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What do these numbers signify?

Can pilots see them while landing?

Do they matter while taking off?

Do Control Tower mention these while guiding planes on runway?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ These are not on the runway instead they are on the taxi way between the photographer and the plane. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2015 at 9:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxiway, most of the information is available here. $\endgroup$
    – Lucky
    Sep 21, 2015 at 9:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ runway numbers for the runways. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Sep 21, 2015 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ think of them as street names $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2015 at 1:14

2 Answers 2


From left to right in your image


Refers to the runway number, and also the ILS Category that particular runway supports. However that is just secondary information. The primary purpose and position of this sign is actually to indicate the hold-short position for the numbered runway.

E6 34/16

Refers to the taxiway designation (E6) and the runway(s) it leads to (34/16 being the same runway 34 one way and 16 the other)

{Unreadable} and E6 L→ 10→

Both of these signs are the same, one is pretty much unreadable the other is again on taxiway E6 and points that Taxiway Lima (L) is to the right as is runway 10.

Pilots are unable to see these signs on landing, signs like this on taxiways are almost exclusively for ground operations - not just the aircraft but the variety of vehicles that operate on the apron of an airfield.

These signs are equally not useful at the point of takeoff, none of the information presented on them is relevant for that phase of operation.

Pilots will have a "map" of an airfield with them which will indicate the same information as presented on these signs. Ground controllers will typically mention which taxiways to use when guiding aircraft (and other vehicles) using the apron and taxiways. For example, at the airfield pictured the ground controllers may have instructed the pilot that they were cleared to "hold short of Runway 10 via Taxiway Echo 6" or may have told a landing aircraft that they should "clear the active runway at Taxiway Lima".

Here is a graphic that many websites use a variation of:

Source: americanflyers.net

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ The "16 CAT II/III" does NOT tell you what categories of ILS the runway offers (though that can be inferred in those cases where such signs are present). They are hold lines - see the 4th red box in your graphic. Plenty of Cat III runways do not have such signs saying CAT III on them - they may have just an ILS hold line or sometimes the runway hold line is located such that no separate ILS hold line is necessary. You need other documents to know for sure what categories of ILS a given runway supports. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 21, 2015 at 13:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RalphJ thanks - although I knew that they were actually the hold short position to stop interference with the precision ILS transmitter I failed to include that in my answer. Thanks for the pointer. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Sep 21, 2015 at 16:22

Yes they signify taxiways (yellow and black markings) and runways (red and white markings)

While landing no, you are too busy to look at taxiway/runway markings.

Sure they do matter while taking off. Or to be more specific, they matter for taxi and a safe takeoff. Check out what happened to Singapore Airlines flight 006 for not watching the runway markings and taking off from wrong runway.

When ATC clears a plane for taxi, they mention the taxiways the crew should follow. Though the airport charts have the taxiways marked, they should keep an eye out to make sure they didn't take the wrong turn.

  • $\begingroup$ Damn that bad weather! +1 for providing the link. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Anubhav
    Sep 21, 2015 at 22:30

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