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Taxiing To Gate... Wait for GND or just Go?


Steven Perry
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At several VATUSA events I've noticed planes are stacking up on the ground after exiting the runway. After landing, tower is advising pilots to contact ground for taxi instructions. Pilots are waiting to get those instructions before moving off the high speed exits.

 

We fly single pilot here. We don't have someone helping us switch radio frequencies, talk to ATC, and clean up the plane whilst we focus on maintaining taxiway centerline. So maybe in the interest of expediency, we can cut a few realism corners?

 

Controllers: do you really need to give explicit taxi instructions to planes on the way in? Half the time I hear "taxi to parking" and the other half it is "taxi to parking via [a single taxiway]". Cannot tower simply say "taxi to parking, monitor ground"?

 

Pilots: keep it moving! Look left, look right, and go! Especially if there is an obvious ground traffic pattern or if you just want to dart to that first gate across one empty taxiway.

 

In one ridiculous example from this past winter, the ground controller completely froze up and there were several of us stacked up on the exit taxiway with the leader holding short of a parallel and vacant taxiway. After three aircraft, the next guy couldn't get past the hold short bars. Tower kept landing pilots regardless and everyone felt like joining the queue to see what we were all waiting on I guess. We ended up with planes sitting on the runway centerline in queue to exit the runway. Tower kept landing more. All because the lead guy wouldn't stick his nose out there into that perfectly clear taxiway.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

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I understand where you're coming from, but I definitely don't want to see a movement towards less-structured control of ground movements. Sure, pilots taxiing to the gate on their own without waiting for ground may work fine most of the time, but it would set a bad precedent for when rigid control of ground movements is a necessity, such as during events, when you can end up with runway incursions or aircraft coming nose-to-nose on a taxiway if movements are not positively controlled by ATC.

 

If a tower controller wants to issue "taxi to parking, monitor ground" then that's great ... but we don't want pilots taxiing on their own. Even if there is an obvious ground traffic pattern, as you put it, that doesn't mean that they won't cause a problem if they taxi without instructions. That's not the pilot's call to make.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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definitely dont want to start moving on your own, that adds to the mess, not lessens it. there is nothing saying you have to wait at the exit for your instructions though. the guidance, least in the US is to get as far past the hold bars you need to for the entire aircraft to be completely clear, even if you have to get on the actual taxiways to do it. when ground and tower stop talking to each other and those clogs happen thats another issue. you might have to call the go around yourself even if tower cleared you. when they ask you why you are going around, tell them. or stick it on the runway and see if they wake up when they have to force the traffic behind to go missed for their screw up.

 

there are many things the controllers can do to coordinate this. IE, do the monitor, thats totally workable, or tower taxis them to a certain holding area for further instructions, etc..

 

we constantly jam up in our cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D where i fly at. its the busiest delta in the state. if we start jamming up at the exits, we may pull onto taxiways to make room, or exit further down. then we normally would. i think thats where the biggest issue comes online, everyone wants to exit at the same spot. that plus its much easier with small aircraft to jam together then large jumbos lol

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I think another major cause of this is lack of preparing on the pilot side (WAIT don't shoot yet!). I do understand that majority of pilots are single piloted ships, and their priorities should be to take care of airborne tasks first, but [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming that one has enough time to prepare for the approach prior to flying it.......

 

The Ground frequency is published on the approach plate for a reason. They should have this put in a COMM2 or a STBY that way they are able to be talking to the GND controller nearly immediately after told to switch. For my personal suggestion, I have GND Freq in the COM1 with approach, and tower on COM2. Once slowed down prior to exiting i activate COM1 so i can listen to both GND and TWR. This way i can hear if any other transmissions are taking place and can call in as soon as TWR gives the instruction to change. Hope this may help anyone who may be curious about how to stay ahead of both the airplane and ATC.

Screenshot%202014-11-08%2001.20.45.png

 

I do also agree that controllers should be trained and have operating procedures to move the aircraft from the hold bars while switching to ground. ATL for example you will may times hear. "Cross 27R at papa join Lima, ground point niner" or "Cross 27R at tango join Mike, ground point niner." The ground controller will protect these taxiways for the arrivals so they can keep moving and not have their tail sticking over the runway.

The above pertains to United States

 

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"Cross 27R at papa join Lima, ground point niner" or "Cross 27R at tango join Mike, ground point niner." The ground controller will protect these taxiways for the arrivals so they can keep moving and not have their tail sticking over the runway.

