Pilots and vehicle drivers wanting to enter a runway or taxiway (movement areas) must first get permission from the tower.
As an operator of a vehicle, you must have authorization from ATC before you enter any part of the airport movement area. When the tower is in operation, you must utilize a two-way radio for communicating with and receiving instructions from air traffic control. Do Not Cross the hold line until you have clearance from ATC.
Radio Communications Procedures
- Radio communication always follow the following format:
- Who you are calling (ground, tower, FBO, etc)
- Who you are (your call sign)
- Where you are located
- What you want
- Each vehicle should be designated with an identifying call sign, be marked and lighted appropriately.
- Know the standard Air Traffic Control (ATC) phraseology and never use Citizen’s Band (CB) lingo or law enforcement ‘ten’ codes.
- Think about what you are going to say before calling the controller. Know your call sign, location on the airfield and where you intend to go.
- When the controller is busy, it is best to simply call the tower with your identification and wait for the controller’s response.
- Read back of all runway holding instructions is required and must include the phrase “Hold Short”, the runway’s identifying number and your call sign.
With a little practice, radio communications are not difficult. If you are ever unsure about what the controller said, or if you don’t understand an instruction, ask the controller to repeat the communication by transmitting “SAY AGAIN”.
A controller, even one who is extremely busy, would rather repeat and explain instructions than have a misunderstanding lead to a runway incursion.
When you contact the tower before an operation, you will receive instructions on how to proceed. Be sure you understand your route, stopping points and holding positions. If you are not sure where you are going and would like turn-by-turn directions, ask the controller for “progressive” taxi instructions.
Guide to Airport Signs and Markings
If you lose radio signal STOP and wait for light gun signals: