In the movement area at a controlled airport, I would assume any airworthy aircraft is automatically eligible to make requests to enter into, exit from, transit through movement areas, for the purpose of aviation related activity.

What about the other ground vehicles and pedestrians? Do they need some special permit, or can simply make requests like a crew member?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Related: FAA Guide to Ground Vehicle Operations For towered airports: "As an operator of a vehicle, you must have authorization from ATC before you enter any part of the airport movement area. When the tower is in operation, you must utilize a two-way radio for communicating with and receiving instructions from air traffic control." $\endgroup$ – mins May 8 '16 at 9:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Related: Oakland airport Air operation area (AOA) pedestrian and ground vehicle rules: "Vehicle operators shall not enter the movement area - Without first obtaining permission from Airport Operations and clearance to enter the movement area from the ATCT; Unless equipped with an operable two-way radio in communication with the ATCT; [...]" $\endgroup$ – mins May 8 '16 at 9:12

Ground vehicles are really problematic at an airport. The problem is not so much a matter of regulation as a problem that the people driving the vehicles sometimes are unfamiliar with flight processes so they create hazards without really understanding the danger they are creating. The "regulations" are that nobody is supposed to be on taxiways or runways without approval whatever that means, but since the FAA cannot revoke the license of somebody that does not have a license, it's a toothless rule. Also, the typical runway intruder does not even have a radio, so getting approval is problematic for them. Cops are the worst offenders. I have seen some very dangerous situations evolve from ignorant cops with no idea what they are doing just driving onto runways acting like they are god or something.

The main way the FAA interfaces to the ground control problem is to publish a lot of safety guidelines hoping that somebody will read them. Some airports have elaborate safety training for ground personnel, but the main risks usually come from untrained personnel at smaller airports where there is little or no training.

This is one of the main reasons why most airports work hard to get good fencing set up, so some bozo does not drive onto the runway.

In general, ground control takes care of authorizing vehicle movement and utility trucks are supposed to coordinate their actions with ground control. In untowered airports, utility trucks are supposed to call on CTAF to notify nearby pilots what they are doing, but unfortunately most do not have radios. Once I was landing and there was some truck on the side of the runway because the guy was removing a turtle or something. The truck had flashing lights so it was easy to see luckily.

  • $\begingroup$ Your cop anedocte remembered me of this old picture $\endgroup$ – jean May 9 '16 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ That's a keeper. $\endgroup$ – Tyler Durden May 9 '16 at 20:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.