 

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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Controllers: do you really need to give explicit taxi instructions to planes on the way in? Half the time I hear "taxi to parking" and the other half it is "taxi to parking via [a single taxiway]". Cannot tower simply say "taxi to parking, monitor ground"?

 

In the US, the short answer is that detailed taxi instructions must be given. "Taxi to parking, monitor ground," would be a complete departure from the established procedure. Sort of like telling aircraft to "takeoff wherever."

 

Pilots: keep it moving! Look left, look right, and go! Especially if there is an obvious ground traffic pattern or if you just want to dart to that first gate across one empty taxiway.

 

In the US, pilots are required to exit the runway far enough that all portions of the aircraft clear the hold short bars. If doing so requires protruding into the crossing taxiway, that's fine. However, pilots are not authorized to enter a taxiway or runway otherwise, unless instruction is given by ATC. What you're suggesting would be breaking the rules as written. I don't see why we COULDNT do this on a pretend airplane network, but it's just counter-intuitive to the procedures.

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Controllers: do you really need to give explicit taxi instructions to planes on the way in? Half the time I hear "taxi to parking" and the other half it is "taxi to parking via [a single taxiway]". Cannot tower simply say "taxi to parking, monitor ground"?

 

In the US, the short answer is that detailed taxi instructions must be given. "Taxi to parking, monitor ground," would be a complete departure from the established procedure. Sort of like telling aircraft to "takeoff wherever."

 

Really? FAAO 7110.65 has an explicit example phraseology "taxi to the hanger" without giving any routing. The FAA recently changed the rules on outbound taxi movements to require a routing, but 3-7-2-b does not apply to arriving aircraft.

 

Even if a specific routing is necessary, there's no reason tower can't give it then advise to contact or (preferably) monitor ground. Listen to JFK Tower on Live ATC and you'll hear it all the time when landing northwest.

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kjfk/KJFK-Twr-Nov-03-2014-0000Z.mp3

 

 

Pilots: keep it moving! Look left, look right, and go! Especially if there is an obvious ground traffic pattern or if you just want to dart to that first gate across one empty taxiway.

 

In the US, pilots are required to exit the runway far enough that all portions of the aircraft clear the hold short bars. If doing so requires protruding into the crossing taxiway, that's fine. However, pilots are not authorized to enter a taxiway or runway otherwise, unless instruction is given by ATC. What you're suggesting would be breaking the rules as written. I don't see why we COULDNT do this on a pretend airplane network, but it's just counter-intuitive to the procedures.

 

Maybe this rule is like the driving rule about coming to a complete stop and counting to 3-Mississippi at all stop signs? No one has asked me to call the tower afterward. No CFI or other crew member has said anything about it. Granted, my experience is limited to King Airs and smaller at Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Cs and smaller. Perhaps its a different world in the airlines at the major hub airports.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

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3-7-2. TAXI AND GROUND MOVEMENT OPERATIONS

 

Issue the route for the aircraft/vehicle to follow on the movement area in concise and easy to understand terms. The taxi clearance must include the specific route to follow. When a taxi clearance to a runway is issued to an aircraft, confirm the aircraft has the correct runway [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ignment.

 

How does a specific route to follow not apply to arrivals? You are right that part B applies only aircraft to an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned takeoff runway, but the the first three sentences of 3-7-2 apply to all aircraft and vehicles.

The above pertains to United States

 

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Really? FAAO 7110.65 has an explicit example phraseology "taxi to the hanger" without giving any routing.

 

Where?

 

Touché. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that the FAA contradicts itself within the space of a single page.

 

I really don't think it does. Maybe I'm reading it differently.

 

Even if a specific routing is necessary, there's no reason tower can't give it then advise to contact or (preferably) monitor ground.

 

I agree with this. Especially if the exiting taxiways are getting blocked, tower can give full or at least partial instructions before switching the aircraft to ground to keep things moving.

 

Maybe this rule is like the driving rule about coming to a complete stop and counting to 3-Mississippi at all stop signs? No one has asked me to call the tower afterward. No CFI or other crew member has said anything about it. Granted, my experience is limited to King Airs and smaller at Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Cs and smaller. Perhaps its a different world in the airlines at the major hub airports.

 

I always observe people stopping prior to entering the next taixway at my airport. Sometimes, commercial pilots get brave and continue on their own because they're familiar. This normally doesn't cause an issue, sometimes it does. Regardless, they're not supposed to do it, whether we deviate them for such a minor transgression at my sleepy airport is a separate issue entirely.

