This question reminded me of a time when I landed my spamcan at a former WWII RAF base (middle of nowhere, no ATC, no-one in the clubhouse) that had a part concrete/part grass runway, a farmer came out to mow the grass runway and advised that, if I wanted to take-off, I could use the taxiway. I wimped out and waited till he'd done and used the traditional method.

I was wondering how unusual it is to take-off from a taxiway when it's legal and feasible?

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    $\begingroup$ I know at some high-traffic airshows, they will open taxiways for use as runways for GA aircraft. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ It's less common than taxiing on a runway... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


At an uncontrolled airport, where you take off is up to you, the airport owner and your insurance company. There's nothing stopping you from taking off from any surface, as long as you respect government regulations against causing a danger to others (say your taxiway departure scares somebody and they complain), the wishes or policies of the airport manager or owner who implicitly grants you permission to use the facility, or your insurance company's policies on use of unlicensed surfaces.

As far as the regs go, generally the pilot's decision to use a particular surface is deemed to designate that surface an "aerodrome". But use of taxiways is rarely done because it's simply bad etiquette and there's a better surface nearby, so it would be pretty rare outside special circumstances.

On the other hand, in winter in North America, you will have ski planes using areas off the runway, usually parallel to it, to operate from, maybe on the opposite side to a taxiway.

Your actions were perfectly reasonable, but myself as an ex bush pilot used to operating off-airport (lakes mostly) I'd have used the taxiway if there was nobody else around.

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    $\begingroup$ then again, when Meigs field was illegally demolished by the mayor of Chicago it took a special decree by the FAA to allow the trapped aircraft there to take off from its taxiway, despite there being no usable runway left at all. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ @jwenting Meigs also had an FAA control tower. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 7:33

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