Ignorance is bliss, at least that’s what Shakespeare said, but ignorance can get you busted in the aviation world. As of June 30th the FAA has implemented some minor changes to the taxi instructions we all receive at towered airports. Specifically, the FAA has removed the “taxi to” phraseology. Keep reading to find out what this means to you.
The latest policy change removes the “taxi to” phraseology which, until today, permitted us to cross any intersecting runways along our route. That freedom no longer exists and pilots will be required to receive an explicit crossing clearance for each runway. That’s all there is to it. If you see a runway and have not been cleared to cross it – stop the airplane and hold short.
Let’s consider a few examples. Suppose you just landed at a towered airport. In the past, ATC would typically state something like “turn right next taxiway, taxi via bravo to the ramp.” Suppose there is a crossing runway 13 across taxiway bravo. Now, the taxi instruction must come in one of these two forms:
- “turn right next taxiway, taxi via bravo, hold short of runway one three.”
- “turn right next taxiway, taxi via bravo, cross runway one three to the ramp.”
As you can see, pilots still follow ATC’s instructions to a tee, but they need to be extra mindful of crossing runways and stop the plane prior to crossing any time a doubt exists.