If you’ve ever seen an airliner park at its gate, you’ll likely note that sometimes it will move beyond slightly beyond its designated parking line. However, you may see that after the brakes are applied the aircraft moves back in “reverse” onto the correct parking line. It appears to me that this is as a result of gate ramps being at an angle. Is this correct? If not what are other possibilities for this phenomenon?

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    $\begingroup$ I've never seen (or felt) an aircraft move in reverse after coming up to the gate (and I fly a lot). I'm assuming that you are asking if the concrete part the aircraft parks on is at an angle? Then no, it is not (typically). $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ What you may think is missing the "mark" is possibly not for that model aircraft. There are usually 4 or five marks - but not for all aircraft. The marks are often annotated with certain aircraft like "737" and when a 757 is parked, the ground crew knows they need the nose 4ft ahead of that mark. A perfectly flat surface is undesirable for moisture, de-icing runoff, and fuel spills. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 2:00

2 Answers 2


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(Source) Drain system.

ICAO SARPs Annex 14 does not mention a direction of slope, it only says:

Recommendation.— On an aircraft stand the maximum slope should not exceed 1 per cent.

So that's fairly level. But tiny slopes are needed, but not necessarily facing away from the terminal. They are needed to guide the rain (and any fuel) toward the trench drain system.

Not always are the drains parallel to the terminal and behind the parked aircraft. They can be parallel to the plane's longitudinal axis or even at the terminal.

I have never seen a parking that intentionally overshoots the mark. What you may have seen is a small backward jerk, like when trains stop. That's due to the offloading of the nose landing gear.

Pilots are guided in via stand guidance systems or ground marshallers. And they stop when the stop sign is shown. Guidance systems are never calibrated to overshoot the spot (the pilot might end up having to blame the birds).


At most airports, the slope is away from the building for water drainage mostly. This results in a slight rearwards movement when the pilot releases the park brake and the wheels roll back and compress slightly when they rest against the chocks.

This is a pain when it comes time to pushback as the airplane needs to be towed forwards a bit to enable the rear chocks to be removed.


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