# How much of the landing runway is mine?

If I am cleared to land a couple of miles on final, may I use the entire runway to the departure end, or do I have to comply with "taxi instructions" the tower controller might give me like "turn right at taxiway foxtrot," while I am still concentrating on safely completing the landing? If he gives such a clearance, and I don't acknowledge for safety reasons, do I still have to comply? If I do acknowledge and do not comply, have I committed a clearance deviation? It's great to "help the guy behind me on final" but is this type of clearance even supposed to be given? If I slide off into the grass trying to comply with a clearance that has no relation to my landing calculations, who goofed up?

• "If I slide off into the grass trying to comply with a clearance [...] who goofed up?" You did. You should be focused on landing and slowing down. Unless you've accepted a LAHSO, you can use the entire runway. Controllers should avoid giving you instructions while you are rolling out, but they often do. If a controller gives you an instruction you can't comply with, either a quick "unable" or just handle the aircraft and deal with the controller when you turn off. – Ron Beyer Jan 18 '17 at 2:56
• This is really several questions jammed into one, it might be wise to wittle this down to one question, and then ask the remaining questions as individual questions. They all seem to be worthy of their own answer. – Jay Carr Jan 18 '17 at 4:44
• ICAO 4.9 After landing -- Unless absolutely necessary, controllers should not give taxi instructions to pilots until the landing roll is completed. : Related – J... Jan 18 '17 at 11:18
• – USER_8675309 Jan 18 '17 at 15:29
• if you slide off into the grass it is almost sure the runway/airport will be closed for a while and that the controller will have some paper work to do - s/he certainly will prefer a small delay and let you use the whole runway. – Carlos Heuberger Jan 19 '17 at 19:58

Everything in Dave's answer is entirely correct. To add to it, AIM 4-3-20 says:

The following procedures must be followed after landing and reaching taxi speed. Exit the runway without delay at the first available taxiway or on a taxiway as instructed by ATC.

(emphasis mine)

Controllers are not supposed to give pilots a turn off the runway until they've already reached taxi speed, but at busy airports, I've seen that rule stretched. You don't have to comply with any ATC instruction that you deem unsafe, but if you do and you slide off into the grass, it's your fault.

• I'd be tempted to put the emphasis slightly different. The part of that quote that stands out to me is "after landing and reaching taxi speed." The fact that the next sentence does not apply until the speed is low enough seems like a really useful detail. – Cort Ammon Jan 18 '17 at 19:47

If I am cleared to land a couple of miles on final, may I use the entire runway to the departure end, or do I have to comply with "taxi instructions" the tower controller might give me like "turn right at taxiway foxtrot," while I am still concentrating on safely completing the landing?

You generally will not get a taxi instruction until the controller sees the aircraft is on the ground. You have the whole runway available to you if you need it.

If he gives such a clearance, and I don't acknowledge for safety reasons, do I still have to comply?

As Ron mentions, you can always state unable.

It's great to "help the guy behind me on final" but is this type of clearance even supposed to be given? If I slide off into the grass trying to comply with a clearance that has no relation to my landing calculations, who goofed up?

This is an interesting question and will for sure warrant an investigation. As mentioned, you most likely won't be given a turn off until you are on the ground and the controller sees that. If you make an unsafe turn, that's your fault as PIC.

I will provide an interesting anecdotal story somewhat related to this:

When flying in a buddy's M20C, he knew that his hanger was at the far end of the 7000 ft. runway we were in-bound on. He, without informing the tower decided he would land long as he only needed a short distance. This would avoid un-needed taxi time, so he came in a bit high. The controller clearly assumed he was going to land short and would be off the runway sooner than we were, this in turn caused the controller to send the citation behind us on a go-around. There was no fault given to us as we technically had the whole runway to land. I assume the pilot of the citation was less than amused.

