Are there any rules for driving a passenger vehicle on taxiways and/or runways at an uncontrolled airport in the USA?
The FAA has issued an FAA Guide to Ground Vehicle Operations - A Comprehensive Guide to Safe Driving on the Airport Surface which covers what they call "non-towered airports"
When the control tower is closed or if there is no tower, the airport is referred to as non-towered. At a non-towered airport, you do not need controller permission before entering a runway or taxiway. Below are some best practices for operating on a non-towered airport:
- When you approach the runways and taxiways, STOP, LOOK both ways, and LISTEN for aircraft that are landing or taking off. Vehicle windows should be open to do this properly.
- Alert others when you are using a taxiway or runway by always making an announcement on the radio before you enter. Be specific with your location and intentions.
- Always yield the right-of-way to taxiing aircraft and give them plenty of room. If an aircraft is headed toward you on the same taxiway, move out of the aircraft’s way.
- Always carry a radio tuned to the airport’s Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) or UNICOM.
- If an aircraft is about to land on a runway that you need to cross, stop well clear of the runway. Continue to yield to the aircraft until it has landed and taxied off of the runway.
- Be aware that some aircraft at non-towered airports are not equipped with radios.
- Before you cross a runway, ensure that no potentially conflicting aircraft are taxiing, landing or taking off. Be aware of aircraft at non-towered airports that frequently make touch-and-go landings (immediately after landing, full power is applied and the aircraft takes off again).
- If your vehicle has a rotating beacon, be sure to turn it on anytime you are on the airport surface. Turn on headlights as well, being careful not to blind any pilots in the area.
I actually work at a "non controlled" (no tower) airport in southern Arizona. I strongly advise not to drive on the runway.
I recently made that mistake.
I made sure we were safe, there was no traffic in the pattern and took all necessary precautions to ensure my brother in law would be safe as he made 4 passes on his motorcycle.
However, unbeknownst to me, doing so is highly illegal! It's no laughing matter. I now have to answer to the local police and the FAA.
If you are insisting on doing a run, go talk to the Airport Manager first. I mistakenly asked the F.B.O. personnel for permission and not the site manager.
Some places will let you apply for a permit to do curtain things at an airport.
DO NOT DRIVE ON THE RUNWAY UNLESS YOU HAVE A PERMIT OR DIRECT PERMISSION FROM THE PERSON / PEOPLE WHO RUN THE FACILITY. IT IS A FEDERAL CRIME TO DO SO WITHOUT PERMISSION!)