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11 Ways To Avoid A Runway Incursion

Here are 11 common-sense ways to stay safe on the ground.

1) Use an airport diagram when taxiing.

When ATC gives you taxi instructions, make sure you're looking at a taxi diagram to plan out your route. Doing this will help you visualize the path you need to follow while transiting the airport.


2) Locate hotspots on field.

Hotspots are locations of confusing taxiway/taxiway or taxiway/runway intersections. Having an idea of where these are located will help eliminate the possibility of entering a runway or taxiway without prior clearance.


3) If you're unsure of your position, ask.

If you are at an unfamiliar airport and become disoriented, don't just assume you are going in the right direction. Ask ATC and let them know you may need progressive taxi instructions to get to where you are trying to go. Better to be safe than sorry!

Corey Komarec

4) Read back all hold short instructions to ATC.

You usually here this at towered airports when listening to the ATIS information. This is in place to reduce open-loop communication and mitigate the possibly of a pilot misinterpreting a transmission from ATC.

Bernal Saborio

5) Maintain a sterile cockpit.

When taxiing, you should maintain a sterile cockpit. This means you eliminate any distractions, such as talking about things not related to your flight. By doing this, it allows you to concentrate on taxiing and looking out for other aircraft.


6) Be both an offensive and defensive pilot.

Not only do you need to know where you are on the airport, you also need to be looking out for other aircraft that may not know where they are going. Don't always assume that the other aircraft is going to see you, or that they know where you are.

Corey Komarec

7) Know your airport signs, markings and lighting.

Knowing your airport signs, markings and lights makes you to a safer pilot, because it reduces the possibility of you taxiing the wrong direction.

Rob Faulkner

8) Check for aircraft on the runway and on final.

When taxiing onto the runway, verify that the runway is clear of any hazards, and make sure there isn't an airplane on final for the same runway.


9) If LAHSO are in place, make sure your aircraft can land in the available distance.

91.103 states that the pilot in command must familiarize themselves with runway distances for the airport of intended landing. In the event you are flying to an airport that is using LAHSO, the you must verify that your plane will be able to land in the available runway distance if you accept the clearance.


10) Avoid anticipating ATC instructions.

With experience, it's easy to start to anticipate ATC clearances. However, you should always expect the unexpected. Don't assume that ATC will tell you to "line up and wait" when in reality the clearance was to "hold short." Keep in mind that what you expect to hear from ATC may not always be what they intend you to do.

Global Jet

11) Maintain situational awareness.

This may be obvious, but when you are taxiing, you should be continuously looking for other traffic, making sure you are on the correct taxiway, and also looking out for any hold short markings along your route that you may not have been cleared to cross.


What else do you do to prevent runway incursions? Tell us in the comments below.

Corey Komarec

Corey is a commercial aviation student, Certified Flight Instructor and commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings at the University of North Dakota. He has been flying since 16 years old, and is pursuing a career in the airlines. You can reach him at

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