FAA: Heads Up When Runways Are Used as Taxiways

 - August 20, 2013, 3:35 PM

The FAA issued SAFO 13007, which warns pilots to use extra caution when taxiing on intersecting or active runways. “At many airports, it is common for ATC to use an active or inactive runway as a taxiway [to accommodate] airport geometry, construction, congestion or taxiway restrictions.”

For these operations to be conducted safely, the FAA said crews must maintain positional awareness and be aware that some of the visual cues–such as signs, markings and lighting–that help safeguard them on taxiways might not be present.

Since runways are typically wider than taxiways, the signs located on the edge of a runway could be more difficult for pilots to see and identify than those on the edge of a taxiway, the FAA said. “When the runway being taxied on crosses another active runway, the intersections of runway-to-runway crossing points are frequently missing many of the visual cues present on taxiways such as signs, markings and lighting.”

To help prevent runway incursions, the FAA is urging pilots to minimize distractions, such as head-down time, cabin communications, engine starts and checklists when on any runway. It is also asking operators to include realistic runway incursion prevention as part of their pilot training program.