• Ah, that useful runway behind you.. – orique Jan 18 '17 at 12:47
• At LKPR you can have easily have a full airliner behind your C152. They usually give instructions to vacate via C (from RWY 24) well in advance and wouldn't like it if you missed it or turned too early and blocked another airline taxiing for departure. – Vladimir F Jan 19 '17 at 9:40
• An “antidote” is a cure for a poison :P What you have is an “anecdote.” – KRyan Jan 19 '17 at 15:09
• While it's tempting to take a high landing approach in that kind of situation, a sudden decrease in headwind can turn a "land long" into a "runway overrun". There is nothing so useless as the pavement behind you. If you are cleared to land, the runway is all yours - be safe and use it. The conscientious thing to do would have been to inform the controller and following traffic that he was going to use the whole runway, as long as it didn't interfere with safe operation of the plane. – Suncat2000 Jan 19 '17 at 15:32

The runway is yours and yours alone until you clear it one way or another. That doesn't mean you shouldn't clear it at the first available SAFE opportunity.

What happens when that rule is violated is shown time and again in runway incursion accidents, with the crash at Tenerife Sur between a KLM and a PanAm B747-200 being the tragic extreme (though that was a takeoff where another aircraft was still on the runway, unknown to the controllers and the aircraft taking off because of a breakdown in communications in dense fog).

• The Tenerife disaster does not fit in as an example. None of the planes was landing. (KLM attempted to take off, Pan Am taxied for take off next after the KLM.) Further, the crash was caused by severe miscommunication, not by conscious disregard of priority rules. – bogl Jan 18 '17 at 8:26
• @bogl it is an example of what can happen as a result of runway incursion, that's why I included it. And yes, there was a conscious disregard of the rules at least according to one report I read. It says ATC had ordered PanAm to take a specific taxiway to exit the runway, then assumed they'd done so when in fact PanAm had disregarded that instruction (the turnoff was at an angle they couldn't take) and failed to notify ATC of that, causing ATC (and KLM) to assume the runway was vacated when in fact it wasn't. – jwenting Jan 18 '17 at 9:06
• Yes, there certainly was and is a lot to learn from the Tenerife disaster, but how does it contribute to answer the QE's question? – bogl Jan 18 '17 at 9:37
• USAir Flight 1493 might make a better example. – Michael Hampton Jan 19 '17 at 4:02
• -1 Tenerife is completely irrelevant. The question isn't about take-off and it isn't about runway incursions. – David Richerby Jan 19 '17 at 12:19

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. In that order.

First, don't slide off into the grass. You are still aviating, even on the pavement.

Second, safely get the plane to where it needs to be. If that means that you take a later exit, so be it.

Third, and only third, communicate with the tower. After you've ensured that you're not sliding off into the grass or missing exits.

I concur that 'Unable' is your best bet. You are the Captain, not ATC. If you flip the aircraft turning too quickly, s/he'll press the crash button and pour another coffee whilst you burn to death. It's that simple. Be aware that a 'safe' taxi speed is probably lower than you think it is. It's hard to judge because the ASI is little use. Any kind of 'fast' taxi may involve significant use of the flying controls, not just the brakes and steering. It's only necessary for military, bush and floatplane pilots (I've done a bit of all 3), they get taught how to do it, and it requires a lot of focus, which means you won't be chatting to ATC at the same time. Best advice is that if you feel any significant shift of balance, then there are probably aerodynamic forces still on the aircraft, and you should slow down until there aren't. If you haven't used steering and/or brakes on the landing roll, then you should do a light test of them whilst still on the wide, straight flat thing, before trying to steer off onto the narrow, curved flat thing.

• Controller here. "S/he'll press the crash button and pour another coffee whilst you burn to death." Do I really need to point out that this statement is incorrect? – J. Hougaard Jan 19 '17 at 8:01
• A controller's directive is to provide safe, orderly, and expeditious traffic flow, in those priorities. If you need the entire runway to fly and land safely, they'll understand, as should any pilot in the pattern behind you. – Suncat2000 Jan 19 '17 at 15:35