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I just got my PPL and am planning to take a short $300 hamburger trip tomorrow to a nearby uncontrolled field. Here's its taxiway diagram:

Enter image description here

I called the airport this morning to ask where transient parking is located, and they told me it's along the east side of that taxiway loop north of the runway. The diner is located on the western side of the loop, near the gas pumps.

Seemingly the only way of getting there is walking along the taxiway (or cutting through the grass).

All my training was done out of a busy class D, so my experience has always involved walking onto the ramp from my flight school, and then getting taxi clearance before entering the movement area. I've never gotten out of my plane at an uncontrolled airport before, except to get fuel. Walking along a taxiway doesn't seem right, but I'm not sure what else one would do here. Is that just what one does at uncontrolled fields? (It's funny how much training you receive to get a PPL, and how little of it focuses on day-to-day operations at unfamiliar airports and FBO facilities.)

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    $\begingroup$ Yup, FHR it is. And walking along the north taxiway is what I assumed. Hopefully nobody will yell at us! $\endgroup$
    – Ethan B
    Jul 28 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway? You can run on a walkway, but don't try to walk on a runway! $\endgroup$ Jul 29 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkRansom I've walked (and ran) on runways several times, including at KBNA and even KATL. :) Pretty cool experience, actually. I recommend it if you get a chance. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jul 29 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkRansom And have you ever seen a taxicab on a taxiway? I haven't. $\endgroup$ Jul 29 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @WayneConrad Sort of, if you count these. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jul 29 at 16:36

4 Answers 4

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Where you can and can't go on an uncontrolled airport is up to the owner, or the manager, beyond common sense things like not walking on the active runway.

In any case, if I was told to park on the east side of the taxiway box at the top, I'd probably walk around the north part of the loop, or if the grass was cut short, might cut across the grass to the north, staying well clear of the end of the runway. Look around for any signs posted on where to park and where to walk. If none, just use common sense.

If you wander into a bad place and get scolded, well, we've all been through that some time or other. I had an airport manager walking toward my plane, as I was getting out of it to tie it down, with steam coming out of his ears. I knew instinctively he was pissed at me taxiing too fast, because, well, I was. As soon as he arrived and was about to open fire, I apologized and assured him I'd never do it again. The steam was released, he said, "ok, good enough." and left.

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    $\begingroup$ Erhmagherd, just how fast were you taxiing??? I don't think I've ever seen someone taxi so fast I thought it was notable. $\endgroup$ Jul 31 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ Prolly about 20-25 mph. It was through a large ramp area with parked AC, not on a taxiway itself $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jul 31 at 13:02
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A non-towered airport has no movement area, despite any pavement markings or signs you may see. Ditto for a towered airport when the tower is closed.

It’s quite common at small airports for taxiways to double as roads for cars to get to and from hangars, and pedestrians can use them as well. Just keep your eyes and ears open, and of course give way to any actual aircraft, and you’ll be fine.

Technically runways fall into the same category, and I’ve seen a few very small airports where cars must drive on the runway, but for a pedestrian this is ridiculously unsafe and should be avoided if at all possible.

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I really want to clarify something that has been left far too vague in other responses. From a federal regulation (FAR) standpoint, there may be no legal prohibition from walking in non-towered movement areas. But that is only FARs and airports are not owned by the federal government.

In my state you are not free to walk about or drive about the airport in non-designated areas without the express permission of the airport operator, irrespective of being towered or not. For instance, in my state it is a misdemeanor to drive a motor vehicle anywhere on airport property not specifically designated for motor vehicles, without the express permission of the airport operator. This includes both state-owned airports, and any municipal/private airfield that is state licensed.

I am not saying you'll get in trouble, you almost certainly won't if you are acting in a responsible manner. And being a pilot you would be given enormous latitude. But no blanket statement about what is legal at all airports should ever be made, or trusted. Non-flight activity on the airport grounds is entirely the domain of state, local, and municipal codes, or the rules of a privately owned airport.

"I've done it a few times and it was cool" does not constitute something being legal.

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At an uncontrolled airfield , you may walk but with a reflector jacket and staying away from taxiway.

I've done this before as I've completed my training at uncontrolled airfield.

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