Have you ever stared out the window of your plane while it’s taxiing to the runway and wondered what in the world all those signs and lines mean out on the airfield? In today’s edition of The Fives, we’re showing you five signs and pavement markings that you’re likely to see.
Stay Between the Lines. Having miles of asphalt and concrete doesn’t give the drivers of airport vehicles license to drive wherever they want. Out on the airfield there are many types of vehicles going in every direction. While drivers may veer off to reach a specific destination, they must keep
within the lines at all other times. By the way, there’s a strict speed limit for everyone’s safety and yes, it’s enforced by RDU Police and Airport Operations.
Lead-In Line. Think of the lead in line as an oversized parking line. But, unlike the ones at the local grocery store, you actually want to be on this one. When an aircraft leaves the taxiway, the airline worker who carries the batons guides the plane in on the lead-in line. This allows the plane to be in the right position to connect to the jetbridge. Often, you’ll see more than one at a gate as different lines are marked for different sized aircraft.
Taxiway Signs. How’s this for an intersection? As you probably know, taxiways connect the runways with the ramp area at the terminals and other locations around the airfield. When taxiways intersect, you’ll see this kind of sign. The black panel shows where you are. The yellow panels inform of the taxiway that’s ahead of you. That solid /dashed line combination on the right? That’s the movement line, which indicates the limit of where you can drive without contacting the air traffic control tower.
Runway Signs. Like the taxiway signs, runway signs tell you that a.) you’re about to enter a runway and b.) which runway you’re at. Unlike the taxiway signs, runway signs are always red with white numbers and/or letters. The panel on the left tells you where you’re currently located.
Distance To Go. And, one you’re not likely to see, but your pilot will. These small numbered signs are called distance-to-go signs and they show how many feet are left until the end of the runway. Here the number 6 represents that there is 6,000 more feet of runway to go—a comfortable distance remaining for take-offs.
Do you have an idea for something you’d like to see in a future edition of The Fives? Let me know in the comments below.