 

Though, since your original examples involved the Tower allowing aircraft to land on an occupied runway, I'm not sure that they were all too concerned about the rules to begin with. I think improving server lag, voice comm quality, and pilot/controller training would help make this whole thing less of an issue on the network. However, people getting overwhelmed during events is hardly unusual. There are a lot of planes to deal with, and most folks are hobbyists.

 

Anyhow, AIM 4-3-20 provides pilots some guidance on how to handle runway exiting. It references Title 14 CFR 91.129 which has a more broad requirement to only operate on airport surfaces with ATC authorization:

 

4−3−20. Exiting the Runway After Landing

The following procedures must be followed after

landing and reaching taxi speed.

 

a. Exit the runway without delay at the first

available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by

ATC. Pilots must not exit the landing runway onto

another runway unless authorized by ATC. At

airports with an operating control tower, pilots should

not stop or reverse course on the runway without first

obtaining ATC approval.

 

b. Taxi clear of the runway unless otherwise

directed by ATC. An aircraft is considered clear of the

runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the

runway edge and there are no restrictions to its

continued movement beyond the runway holding

position markings. In the absence of ATC instructions,

the pilot is expected to taxi clear of the landing

runway by taxiing beyond the runway holding

position markings [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated with the landing

runway, even if that requires the aircraft to protrude

into or cross another taxiway or ramp area. Once all

parts of the aircraft have crossed the runway holding

position markings, the pilot must hold unless further

instructions have been issued by ATC.

 

NOTE−

1. The tower will issue the pilot instructions which will

permit the aircraft to enter another taxiway, runway, or

ramp area when required.

 

2. Guidance contained in subparagraphs a and b above is

considered an integral part of the landing clearance and

satisfies the requirement of 14 CFR Section 91.129.

c. Immediately change to ground control frequency

when advised by the tower and obtain a taxi

clearance.

 

NOTE−

1. The tower will issue instructions required to resolve any

potential conflictions with other ground traffic prior to

advising the pilot to contact ground control.

2. A clearance from ATC to taxi to the ramp authorizes the

aircraft to cross all runways and taxiway intersections.

Pilots not familiar with the taxi route should request

specific taxi instructions from ATC.

 

I really think this is an issue of communication lag, and pilot/controller ability on the network. It's hard to make things move as quickly as they need to during busy events because the audio is so poor and everything takes a second or two longer vs. the real world radio comms. Plus people can broadcast simultaneously so there's no real control over the frequency. Events are fun, but limitations on the network make them a challenge in so many ways other than the traffic volume.

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I don't have a problem with a controller saying "taxi to the ramp". St. Louis is a prime example. We have zero need to issue any taxi route for inbound aircraft because the ramp is right off the runway. I do however need all the inbound pilots to be in contact with ground at all times.

 

The real problem with "monitor ground" is the fact that 99% of pilots will not change frequencies. Thus the need to require a check in with ground.

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EXAMPLE-

“Cross Runway Two-Eight Left, hold short of Runway Two-Eight Right.”

“Taxi/continue taxiing/proceed to the hangar"

 

You would use that when the aircraft has already been given the detailed taxi instruction, but had been told to hold short somewhere and you're ready for them to continue.

 

The detailed instruction is still required at some point.

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  • 1 month later...

just want to add my 2.5 cents to the subject. And sorry for not reading all the messages here first as there is a lot of comments.

 

First off all, we are all singles 99% of the time. Controllers are just as human as us pilots. I as a pilot under live atc have had issues with them. Your out at a remote airport with only center on, his focus is more his major airport where he is playing all levels from clearance to center. I want to say to controllers, hey, don't for get us pilots off in the remote areas, but then we need pilots to follow directions and not create situations...

 

I've been in some busy airspaces and have had pilots that didn't have the experience and not being prepared out with the more experiences pilots. Some ATCs are really good at showing them the ropes with out taking the attention away from the others, and then there are ATC that could use a slap on the had for not helping. Remember we were all new at this once before. I know there are always cases that we wish didn't happen, but every challenge is a learning experience.

 

You will find me doing long hauls and flying in Alaska under VFR. I don't mind good controllers but I like more spending the time just flying. There are lots of times I would love having an ATC available, going into an airport with almost no visibility, etc.

 

Anyway, please don't pick on one guy because this situation happened. Controllers go from Clearance Delivery and Ground at a minor airport and go thru a lot of training before ever moving up thru the ranks. Pilots don't ever get training, and some think there exhaust doesn't stink. Lastly this is still just a hobby, I have yet to hear of anyone getting a paycheck flying on vatsim...

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