), etc.

https://www.airportviewer.com/

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:18 pm
by shamrock137
Overall its really up to the driver to know where you can and cant go. One thing I was told is to treat it like you are always approaching a railroad crossing that doesn't have working lights or bars. Stop at the points where you are supposed to stop, check for a plane crossing, and go if its clear. While it sometimes looks like a free for all, there are specific areas vehicles are allowed to drive, and procedures that are in place. In the US, typically you'll hear about a Vehicle Service Road, or VSR, these help consolidate traffic on the apron to one specific area, with a set flow pattern. Depending on the size and age if the airport, they can be located along the building, think of the space below where the jetbridge attaches to the terminal, LHR T5 is an example, or at the back of the gates, almost underneath the tail of the aircraft. Take a look at a google maps view of JFK and the space around T2 and T4. The yellow lines are the taxi lines for aircraft, the pilots will try to put the nose gear on this line, and the white lines are the VSR's. You can see that painted in the ground are instructions like Yield, Stop, speed limits, etc just like a regular road. Typically the VSR will only intersect with a yellow taxi line in a specific area, where vehicle drivers are expect to stop, check both ways for aircraft, and only proceed if clear.

There are also visual queues for drivers, like Starlionblue mentioned. Ground staff will block VSR's when aircraft are crossing into a gate or hard stand area, similar to a railroad crossing stopping road traffic for a train to pass, and drivers are trained to look out for the red beacon lights on aircraft. The usual signal is, nav lights mean the aircraft power is on, but no engines are on, and the red beacon lights mean the engines are on, or the aircraft is about to move if it connected to a pushback tractor.

Simply put, if you're on the painted VSR, driving carefully, stopping at the stop signs and looking both ways for crossing aircraft, they wont exactly sneak up on you. But, people speed, or they don't double check, or they just don't care, and sometimes an aircraft can be brought to a halt by a careless driver cutting across a ramp.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 1:03 am
by Starlionblue
shamrock137 wrote:
Simply put, if you're on the painted VSR, driving carefully, stopping at the stop signs and looking both ways for crossing aircraft, they wont exactly sneak up on you. But, people speed, or they don't double check, or they just don't care, and sometimes an aircraft can be brought to a halt by a careless driver cutting across a ramp.


Yep. Had that happen. We'd just started moving and a car cut right in front of the nose. Some rather positive braking required.

We reported it to ground and a minute later saw two security vehicles speed past us, lights blazing, to apprehend the culprit.

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:47 pm
by Trimeresurus
Woodreau wrote:
At some airports the ground vehicles have some sort of Ads-b transponder. I’d be taxiing around and see airport operations vehicles driving around.

I’d look on my iPad and see the ground vehicles on the taxi chart and their call sign as well.

I thought it was kind of neat seeing the conga line of snowplows each one with their transponder on the iPad taxi chart


Aren't transponders usually off for aircraft while on the ground though?

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:22 pm
by e38
No, ON.

The following quote is from U.S.DOT, FAA, SAFO15006 dated May 19, 2015,

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses airport surface surveillance capabilities at some of the busiest airports in the U.S. to determine aircraft and vehicle location when they are operating on an airport movement area. Runway safety systems, such as Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) and Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS), use data from surface movement radar and aircraft transponders to obtain accurate aircraft and vehicle locations, thereby increasing airport surface safety and efficiency."

e38

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:21 pm
by e38
just as an addendum to my post above, on the aircraft I fly, the transponders have four positions--SBY,ON,TA,RA/TA. There is no OFF position. Depending on the avionics manufacturer, some transponders DO have an OFF position; however, "Standby" allows the transponder to maintain a "warm-up" status.

At my company, this is the procedure:

During preflight, the transponder is in the SBY position.
Just prior to pushback, the checklist directs we select the ON position.
Just prior to takeoff, we select RA/TA.
After landing, once we have cleared the runway, we select ON.
After parking, as part of the Shutdown checklist, we select SBY.

e38

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 10:02 pm
by IAHFLYR
e38 wrote:
No, ON.

The following quote is from U.S.DOT, FAA, SAFO15006 dated May 19, 2015,

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses airport surface surveillance capabilities at some of the busiest airports in the U.S. to determine aircraft and vehicle location when they are operating on an airport movement area. Runway safety systems, such as Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) and Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS), use data from surface movement radar and aircraft transponders to obtain accurate aircraft and vehicle locations, thereby increasing airport surface safety and efficiency."

e38


ASDE-X is the key and you point out. Well done. :bigthumbsup:

Re: How do follow me vehicles avoid running into planes or getting affected by their jet blast on taxiways in very low v

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:37 pm
by HAWK21M
Follow me Vehicles are equipped with RT sets & on frequency at all times.
They are aware of whats occuring.