All pilots feel a need to be vigilant
regarding safety issues. They carefully inspect their aircraft during
pre-flight, run up the engine(s), check the weather. They ask themselves,
“Am I physically and mentally ready to fly today?” Simply stated,
pilots make many critical, safety-based decisions before the wheels start
One area that needs close attention is an
understanding of the ground environment in which we operate—especially
when operating conventional gear, or tail wheel, aircraft. These aircraft
have unique challenges when it comes to forward visibility, challenges
that have a direct impact on safe ground operations
Can I see where I’m going? Have I studied
the airport diagram? Have I noted any potential safety hotspots?
These are concerns when operating at every
airport, every day. Add an aviation event to the mix and you get people,
cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, golf carts, tents, displays and lots of
aircraft. You can expect to see aircraft of varying sizes, shapes, and
Lets take a look at a few specific things
that may help us plan for safe ground operations in conventional or tail
wheel aircraft, especially in the busy air show or fly-in environment.
- After pre-flight inspection, check
your surrounding area for obstructions.
- Before engine start, review your
taxi route, noting areas of high traffic.
- Ask for help if you are not
completely familiar with local ground operations.
- Review the standard
aircraft marshaller hand signals.
- Obey the commands of the aircraft
- When taxiing, use “S” turns to
improve your field of vision.
- Keep your eyes moving, scanning
outside the cockpit.
- Taxi slowly. When in doubt, stop.
- Watch for other aircraft entering
As we approach EAA AirVenture Oshkosh,
we urge pilots to implement these safety steps to ensure safe, smooth