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When Can You Cross 'Approach Hold-Short' Markings?

Approach hold-short markings confused this flight crew into slamming the brakes during taxi. Here's what you should know before your next flight...

Report: Approach Hold Short Lines Confuse Flight Crew

A flight crew departing Madison, Wisconsin (KMSN) reported confusion during taxi about approach hold-short markings for Runway 14. Here's what happened...

During our taxi to Runway 18, I slammed on the brakes realizing we had just crossed the first part of a set of hold-short markings on Taxiway A. They indicated the hold-short area for Runway 14's approach path. During our taxi clearance, I didn't remember a clearance to taxi through this area all the way on Taxiway A to the Runway 18 hold-short lines. Since we hadn't received a clearance, I asked the First Officer to confirm with the ground controller that we were cleared to cross the approach area and continue to Runway 18.

But was this necessary? Here's what you need to know...

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Approach Area Markings

At some airports, approach hold areas are designated to prevent taxiing aircraft from conflicting with those landing on nearby runways. You'll find them in areas where taxiways lie underneath or directly adjacent to a final approach path. A red sign with a white designation of the approach end of the runway followed by a "dash" (-) and letters "APCH" will be located at the holding position on the taxiway.

Identical to runway hold-short markings with two solid yellow lines and two dashed yellow lines, approach holding position markings will be located on the taxiway pavement too.

FAA

Hold-Short Of Approach Areas When Instructed

According to the FAA's AIM 2-3-5, "when specifically instructed by ATC, 'Hold short of Runway XX approach or Runway XX departure area,' the pilot MUST STOP so that no part of the aircraft extends beyond the holding position marking."

If you are not given this specific instruction, you're NOT obligated to hold short of the approach area. However, just like pilots, ATC can make mistakes too. If you notice that the runway corresponding to the approach area is in use, you should clarify that you are cleared across.

Boldmethod

Because they're not always right next to a runway, you'll find approach hold-short markings in some unexpected spots along taxiways. That's part of the reason why they can be confusing or startling to pilots, especially at night.

Have You Seen These Markings?

Approach hold areas aren't found everywhere. Have you seen them? When was the last time ATC instructed you to hold short of an approach area? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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