Runway crossing procedure change for Mechanics

As an aircraft mechanic, if you taxi or tow an aircraft or drive a vehicle across a runway, including inactive or closed runways, you need to be aware of a runway crossing procedure change. This new runway crossing procedure takes affect June 30, 2010. This important procedure has been put in place to help reduce runway incursions.

A runway incursion as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) means "any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft."

According to the FAA Runway Safety Statistics, in 2009 there were 951 reported runway incursions. There have been 673 incursions reported as of June 2010.

The most infamous runway incursion happened in 1977 when two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. In this tragedy, 538 people lost their lives in what remains the deadliest accident in aviation history.

According to the FAA the new procedure is as follows:

New Runway Crossing Procedure
Notice Number: NOTC2372
Runway Crossing Procedure Change

• Beginning June 30, 2010, controllers will be required to issue explicit instructions to cross or hold short of each runway that intersects a taxi route.
• "Taxi to" will no longer be used when issuing taxi instructions to an assigned take-off runway.
• Instructions to cross a runway will be issued one at a time. Instructions to cross multiple runways will not be issued.
• An aircraft or vehicle must have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing is issued.
• This applies to any runway, including inactive or closed runways.

Changes will also be made to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to reflect the new procedures.

Never cross a hold line without explicit ATC instructions. If in doubt ASK!

Reminder: You may not enter a runway unless you have been:
• instructed to cross that specific runway,
• cleared to take off from that runway, or
• instructed to position and hold on that specific runway.

To see a video of the change click here.

To read the Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions click here.

For additional information regarding runway safety click here.

Let's be careful out there.


ATC rules apply to all who taxi aircraft or drive vehicles on the AOA and communicate with ATC regardless of if you are a pilot, mechanic, airport operations, etc. While as a private pilot, I have been made aware of this change many a time from pilot oriented magazines & web sites, this is one of the few times (if not first) where I have seen it relayed to the mechanics for their benefit as well. Good job!

Remember, when operating on the field know the rules, communicate effectively, know the airport layout and if you are unsure of an instruction, ask for clarification. Also, never be afraid to ask for a progressive taxi. It can keep you safe and out of trouble.

Posted by David Vandenbroeck via LinkedIn

Thanks David for your comment
There are a lot of pilot sites with great content but there was no single source for the maintenance professionals. That was one of the core reasons we decided to start the site. To create a site with a forum, jobs, news and blogs all around aircraft maintenance.

This appears to be for aircraft under their own power. What if a tug has to be used?

Posted by Dennis jettun via LinkedIn

You are very welcome Bob. Keep up the good work.

Posted by David Vandenbroeck via LinkedIn

I think you will find the intent is that any vehicle or aircraft that must cross a runway will need explicit clearance from Ground Control. Goldhoffers,Krauss-Moffies and tow tractors would fall in that catagory. As always, better safe to stop and get clearance than wind up on the news.

Posted by Alan Broadfield via LinkedIn

If the intent is there, it will have to obviously be spelled out under FAR and codified as such other wise it is left open to interpretation.

Posted by Dennis jettun via LinkedIn

The notice clearly states the following:" An aircraft or vehicle must have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing is issued." The FAA clearly intends that the policy covers vehicles as well as aircraft.

I taxied aircraft at O'Hare Intl. airport for many years and can tell you that whether I was driving a tow tractor, Goldhoffer or taxing an aircraft, I would never cross a runway without clearance from ATC. Common sense should previal in a situation like this.

Always get clearance before croosing. Do not incurse!

Posted by Ozório Coutinho via LinkedIn