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Vehicle Driver Airside Safety Check List

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Article Information
Category: Ground Operations Ground Operations
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary

Introduction

This Check List is designed as an aide-memoire to print off and keep if no equivalent document is available so that it can be reviewed periodically. It does not cover the conduct of effective vehicle airside radio communications with ATC which is dealt with separately in the article ATC Radio Use by Airside Vehicles

Prior Knowledge

  • Understand Aerodrome surface marking colour coding:
    • white for runway markings
    • yellow for taxiway markings including lead on/off lines to / from runway centrelines
    • markings on apron and ramp areas for various subordinate purposes may use colours other than yellow such as the commonly used white for roadways.
  • Be aware that the yellow line markings which define the division between taxiways and runways are always continuous on taxiway side and always broken on the runway side, and that when crossing from the continuous-lines-first direction a clearance is required, whereas when crossing from the broken-lines-first-direction clearance is not required.
  • Understand Aerodrome Signs (different types will be used in combination with each other)
    • ‘you are here’ = black square signs
    • Mandatory instruction indicating restricted or prohibited access = white on a red background
    • Arrow and identifier prior to an intersection = which directions lead where - black on a yellow background usually with a ‘you are here’ sign
    • ‘this way to’ = black on yellow background with an arrow`
  • Understand Aerodrome Lighting
    • Lit taxiway centrelines are green; green reflectors may be substituted
    • Lit taxiway edges use blue lights; blue reflectors may be substituted
    • Lit runway centrelines are white except near the end when they may change to red
    • Lit runway edges use white lights except near the end when they may change to yellow
    • A transverse row of red lights is a stop bar and must never be crossed
  • Have any runway hotspots been identified on your aerodrome? If they have been, know where they are.

Tactical Preparation

  • Be aware of the extent of the airside area which requires prior ATC clearance to proceed.
  • If there is more than one ATC designated for control of airside vehicle movements, including active runway crossings, ensure each of their control areas is understood so that frequency changes on expected or likely routes can be anticipated.
  • Note promulgated speed limits and any variation of these in different airside areas.
  • Check for any temporary restrictions and changes in the extent of the authorised movement area.
  • Review any issues which might arise because of reduced forward visibility or frozen surface deposits.
  • Have a current aerodrome chart which shows all taxiway and runway designations available in any vehicle being driven.
  • Consider expected routes in advance of a request for clearance to destination, taking particular note of runways which may be in use and in proximity to or likely to be encountered on these routes.
  • Re-check that you are familiar with the meaning of light signals which may be used by ATC if radio communications cannot be maintained.
  • Satisfy yourself, either before setting off or immediately as you do, that the vehicle being driven appears to be serviceable and that adequate forward visibility through the windscreen is available.

Maintaining Situational Awareness

  • It is essential that an airside vehicle driver remains positively aware of their location at all times.
  • If position uncertainty occurs, STOP at once and seek assistance from ATC.
  • Monitor ATC instructions to other vehicles and aircraft and mentally ‘position’ them relative to the actual and projected position of your vehicle.
  • Focus 100% on the driving and navigation task; if a colleague is in the driving compartment of the vehicle with you, involve them in tracking vehicle position - but do not devolve that responsibility to them.
  • If about to cross a runway having obtained an ATC clearance to do so, always carry out a visual inspection in both potential directions of the full length of the runway, and up the approach paths if visible, to ensure that no aircraft or other vehicles which might conflict with the received crossing clearance are visible.
  • Make full use of all aerodrome surface markings, signs and lights to aid situational awareness.

Further Reading