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Airport Surface Operations Dangers

Courtesy: FAA

Recently there was an incident where one aircraft (Aircraft A) was given taxi clearance from the ramp to the hold short line of the departure runway. Another aircraft (Aircraft B) was given taxi instructions from the runway to the ramp with directions to hold short of the intersecting taxiway and give way to the first aircraft. Both pilots read back their instructions correctly.

As Aircraft A taxied out, and since he was already cleared to taxi to the hold line of his departure runway, the pilot started to program his electronic flight equipment and therefore had his head down as he taxied. Aircraft B failed to hold short at its designated area and taxied into the path of Aircraft A. The pilot of Aircraft A looked up and saw he was about to collide with Aircraft B and managed to stop just short of making contact.

The moral of this scenario: No matter what your taxi clearance is, it is imperative that all taxi operations be treated as the VFR see-and-avoid operations that they are. Always keep your eyes outside the cockpit and remember that any preprogramming of the flight navigational and communication equipment must be done at the ramp or the run-up area and never while the aircraft is in motion.

Always remember that taxi operations, even when you are going to be IFR or if the ramp is in a bad visibility condition, are always VFR operations. Keep your head up and your mind and eyes outside the cockpit. This is the only way to ensure that your aircraft does not become an aluminum shredder.

There are excellent resources available at www.FAA.gov/airports/runway_safety/ about safely operating an aircraft on an airport. Check it out!

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