Ground operations

The apron at Jandakot aerodrome, with a bunch of planes parked in rows

Key areas when planning to navigate around an aerodrome are:

  • study the layout, paying particular attention to complex intersections and RWY incursion hotspots in ERSA
  • anticipate your taxi route to and from the RWY in use based on information from the ATIS, NOTAMs, ERSA, recent experience and the aerodrome chart
  • have the aerodrome chart or diagram readily available to use during the planning phase and while taxiing
  • check the route on which you are taxiing against the chart or ERSA and again, pay special attention to complex intersections
  • continually scan for conflicting traffic and holding point markings
  • confirm your assigned route if you are in doubt about the taxi instructions received from a controller.

A specific clearance is required to enter, backtrack, line-up on, cross or take-off from a runway. When taxiing, ensure you have received a specific clearance to cross any runway on your taxi route.

The clearance will include your callsign and the words ‘CROSS RWY XX’. An ATC clearance to line-up does not authorise the pilot to backtrack on the runway.

While taxiing, the use of standard operating procedures and your radio will increase the safety of operations. This includes following instructions from ATC, confirming your understanding of ATC instructions by ensuring correct readbacks, maintaining situational awareness, using all resources available and ensuring effective pilot/controller communication practices. At the holding point, ensure your ‘ready’ call is on the correct frequency.

Using non-standard radio calls or readbacks affects the ability of ATC to understand your intentions and confirm that you have understood your clearance.

The principle of good communication is to effectively articulate:

  • who you are
  • where you are
  • what you want.

When landing, runway confusion can be avoided by:

  • paying careful attention to runways inclearances
  • always reading back an assigned runway in full
  • taking sufficient time during the approach briefing to determine how positive runway identification will be achieved, particularly if using a non-precision, circling or visual approach
  • visually identifying the correct runway before entering or landing on it, depending on weather conditions
  • distinguishing between runway lighting and taxiway lighting, which are coloured differently.
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