Ground Maneuvering

When you spawn into IF your first action to get airborne will be the pushback or taxi. First I would recommend having a look around where you are parked, if there is an ATIS to check so you can find out the runway in use or otherwise check on the map to see what runway the other traffics use for departure.

It is pretty easy to find out if you need to request taxi or pushback:

Before this all starts, please make your flight plan incase you fly a jet airplane.

Request pushback:

Request taxi:

As you can see, if there is a yellow line BEHIND you then you will need to request a pushback. If the line is in front of you then you can request taxi. This will be valid for 95% of the time so be ready that if you request one of the two options that’s the ATC will give you the other.

Before you start your pushback have a look around and on the map to see which direction is best for you, mostly the best is to pushback facing the direction you expect to taxi to the active runway. To find out the active runway have a look on the map and check where most airplanes are taxing too or even better is to listen to the ATIS before you get request pushback or taxi.

Taxi clearance:
When you request taxi the ground controller will come back with one of the following instructions:

  •   Hold position / Standby
  •   Taxi to runway XX, contact tower when ready.

When you get the clearance to taxi to the runway you are expected to know where you are going and that you don’t taxi over the grass or over the service roads.
You can identify a taxiway because of the yellow line that is the taxiway centreline. If no yellow line then it is NOT a taxiway. There might be some service roads on some airports with a yellow line. They are very narrow and should be easily to be identified and not be used for taxi.

Here its very clear to see the difference between a service road and the taxi way.

During taxi:

  • Hold position
  • Give way to aircraft from your left / right / ahead
  • Continue taxi
    These instructions are self-explanatory and don’t need any more explanation.

Maximum taxi speeds:
When reaching 35 knots Ground Speed you will get a violation, the best is to taxi on the straight with a maximum of 30 knots and you should not taxi with more then 10 knots during a 90 degrees turn.

Hold short:
To clear it up for everyone, this is the correct way of holding short:

Do NOT cross the yellow line as when you cross it you entered the runway and ATC will need to send any airplane on final in the go around as you just created a “runway incursion”.
Important note: Do not contact tower until you are close to the holding point so the ground controller will always be able to contact you.

Line up and wait: The tower controller cleared you to enter the runway and wait, this literally means you are allowed to taxi onto the runway and get into the required position for take off and wait for further instructions. You as a pilot are expected to line up and wait with a reasonable speed so not less then 8-10 knots as mostly during this procedure you can expect to receive the take off clearance. Don’t worry about getting a violation for “camping on the runway” is this is preset to 90 seconds on the advanced server and the ATC controller should not let you wait this long on the runway.

Back taxi, line up and wait: A back taxi is also knows as a “back track” instruction and this means that you are cleared to enter the runway and taxi to the take off point, make a 180 degrees turn and wait for further instructions.

Back taxi, contact ground when of the runway: Taxi onto the runway and when possible exit the runway again and contact ground. There are a few airports like EGLC runway 27 where you will need to perform this action. When you reach the end of the back taxi you have to exit the runway via a taxi way or you can see a turning pad at the end of the runway which you can use to make a 180degrees turn on.

Cleared for take off: You are cleared for take off, when you are not yet on the runway you taxi on the runway and TRY not to stop. Try to maintain on the centreline and off you go.

Cleared for immediate take off: Now it becomes a bit more tricky, when you get this instruction it means you HAVE to expedite and if not possible you can tell the tower standby. Important to note is that you are NOT supposed to stop on the runway and you have to make a continues movement from taxi to take off.

After landing when you want to exit the runway you have two options of exits:

  • The normal exit
  • The high speed taxiway

The normal exit

This is an exit from the runway which is mostly a 90 degrees angle, your maximum speed to exit the runway should be 10 knots.

The high speed taxiway:
Definition of a high speed taxiway:
A long radius taxiway designed and provided with lighting or marking to define the path of an aircraft, traveling at high speed (up to 60KT), from the runway center to a point on the center of a taxiway. Also referred to as long radius exit or turnoff taxiway. The high speed taxiway is designed to expedite aircraft turning off the runway after landing, thus reducing runway occupancy time.

This does not mean that you should take the high speed taxiway with 60 knots speed as you will get a violation when you leave the runway because you will be faster then the 35 knots allowed, so the best will be to vacate the runway between 30-35 knots and after vacating you brake the airplane to a slower taxi speed or maintain your speed as required.

Here is a picture where I vacated on a high speed taxiway with a speed above 35 knots, as you can see we passed a yellow line which we use in departure to “hold short”. The moment you pass this line you are official of the runway and from here on your speed should not reach more then 35 knots.

Ground manoeuvring tips:

  • Never taxi to fast
  • Always maintain a safe distance from other planes
  • Stay on the ground frequency until reaching the holding point
  • Do NOT ask for frequency change to the tower as this is already sent when you get the taxi instructions.
  • When it is busy, do not ask for take off clearance until first in line.

a lot of people need ro know WHERE to hold short! thank you!


Nice work good

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Another good tutorial Aernout.

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Man, these excellent tutorials just keep coming! Thanks for your hard work and dedication, Aernout.

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once again…well done,very informative…

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Excellent tutorial, very usefull.

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This is also a problem in the Caribbean. Service roads are tiny. They are not taxiways, and should not be used.


helps alot :)

Nice hope u can come out with more tutorial

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Thanks this helped I was wondering what back taxi was

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Great tutorial, nice job

Very good tutorial

GA planes do fplns to.

Other than my post above all sounds good. But how was the plane sideways at the gate? Shouldn’t it be facing the terminal?

London city airport has those kind of gates. They pull in then turn around so that don’t have to pushback when departing.

That’s weird. But ok. Thanks for letting me know.

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Yes true but my example is not about that…

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Thank you for this very educational tutorial.

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