The question comes from this comment by Federico

you cannot be directly connected with the ground crew while the aircraft is autonomously moving (and pushbacks are not used for gate alignment)

Is he saying pilots aren't allowed to talk to the ground crew until the plane is no longer under their control?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Allowed? They are always allowed! This question comes from a misunderstanding and should a be comment under the related post (asking for clarification). $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ That comments says “cannot be directly connected”, not “cannot communicate”. Pilots are allowed to communicate over radio with whomever they need to. It is just that the guy on the ground can't have their earphones plugged directly into the external connector on the aircraft as they do during push-back. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Mar 26, 2017 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a great YouTube video of a pushback. The engines are started while still attached to the tug. But note that the tug and all personnel are clear before they power up and start taxiing. That would run the risk of someone being sucked into an engine. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 27, 2017 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is what could happen if personnel is not clear. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 27, 2017 at 1:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ksery, yes, they do. This has the advantage that the communication is properly duplex and can't be interrupted by unrelated calls like on the radio, which uses shared frequency. This is big advantage especially during push-back where if something goes wrong, the walker needs to tell the pilots to slam on the brakes quickly. But it may only be used when the plane is stopped (loading, refueling etc.) and during push-back, but not while the plane is moving under its own power. That's all the comment says. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jul 4, 2017 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


no longer under their control

is a strange phrasing, the aircraft has to stop sooner or later, do you define a parked aircraft "not under the pilot's control"?

I'm saying that the ground crew does not generally connect the external "headphones" while the engine is used to power the aircraft, the connector is near the nose gear well and the cable is generally not overly long, to avoid the grond crew from being ingested by the engine, they generally wait until it is safe.

  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, I'm not 100% aware of how the procedure works once a plane has landed and taxi'd to a gate, I wasn't aware ground crew literally connected their headphones with a wire, I assumed it was based on some radio frequency that both parties (cockpit and ground crew) connected to (wireless). I also would define 'no longer under their control' as at any point when the ground crew would be able to control the movement of the aircraft, i.e pushing or towing it out of the gate or connecting the boarding bridge. $\endgroup$
    – Kxy
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:40

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