Sometimes our expectations as pilots don’t always match those of Air Traffic Control’s. Here’s a quick review of expectations for operations on or near runways to keep you safe.
- After landing, you are expected to clear the runway without delay, taxiing until the entire aircraft has cleared the hold short marking. AIM 4-3-20
- When you obtain an air traffic clearance, you are expected to execute its provisions upon receipt. For example, do not unnecessarily delay takeoff. AIM 4-4-10
- Your prompt compliance with air traffic clearances is expected. AIM 5-5-2
- Sometimes a clearance will include the word “IMMEDIATE” to impress urgency, and your expeditious compliance is expected. AIM 4-4-10
- If you cannot accept or comply with an air traffic clearance, simply tell the controller “UNABLE”, and work with them to find an alternative solution. That includes times when you may not be able to comply promptly, upon receipt of a clearance. Pilot/Controller Glossary
While the FAA does not define “prompt”, it’s important to know that clearances to takeoff and land are predicated on known traffic and airport conditions. For example, a clearance to takeoff may turn into a clearance for IMMEDIATE takeoff after a delay of as little as ten (10) seconds at a busy airport. So, don’t delay without first communicating your intentions with Air Traffic Control. The time you spend on runways should be minimized.