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How pilots find their way around airports when taxiing the aircraft

Taxiing is an aviation term used when pilots move the aircraft slowly on the ground to or from the runway to take-off or after landing. It is that time when the aircraft moves slowly on the ground through different pathways before you take-off or after you land towards the terminal. Despite the aircraft being already on the ground, taxiing is still a tedious procedure as pilots have to follow instructions of ground control.


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In a big airport where there are a lot of taxiways from the runway, you might be wondering how pilots find their way or if they can just take any taxiway to the terminal.

First and foremost, taxiing an aircraft on the runway is far from driving a normal car on a road towards a destination where you could take any road you want at your will for as long as it takes you to your destination. A pilot follows specific instructions as to which taxiway to take until they reach the runway or terminal. This is also to avoid any chance of a ground collision.

In big airports, there are plenty of taxiways to take towards a terminal. It may take beyond 20 minutes or so for an aircraft to taxi before taking-off and after landing due to the numerous turns especially if there are other aircraft on the way.

After an aircraft lands and exits the runway, the pilot switches the radio frequency from the air controller to the ground controller where he receives instructions which way to go to reach the terminal bay. These instructions are very specific as to which taxiway to take such as taxiway alpha, bravo, charlie, etc. On top of the flight plan, the pilot also has a map of the aerodrome, and for some aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, the map is indicated on the touch screen panel.



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The taxiways have clear signs indicated on the path for pilots to be properly guided, but sometimes, it may be challenging to get around especially during inclement weather conditions due to visibility.

When a pilot makes a mistake like turning into a wrong taxiway, ground control comes into contact with the pilot, informing him of the error and providing him the new instructions.

There are also times when ground control suddenly changes the intruction like an earlier aircraft leaving its position where you will stop couldn't get out on time. Other reasons may include change in parking area, a vehicle or object on the taxiway, damage on the taxiway, or no parking slots available.

During taxiing, please do not stand-up to get your things from the overhead bins. Keep your seatbelts fastened until the aircraft comes to a complete stop. The suddent stop and movement can throw you around.

Also, do not complain why pilots take long to taxi wherein there are no other aircraft on it. There are various reasons, procedures and instructions to follow. Pilots have to obey these to ensure that the flight is safe.
Attribution: Pinoy Aviators

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