Flight Training - January 2015 - 26

CHECKRIDE

By Bob Schmelzer

PLUS Don't let your guard down on
the ground-take the Air Safety Institute's Runway Safety online course.

SAFETY ON THE GROUND

AVOIDING RUNWAY INCURSIONS

A

n average of three runway incursions occur each day at towered airports across the United States, and a large percentage
of these are caused by general aviation pilots. It's no wonder that the FAA places a high priority on runway incursion
avoidance. Many factors can lead to a runway incursion, but, statistically speaking, failure to comply with air traffic control instructions
combined with airport unfamiliarity top the list. Runway incursions
represent an unacceptable aviation safety risk that must be mitigated.
Runway incursion avoidance is not
listed as a specific task in the practical test
standards; however, it is one of several
"Special Emphasis Areas" critical to flight
safety that must be evaluated during
all checkrides. One of the best ways to
demonstrate this skill to your designated
pilot examiner during your checkride is by
following safe standard runway incursion avoidance procedures throughout
your flight, beginning with writing down
all ATC clearances and taxi instructions.
Combine this with having an airport diagram handy for easy reference before and
during taxi-even if you're at a familiar
airport. Failing to write down taxi instructions or keep an airport diagram handy is a
warning flag to any examiner.
Familiarize yourself with the anticipated taxi route as determined by the
planned departure runway. Does this route
take you through any "hot spots" or cross

26 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

any runways? At towered airports, upon
receipt of your taxi clearance, a precise
readback of all runway hold-short and/
or crossing instructions is critical. If you
have any doubt or confusion about the
clearance or the taxi route, stop, remain
clear of the runway, and contact ATC. Ask
ATC to confirm the instructions. Never
hesitate to ask ATC for assistance or
progressive taxi instructions, preferably
before you get into trouble. Do not attempt
to complete any checklist items or permit
nonessential conversation while taxiing.
Some examiners love to begin chatting or
asking inappropriate, non-safety-related
questions while you taxi. Politely ask the
examiner to hold that thought.
Another way to improve safety on the
airport is through proper operation of
aircraft lighting. Your aircraft's rotating
beacon or tail/fin strobe should be on
whenever the engine is running. Anytime

you are crossing a runway, all exterior
lights should be turned on. If you are holding for takeoff on the runway, turn your
landing lights on once takeoff clearance
has been received. Wing strobes should
also be turned on while on any runway and
while airborne, day or night. Turn wing
strobes off after clearing all runways during taxi operations to avoid blinding other
pilots and ground vehicle drivers.
When returning to land, after determining the active runway, review your airport
diagram to plan your runway exit and taxi
route to parking. Never exit your landing
runway directly onto another intersecting
runway without ATC instructions to do so.
Do not accept last-minute or unclear ATC
instructions that you are not sure you can
safely obey. Just say "Unable." Once you
have cleared the runway, do not stop until
your aircraft is clear of the runway holdshort markings. After that, any further taxi
requires additional ATC clearance.
When operating at nontowered airports,
effective communications and see-andavoid procedures are very important.
Advise other pilots in the area of your
location and intentions using clear and
accurate standard radio phraseology.
Although "line up and wait" is used at
towered airports, its use is not recommended at nontowered facilities. Since
understanding standardized runway and
airport signage plays a huge safety role,
many examiners incorporate some form
of airport signage identification into their
testing practices. But the actions you take
in the airplane will speak volumes about
how well-prepared you are to avoid an
ugly runway incursion.
 
Bob Schmelzer is a Chicago-area designated pilot
examiner, a United Airlines captain, and a Boeing
777 line check airman. He has been an active flight
instructor since 1972.


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - January 2015

Contents
Flight Training - January 2015 - Cover1
Flight Training - January 2015 - Cover2
Flight Training - January 2015 - Contents
Flight Training - January 2015 - 2
Flight Training - January 2015 - 3
Flight Training - January 2015 - 4
Flight Training - January 2015 - 5
Flight Training - January 2015 - 6
Flight Training - January 2015 - 7
Flight Training - January 2015 - 8
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Flight Training - January 2015 - 19
Flight Training - January 2015 - 20
Flight Training - January 2015 - 21
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Flight Training - January 2015 - 25
Flight Training - January 2015 - 26
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Flight Training - January 2015 - Cover3
Flight Training - January 2015 - Cover4
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