Some airports have an area, on the threshold, used to back track the aircraft, mainly because of the their wingspan, they look like a half wheel. Is there any designation for this area?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide an image depicting what you describe? As it is I cannot tell what you are referring to. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ You have received answers for the US. In France, this is sometimes named a raquette, as it has the form of a tennis racket. See here, in French (image at the last quarter). Officially reversal area. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Aug 16, 2015 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you're talking about these:

Runway turnaround area

I'm not sure if the designation is "official", but pilots in the US (and the FAA in various documents) usually refer to such areas as a "Runway Turnaround Area" or simply "Runway Turnaround".
Their purpose is to allow aircraft which have back-taxied on the runway (or landed and rolled past the taxiway turn-offs) to turn around to position for take-off or return to a taxiway turn-off.

Note that the "runway turnaround" is distinct from a "run-up area": The runway turnaround is considered to be part of the runway, so an aircraft occupying that area is occupying the runway. A run-up area is generally a distinct area, usually off a taxiway, where aircraft can perform engine run-ups prior to entering the runway.
Run-Up area & markings

  • $\begingroup$ When you say that a runway turnaround is part of the runway, is that true in all cases or is there any variation? I noticed that in the picture you have there, the runway edge lines actually extend into and encompass the turnaround, but at the airport I've most commonly flown out of, the turnaround is not included within the runway edge lines and the local pilots seem to treat it as if it were not part of the runway. That is, it's not uncommon for one plane to be going through its before takeoff checklist there while another aircraft lands. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 15, 2015 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ @reirab The airport's markings are probably the decisive reference, but I've never been at an airport where the turnaround wasn't considered "part of the runway". Of course in my experience they've also always been on the "runway side" of a hold-short line (and at least for ATC purposes when you cross that line you're occupying "the runway") -- there are probably more shades of gray to this at a grass field, or one where you're not crossing a hold-short line on your way to the pad. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Aug 15, 2015 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ @reirab, would you tell us the airport and runway so others can see what that area looks like for comparison? $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Aug 15, 2015 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ @BowlOfRed Hmm... I think I'll just post a question on it, so it doesn't blow up the comments here. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 15, 2015 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ @BowlOfRed I've posted the question with pictures here. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 15, 2015 at 20:18

I don't know if it is official, but across Europe, Middle East, Asia, and north Africa I hear using "turnpad", and many ATC in these regions provide directions like "bactrack via turnpad and continue taxi via taxiway A", that means go ahead to turnpad bactrack and vacate runway via taxiway A.


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