taxiway lighting and markings

The most important rule to remember is that any sign that has white letters on red is mandatory. Usually they mark points that must not be passed without permission from air traffic control.

Taxiways should have centreline markings and runway holding position markings whenever they intersect a runway. Taxiway edge markings are present whenever there is a need to separate the taxiway from a pavement that is not intended for aircraft use or to delineate the edge of the taxiway. Taxiways may also have shoulder markings and holding position markings for Instrument Landing System/Microwave Landing System (ILS/MLS) critical areas, and taxiway/taxiway intersection markings.

The taxiway centreline is a single continuous yellow line, 6 inches (15 cm) to 12 inches (30 cm) in width. This provides a visual cue to permit taxiing along a designated path. Ideally the aircraft should be kept centred over this line during taxi to ensure wing-tip clearance.

Taxiway Edge Markings. Taxiway edge markings are used to define the edge of the taxiway. They are primarily used when the taxiway edge does not correspond with the edge of the pavement. There are two types of markings depending upon whether the aircraft is suppose to cross the taxiway edge:

1. Continuous Markings. These consist of a continuous double yellow line, with each line being at least 6 inches (15 cm) in width spaced 6 inches (15 cm) apart. They are used to define the taxiway edge from the shoulder or some other abutting paved surface not intended for use by aircraft.

2. Dashed Markings. These markings are used when there is an operational need to define the edge of a taxiway or taxi-lane on a paved surface where the adjoining pavement to the taxiway edge is intended for use by aircraft. e.g., an apron. Dashed taxiway edge markings consist of a broken double yellow line, with each line being at least 6 inches (15 cm) in width, spaced 6 inches (15 cm) apart (edge to edge). These lines are 15 feet (4.5 m) in length with 25 foot (7.5 m) gaps. (See FIG 2-3-9.)

Taxi Shoulder Markings. Taxiways, holding bays, and aprons are sometimes provided with paved shoulders to prevent blast and water erosion. Although shoulders may have the appearance of full strength pavement they are not intended for use by aircraft, and may be unable to support an aircraft. Usually the taxiway edge marking will define this area. Where conditions exist such as islands or taxiway curves that may cause confusion as to which side of the edge stripe is for use by aircraft, taxiway shoulder markings may be used to indicate the pavement is unusable. Taxiway shoulder markings are yellow.

Surface Painted Tax
iway Direction Signs. Surface painted taxiway direction signs have a yellow background with a black inscription, and are provided when it is not possible to provide taxiway direction signs at intersections, or when necessary to supplement such signs. These markings are located adjacent to the centreline with signs indicating turns to the left being on the left side of the taxiway centreline and signs indicating turns to the right being on the right side of the centreline.


Surface Painted Taxiway Direction Signs
 

Surface Painted Location Signs. Surface painted location signs have a black background with a yellow inscription. When necessary, these markings are used to supplement location signs located along side the taxiway and assist the pilot in confirming the designation of the taxiway on which the aircraft is located. These markings are located on the right side of the centreline.


Surface Painted Location Signs

Geographic Position Markings. These markings are located at points along low visibility taxi routes designated in the airport's Surface Movement Guidance Control System (SMGCS) plan. They are used to identify the location of taxiing aircraft during low visibility operations. Low visibility operations are those that occur when the runway visible range (RVR) is below 1200 feet(360m). They are positioned to the left of the taxiway centreline in the direction of taxiing. The geographic position marking is a circle comprised of an outer black ring contiguous to a white ring with a pink circle in the middle. When installed on asphalt or other dark-coloured pavements, the white ring and the black ring are reversed, i.e., the white ring becomes the outer ring and the black ring becomes the inner ring. It is designated with either a number or a number and letter. The number corresponds to the consecutive position of the marking on the route.


Geographic Position Markings

Holding Position Markings

Runway Holding Position Markings. For runways these markings indicate where an aircraft is supposed to stop. They consist of four yellow lines two solid, and two dashed, spaced six or twelve inches apart and extending across the width of the taxiway or runway. The solid lines are always on the side where the aircraft is to hold. There are three locations where runway holding position markings are encountered.

Runway Holding Position Markings on Taxiways. These markings identify the locations on a taxiway where an aircraft is supposed to stop when it does not have clearance to proceed onto the runway. When instructed by ATC "Hold short of (runway "xx")" the pilot should stop so no part of the aircraft extends beyond the holding position marking. When approaching the holding position marking, a pilot should not cross the marking without ATC clearance at a controlled airport or without making sure of adequate separation from other aircraft at uncontrolled airports. An aircraft exiting a runway is not clear of the runway until all parts of the aircraft have crossed the applicable holding position marking.

