Taxiway Markings

What are taxiway markings for? Once your aircraft is ready to taxi, usually the First Officer calls the FAA ground controller (who controls the taxiways) for a clearance to taxi to the runway in use. The ground controller will then issue taxi instructions.

This is a very important phase of your flight because both pilots must be very attentive to not only the ground controller instructions, but then the process as your flight proceeds to the runway. Obviously this gets even more critical when you are at a major airport with the resultant large amount of aircraft taxiing. When visibility is reduced or at night, then it can get even more difficult.

As your aircraft taxis to the runway for takeoff, there are many taxiway markings (taxiway signs) that your pilots need to pay attention to. Just like driving on the road and using traffic signs, these markings help to ensure a safe and orderly process of getting around the airport. These are identified by a letter or a letter-number combination.

Simple Intersection Runway Identifier Taxiway Identifier Taxiway/Runway Intersection
Simple Intersection Runway Identifier Taxiway Identifier Taxiway/Runway Intersection

Because just taxiing on the airport can be potentially dangerous, then extra and undivided attention must be focused by both pilots. That is why many airlines have eliminated the old "taxi checklist", so taxiing can have the undivided attention of both pilots. Of course, if not careful, inadvertent turning the wrong way can lead to a potential "runway excursion", which can lead to collisions between aircraft taking off, landing, and crossing runways. More on this in a later section, but suffice to say, that runway excursions are a major focus of the FAA and pilot organizations.

The various markings used at all airports throughout the world have, as much as possible, been standardized to help eliminate confusion. Following these signs and the ground controller instructions helps to ensure safe operations on the ground.






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