Pushback. The simplest concept in the world, right? From your first flight ever on the sim, you’ve probably got it nailed, no?
Well…apparently not, because, increasingly, on the Expert (that word has a meaning) Server, I see pilots who seem to think that simply moving back a couple inches and then requesting taxi is sufficient.
Think of your last trip to the airport. Then count in your head how many times you watched a plane pushback 5 feet without any change in tail orientation then taxi forward through all of the adjacent gates and maybe the terminal.
When you start at a gate like this:
First, don’t request taxi (unless in a plane that doesn’t pushback). That I even have to say that on Expert is an abomination. Request pushback.
Now, here’s where the trend is becoming ludicrous:
More times than I care to remember, pilots have begun to stop their pushback here and request taxi. This is not pushed back. If you were at an airport, you would not see a single plane taxi from this position. Ever.
You will not be given taxi from this position.
This is pushed back:
Fully out of the gate, turned 90 degrees, with nose gear on the taxi line and nose pointed toward the expected runway (another trend is ignoring the expected runway and just choosing a direction at random). You may taxi from this position.
Every day, we toss the word Realism™ around, but are more than willing to discard it if it gets us to the runway faster. No bueno.
This is how planes prepare to taxi. You will not be given clearance to taxi (by me) if you’re a couple feet back of the wall. Taxiing forward with a 180 through the adjacent gates is not how it’s done.
Take the time. Pushback all the way. Then request taxi. The runway will still be there I promise.
And if you do request taxi 2 feet back of your spawn point and are told to keep pushing back, that is not taxi clearance. It’s not a mistake. I did hear you. You’re just not in a position from which you may taxi. It’s your cue to keep pushing back to a realistic position for taxi.