“....Contact Ground When on the Taxiway.”

You’ll note from the phrasing at the end of the exit runway command that it is very specific about when you should stop and switch to ground. It’s not the second your rear gear hit the runway. It’s not as you roll down the runway in search of an exit. And it isn’t before you’ve crossed the hold short, because if you haven’t yet crossed it, you’re still on the runway.

The first two scenarios are clearly incorrect and silly, but it’s actually the third that has the potential to cause the most significant issues, so I want to focus on that for a moment if I may.

As stated, you are not clear of the runway if your plane is between the runway surface and the hold short line. Stopping at this point to request taxi to parking is actually a dangerous situation which can cause incursions or go arounds, yet it’s a fairly common mistake.

Let’s take this scenario here:

As you can see, a plane has just landed on 19L and is exiting (in theory), while another is LUAW, awaiting takeoff. Meanwhile, another plane is approaching short final for that same runway, and he needs that middle plane to takeoff and be clear of the runway before he can land. The plane awaiting takeoff is nervous he’s going to be run down, and the plane on final inevitably feels the need to tell Tower he is on final because he doesn’t see the LUAW plane moving.

All of this because the exiting plane has no idea that by stopping short of the hold short, he has essentially shut down the runway for everyone else, and because he’s landed, he sees no reason to expedite anything.

Here is where many of you stop to request taxi to parking, and it creates situations such as the one above:

As you can see, the exiting plane has stopped short of the hold short, and is in no particular hurry to clear that area, most likely because like a lot of you, he’s not aware that he’s still on the runway and no one can take off or land. He’s entirely oblivious to the panic of the other two pilots. This is extremely common.

Tower cannot clear the LUAW plane for takeoff until the runway is clear, and that is when the plane is fully past the hold short. If Tower can’t clear the plane for takeoff, we get closer and closer to an unnecessary go around for the plane landing behind him. This is especially important at busy hubs such as FNF or other events, where the windows for departures and landing are tiny enough as it is without the exiting plane holding up traffic.

Please do not stop and switch to ground until you have fully exited the runway by crossing the hold short line.


A couple side notes about choosing exits:

  1. I know in IF you can stop your plane in a much shorter distance than in real life, but this does not mean that the first exit you come across is a good choice. Please choose an exit a bit down the runway, even if you’re able to stop on a dime. Chances are, if you exit very near the threshold, you will cause complications with planes taxiing to the runway for departure. It’s much better to pass these planes up on the runway and exit further down.

  2. Utilize high-speed taxiways (HSTs) appropriately. Undoubtedly you’ve noticed that most fields have exit taxiways that are closer to a 45 degree angle with the runway than perpendicular to it. These exist precisely so that landing aircraft can clear the runway expeditiously, and they should be used whenever convenient.

You should always use the HST that is designed for the direction of traffic. You should never make a 160 degree turn onto the HST for the opposite direction of traffic. This takes much more time, holds up other traffic, and is not an easy turn to make.

Let’s use runway 15/33 at WMKK as an example. Whether landing southbound or northbound, you should use the HSTs with the green lines, not the ones with the red lines, which require you to stop and make almost a complete 180 to exit the runway. You’ll note that these are the same HSTs, just switched based on north- or southbound configuration. This should be self-explanatory, and the intended direction of travel should be clearly evident from the HST’s orientation in relation to your heading:


If not for the controllers, at least help out your fellow pilots with expeditious runway exits. Cross the hold short, utilize HSTs properly.

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Great post! I’ve seen a lot of this whilst controllling and whilst it is a common mistake, it is certainly needed to be addressed.

I would like to emphasize how important it is to stop once after the hold short line to request taxi to parking. I’ve seen a lot rolling past and continuing their taxi to their parking spot before contacting ground/requesting taxi to parking.

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Great post, I never would have thought that any “Pilot” would do as shown in RWY 33 diagram but it’s good that confirms that information for the beginner pilots!

It’s frustrating when people request taxi on the runway (or haven’t passed the hold short line which basically means you’re on the runway) and than stop there for ages while there is traffic on the runway and on final. I hope people read this because it’s just a simple note and it saves me some ‘‘please check tutorials’’.

Is that requirement that I must stop before requesting taxi to parking. Multiple times IRL I’ve seen how the pilots of my flight continue taxiing but slowly. Similarly I do the same often times, as I cross the hold short line, I contact Ground and request Taxi to Parking and keep taxiing at a slower speed. I will I do stop after the hold short line as well but in less crowded airspaces but even in heavily trafficked airspaces to, I’ve had no issue with ATC telling me to look for help pages or anything after that I’ve kept on rolling beyond the hold short line while awaiting a response to taxi to parking.

Is it a written by law, that I have to stop and await a reply to my request for taxiing to parking, or may I still slowly roll past it and continue to my gate. Since often times IFATC, and I say often times not always due to circumstances may vary, that they do respond fast and usually not requiring me to stop completely.