Runway Holding Position Markings on Runways. These markings are installed on runways only if the runway is normally used by air traffic control for "land, hold short" operations or taxiing operations and have operational significance only for those two types of operations. A sign with a white inscription on a red background is installed adjacent to these holding position markings. (see above) The holding position markings are placed on runways prior to the intersection with another runway, or some designated point. Pilots receiving instructions "cleared to land, runway "xx"" from air traffic control are authorized to use the entire landing length of the runway and should disregard any holding position markings located on the runway. Pilots receiving and accepting instructions "cleared to land runway "xx," hold short of runway "yy"" from air traffic control must either exit runway "xx," or stop at the holding position prior to runway "yy."

Taxiways Located in Runway Approach Areas. These markings are used at some airports where it is necessary to hold an aircraft on a taxiway located in the approach or departure area of a runway so that the aircraft does not interfere with the operations on that runway. This marking is collocated with the runway approach area holding position sign.


Taxiways Located in Runway Approach Areas

Holding Position Markings for Instrument Landing System (ILS). Holding position markings for ILS/MLS critical areas consist of two yellow solid lines spaced two feet apart connected by pairs of solid lines spaced ten feet apart extending across the width of the taxiway as shown. A sign with an inscription in white on a red background is installed adjacent to these hold position markings. When the ILS critical area is being protected, the pilot should stop so no part of the aircraft extends beyond the holding position marking. When approaching the holding position marking, a pilot should not cross the marking without ATC clearance. ILS critical area is not clear until all parts of the aircraft have crossed the applicable holding position marking.

Holding Position Markings for Taxiway/ Taxiway Intersections. Holding position markings for taxiway/taxiway intersections consist of a single dashed line extending across the width of the taxiway as shown. They are installed on taxiways where air traffic control normally holds aircraft short of a taxiway intersection. When instructed by ATC "hold short of (taxiway)" the pilot should stop so no part of the aircraft extends beyond the holding position marking. When the marking is not present the pilot should stop the aircraft at a point which provides adequate clearance from an aircraft on the intersecting taxiway.

Surface Painted Holding Position Signs. Surface painted holding position signs have a red background with a white inscription and supplement the signs located at the holding position. This type of marking is normally used where the width of the holding position on the taxiway is greater than 200 feet(60m). It is located to the left side of the taxiway centreline on the holding side and prior to the holding position marking.


 

Vehicle Roadway Markings. The vehicle roadway markings are used when necessary to define a pathway for vehicle operations on or crossing areas that are also intended for aircraft. These markings consist of a white solid line to delineate each edge of the roadway and a dashed line to separate lanes within the edges of the roadway. In lieu of the solid lines, zipper markings may be used to delineate the edges of the vehicle roadway.


Vehicle Roadway Markings


Roadway Edge Stripes, White, Zipper Style

Non-movement Area Boundary Markings. These markings delineate the movement area, i.e., area under air traffic control. These markings are yellow and located on the boundary between the movement and non-movement area. The non-movement area boundary markings consist of two yellow lines (one solid and one dashed) 6 inches (15cm) in width. The solid line is located on the non-movement area side while the dashed yellow line is located on the movement area side.


Non-movement Area Boundary Markings

Airport Signs

There are six types of signs installed on airfields: mandatory instruction signs, location signs, direction signs, destination signs, information signs, and runway distance remaining signs.

Mandatory Instruction Signs

a. These signs have a red background with a white inscription and are used to denote:

1. An entrance to a runway or critical area and;

2. Areas where an aircraft is prohibited from entering.

b. Typical mandatory signs and applications are:

Runway Holding Position Sign. This sign is located at the holding position on taxiways that intersect a runway or on runways that intersect other runways. The inscription on the sign contains the designation of the intersecting runway as shown in FIG 2-3-24. The runway numbers on the sign are arranged to correspond to the respective runway threshold. For example, "15-33" indicates that the threshold for Runway 15 is to the left and the threshold for Runway 33 is to the right.


Runway Holding Position Sign

On taxiways that intersect the beginning of the takeoff runway, only the designation of the takeoff runway may appear on the sign, while all other signs will have the designation of both runway directions.


