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10 Ways to Avoid A Runway Incursion

Because nobody wants one...

1) Read Back Hold Short Instructions

It's something that air traffic controllers require during read back of every taxi clearance. Controllers need to verify that you understood their instructions.

Live from the Flight Deck

2) Use An Airport Diagram

When you get a taxi clearance, trace out the taxi route on an airport diagram, so you can visually see the path you'll take to get to the runway.

3) Verify Your Location

If you are unsure of your location at any point during the taxi, slow down and look at markings and signs to see where you are located. If you still aren't sure, let ATC know, and they will give you progressive taxi instructions.


4) Look For Runway Hold Short Markings

While you taxi, be on a constant lookout for runway hold short signs that may be along your route. If you come across one that you weren't expecting or cleared to cross, then you might be taxiing the wrong way. Stop and ask ATC for help.


5) Verify The Runway Numbers Match Your Heading Indicator

When you taxi onto the runway, whether you're at a towered or pilot-controlled field, verify that your heading indicator matches up with the runway heading. If you plan to take off on runway 36 and your heading indicator says 180, you're not where you're suppose to be.


6) Announce Your Position

This might seem like common sense, but at pilot-controlled fields, make sure you announce your intentions. Letting traffic know that you are "taking the runway" while giving them a heads up of your intentions lets them know where to be looking for you.


7) Make Yourself Visible

Especially at night, when crossing runways, remember to turn on all of your lights so other traffic can see your movement across the runway.


8) Slow Down

Everyone is excited to get airborne, but keep your taxi slow. Airplanes aren't really known for their maneuverability on the ground, and the faster you go, the less reaction time you have.

Gerard van der Schaaf

9) Go Around

If you're on short final and see an aircraft taxi onto the runway, go around. Don't wait until the last minute. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Corey Komarec

10) Keep Distractions To A Minimum

Keep distractions to a minimum in critical phases of flight, especially during taxi. Keep your eyes outside, and avoid things that require your vision to be transitioned inside the cockpit. If you need to change a frequency or adjust your kneeboard, it can usually wait until you're stopped.


What other advice do you have to avoid runway incursions? Tell us in the comments below.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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