Also in airspace with a lot of aircraft inbound, isn’t it better to keep rolling past the hold short line while waiting for a confirmation on that I may taxi to parking, so that I don’t hold up the line of airplanes coming in for landing. As I basically always fly heavies and they take their time to power up and begin tolling again after coming to a halt.

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IF and RWA are a little different in that the communication in RWA is constant. So, when the plane you’re on in real life just keeps going it’s because the tower controller has told the pilot “exit via Victor and contact ground on 121-point-niner” and as they’re exiting they’re contacting ground who already has a specific progressive taxi path picked out to give them.

We really don’t quite have that yet in IF, which is why it’s a little different.

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I understand, so I should stop?

I was thinking, do I cause any trouble if I continue taxiing, let’s say at 5-7kts?

It’s not as black-and-white as I’d like. I’d love to say, sure, keep going slowly and contact ground. When I’m controlling I don’t mind that at all, but technically with the current setup you are taxiing without permission. But I’d much rather have you do that than stop short of the hold short. But then again, we also get people who end up staying on tower until they’re almost at their gate, which isn’t great.

I guess it’s situational. Let’s say you land on 25L at KLAX and you’re the only one between the runways after exiting right, if you want to crawl along while switching and requesting there’s no real danger.

However, as we saw the other day, if you’re at KSEA and exiting 16L, you may be exiting right onto the taxiway which aircraft heading to takeoff are using, and that’s a whole different scenario.

I’d love to say “it’s situational” but I can’t, because everyone needs things in absolute black-and-white or they get twisted up. I would say error on the side of stopping. If you want to crawl really slowly and no one is around you, you’ll be okay ghost-wise, but you always need to be aware of traffic around you and that isn’t the case for all pilots so official position has to be stop after the hold short.

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I suppose that’s not too much trouble, although for awareness purposes I as the controller would rather direct you when/where to go on the ground as much as possible. If it’s busy I am able to plan give way commands, crossings, etc. to best help the airport flow.

If it’s not too busy, a slow roll shouldn’t be too much of a problem; I was referring more to those who started their taxi as they were requesting or failed to request at all.

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Understood.

I do always check my surrounding as I vacate a runway which also why I don’t continue crawling every time but most of the time do. And as you mentioned, the situation at KSEA would not allow me to crawling, which is one of many airports I always stop after the hold short line.

I suppose mixing the both wouldn’t cause any major issue. If the controller replies back quickly then I would guess, I’m sort of in the green light to keep crawling?

I’d love to think you should always get a response quickly, but I don’t know. As you can tell from the OP here, getting people off and away from the runway is a priority for me so I’m always ready to hammer that taxi to parking button as quickly as possible (I’m generally impatiently waiting on the pilot to request^), but I don’t know about other controllers.

^The reason I have to wait and don’t just hit it is because every so often a pilot wants to head back to the runway instead, so I have to allow for that possibility. Otherwise I’d just hit it the second they’re on ground.

Okay it’s then as you said, situational. I’ve gotten the vast majority replies very quickly. So I’ve been able to crawl but sometime it takes time and I’m always ready to hammer that break button so I don’t roll far beyond the hold short line.

I hope I’m not causing any kind of headache. So I’ll try to adjust more to the situation at the airport. And at this point I’ve almost figured out how fast who replies.

Either way, I’d like to convey my gratitude to you Tim and @naro for explaining how it works and how you guys work as ATC in IF mainly. I appreciate all that you guys do as ATC and I’ll strive to be a pilot who follows your work model better :)

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Tim what about a situation that I stop after the hold short line, like you explained, but I’m blocking a intersection? On some airports I have to turn to the right or left as heavy gates are that direction, so if I don’t want to block the intersection I have to roll out on the taxiway…As I’ve read you will have no problems with it, but…what about other ATC’s? How would you proceed?

Sometimes it’s unavoidable due to the configuration. The controller needs to anticipate that and hold anyone that may be coming that way. (Very common at KSAN, with one taxiway south of the runway, you have to jump on taxiing aircraft when you see where the landing craft is going to exit.)

Thank you, as this is a great post! Another problem that I’ve noticed is people request a frequency change when they change from ground to tower. They dont realize that “contact tower when ready” is their approval.

@Captain_JR, I just happened to stumble upon this while looking for something else. Pure coincidence but since we were discussing it, read the highlighted section (part 4.3.b):

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Never knew this, I’ll keep it in mind. Great to bring this under attention. 👍👍👍

Very Useful. Great Coincidence to say the least. Thank You Very Much Tim. I’ll refer to this next time I vacate a runway.

Essentially I should hold position after all parts of the aircraft has passed over the hold short line, unless told by ATC to i.e, exit via Charlie, contact Ground on 123.4 which something as you earlier mentioned, ATC does not have in IF yet.

Also another thing that caught my attention is that it says 4th and 5th row on 4.3.b as following: “There are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position marking”. - What does this part mean?

While this is a good post, it directly contradicts what the IFATC written says. There is a question that states that if an aircraft is instructed to exit and switch, they can change while on the runway as long as they intend and do exit the runway. Just a thought about this.