Holding Position Sign at Beginning of Takeoff Runway
 

If the sign is located on a taxiway that intersects the intersection of two runways, the designations for both runways will be shown on the sign along with arrows showing the approximate alignment of each runway. In addition to showing the approximate runway alignment, the arrow indicates the direction to the threshold of the runway whose designation is immediately next to the arrow.



Holding Position Sign for a Taxiway that Intersects the Intersection of Two Runways

A runway holding position sign on a taxiway will be installed adjacent to holding position markings on the taxiway pavement. On runways, holding position markings will be located only on the runway pavement adjacent to the sign, if the runway is normally used by air traffic control for "Land, Hold Short" operations or as a taxiway.

Runway Approach Area Holding Position Sign. At some airports, it is necessary to hold an aircraft on a taxiway located in the approach or departure area for a runway so that the aircraft does not interfere with operations on that runway. In these situations, a sign with the designation of the approach end of the runway followed by a "dash" (-) and letters "APCH" will be located at the holding position on the taxiway. Holding position markings will be located on the taxiway pavement. An example of this sign is shown below. In this example, the sign may protect the approach to Runway 15 and/or the departure for Runway 33.


 
Holding Position Sign for a Runway Approach Area


ILS Critical Area Holding Position Sign.
At some airports, when the instrument landing system is being used, it is necessary to hold an aircraft on a taxiway at a location other than the holding position described in paragraph 2-3-5, Holding Position Markings. In these situations the holding position sign for these operations will have the inscription "ILS" and be located adjacent to the holding position marking on the taxiway described in paragraph 2-3-5. An example of this sign is shown below.


Holding Position Sign for ILS Critical Area

No Entry Sign. This sign, shown in below, prohibits an aircraft from entering an area. Typically, this sign would be located on a taxiway intended to be used in only one direction or at the intersection of vehicle roadways with runways, taxiways or aprons where the roadway may be mistaken as a taxiway or other aircraft movement surface.


Sign Prohibiting Aircraft Entry into an Area

Location Signs

Location signs are used to identify either a taxiway or runway on which the aircraft is located. Other location signs provide a visual cue to pilots to assist them in determining when they have exited an area. The various location signs are described below.

Taxiway Location Sign. This sign has a black background with a yellow inscription and yellow border as shown below.



Tax
iway Location Sign

The inscription is the designation of the taxiway on which the aircraft is located. These signs are installed along taxiways either by themselves or in conjunction with direction signs or runway holding position signs.

Taxiway Location Sign Collocated with
Runway Holding Position Sign



fig 18 Direction Sign Array with Location Sign on Far Side of Intersection

Runway Location Sign. This sign has a black background with a yellow inscription and yellow border. The inscription is the designation of the runway on which the aircraft is located. These signs are intended to complement the information available to pilots through their magnetic compass and typically are installed where the proximity of two or more runways to one another could cause pilots to be confused as to which runway they are on.


Runway Location Sign

Runway Boundary Sign. This sign has a yellow background with a black inscription with a graphic depicting the pavement holding position marking. This sign, which faces the runway and is visible to the pilot exiting the runway, is located adjacent to the holding position marking on the pavement. The sign is intended to provide pilots with another visual cue which they can use as a guide in deciding when they are "clear of the runway."


Runway Boundary Sign

ILS Critical Area Boundary Sign. This sign has a yellow background with a black inscription with a graphic depicting the ILS pavement holding position marking as shown in FIG 2-3-34. This sign is located adjacent to the ILS holding position marking on the pavement and can be seen by pilots leaving the critical area. The sign is intended to provide pilots with another visual cue which they can use as a guide in deciding when they are "clear of the ILS critical area."



ILS Critical Area Boundary Sign

Direction Signs

a. Direction signs have a yellow background with a black inscription. The inscription identifies the designation(s) of the intersecting taxiway(s) leading out of the intersection that a pilot would normally be expected to turn onto or hold short of. Each designation is accompanied by an arrow indicating the direction of the turn.

b. Except as noted in subparagraph e, each taxiway designation shown on the sign is accompanied by only one arrow. When more than one taxiway designation is shown on the sign each designation and its associated arrow is separated from the other taxiway designations by either a vertical message divider or a taxiway location sign as shown in See fig 18.

c. Direction signs are normally located on the left prior to the intersection. When used on a runway to indicate an exit, the sign is located on the same side of the runway as the exit. The illustration below shows a direction sign used to indicate a runway exit.


Direction Sign for Runway Exit

d. The taxiway designations and their associated arrows on the sign are arranged clockwise starting from the first taxiway on the pilot's left.
(See fig 18)

e. If a location sign is located with the direction signs, it is placed so that the designations for all turns to the left will be to the left of the location sign; the designations for continuing straight ahead or for all turns to the right would be located to the right of the location sign. (See fig 18)

f. When the intersection is comprised of only one crossing taxiway, it is permissible to have two arrows associated with the crossing taxiway as shown below. In this case, the location sign is located to the left of the direction sign.


Direction Sign Array for Simple Intersection
 

Destination Signs

Destination signs also have a yellow background with a black inscription indicating a destination on the airport. These signs always have an arrow showing the direction of the taxiing route to that destination. The illustration below is an example of a typical destination sign. When the arrow on the destination sign indicates a turn, the sign is located prior to the intersection.


Destination Sign for Military Area

Destinations commonly shown on these types of signs include runways, aprons, terminals, military areas, civil aviation areas, cargo areas, international areas, and fixed base operators. An abbreviation may be used as the inscription on the sign for some of these destinations.

When the inscription for two or more destinations having a common taxiing route are placed on a sign, the destinations are separated by a "dot" () and one arrow would be used as shown below.


Destination Sign for Common Tax
iing Route to Two Runways

When the inscription on a sign contains two or more destinations having different taxiing routes, each destination will be accompanied by an arrow and will be separated from the other destinations on the sign with a vertical black message divider as shown below.  


Destination Sign for Different Taxiing Routes to Two Runways 

Information Signs

Information signs have a yellow background with a black inscription. They are used to provide the pilot with information on such things as areas that cannot be seen from the control tower, applicable radio frequencies, and noise abatement procedures. The airport operator determines the need, size, and location for these signs.

Runway Distance Remaining Signs

Runway distance remaining signs have a black background with a white numeral inscription and may be installed along one or both side(s) of the runway. The number on the signs indicates the distance (in thousands of feet) of landing runway remaining. The last sign, i.e., the sign with the numeral "1," will be located at least 950 feet from the runway end. The illustration below shows an example of a runway distance remaining sign.


 Runway Distance Remaining Sign Indicating 3,000 feet of Runway Remaining

Taxiway Lighting


Philadelphia International Airport. The white lighting of the 3 runways is clearly visible, while the taxiways are lit in blue.

Taxiway Edge Lights. Taxiway edge lights are used to outline the edges of taxiways during periods of darkness or restricted visibility conditions. These fixtures emit blue light.

NOTE-
At most major airports these lights have variable intensity settings and may be adjusted at pilot request or when deemed necessary by the controller.

Taxiway Centreline Lights. Taxiway centreline lights are used to facilitate ground traffic under low visibility conditions. They are located along the taxiway centreline in a straight line on straight portions, on the centreline of curved portions, and along designated taxiing paths in portions of runways, ramp, and apron areas. Taxiway centreline lights are steady burning and emit green light.

Clearance Bar Lights. Clearance bar lights are installed at holding positions on taxiways in order to increase the conspicuity of the holding position in low visibility conditions. They may also be installed to indicate the location of an intersecting taxiway during periods of darkness. Clearance bars consist of three in-pavement steady-burning yellow lights.

Runway Guard Lights. Runway guard lights are installed at taxiway/runway intersections. They are primarily used to enhance the conspicuity of taxiway/runway intersections during low visibility conditions, but may be used in all weather conditions. Runway guard lights consist of either a pair of elevated flashing yellow lights installed on either side of the taxiway, or a row of in-pavement yellow lights installed across the entire taxiway, at the runway holding position marking.

NOTE-
Some airports may have a row of three or five in-pavement yellow lights installed at taxiway/runway intersections.

Stop Bar Lights. Stop bar lights, when installed, are used to confirm the ATC clearance to enter or cross the active runway in low visibility conditions (below 1,200 ft Runway Visual Range). A stop bar consists of a row of red, unidirectional, steady-burning in-pavement lights installed across the entire taxiway at the runway holding position, and elevated steady-burning red lights on each side. A controlled stop bar is operated in conjunction with the taxiway centreline lead-on lights which extend from the stop bar toward the runway. Following the ATC clearance to proceed, the stop bar is turned off and the lead-on lights are turned on. The stop bar and lead-on lights are automatically reset by a sensor or backup timer.

CAUTION-
Pilots should never cross a red illuminated stop bar, even if an ATC clearance has been given to proceed onto or across the runway.