Airport signs

Probably the most boring part of our flight is when the plane is taxiing from the apron to the runway or the other direction after landing.

Now with the help of this simple guide you can become an expert of airport signs and you can show off with it to the passenger seated next to you. 🙂

The pictures are taken from a PDF file I found on AOPA‘s website. This post here presents only the more interesting ones, but if you would like to become a real expert or you are getting prepared for your pilot license exam, you can download it and print it for yourself. Here is the full version.

Before we get started, let’s clarify some basic expressions:

taxiways: a system of tracks the lead planes from the terminal building to the runway. Once a plane enters the taxiway, it is under the control of the tower and must follow their instructions.

runway: where planes land and take off. It is dangerous to stay on the runway too long, therefore planes are directed to the taxi ways if they need to wait for their slot.

holding point: where the plane has to wait before entering the runway.

ILS: Instrument Landing System – an automated system that helps pilots in landing. Most airports that accept passenger jets are equipped with ILS that becomes extremely important in case of bad weather.

And now the signs:

ilsILS critical area holding position sign:

Hold at this sign on the taxiway, where the ILS is in use and the weather is less than 800 feet and 2 miles. Aircraft taxiing beyond this point may interfere with the ILS signal to approaching aircraft.


1533Runway holding position sign:

Hold here. In this example, the threshold for runway 15 is to your left and the threshold for runway 33 is to your right. This sign is located next to the yellow holding position marking painted on taxiways. The “A” sign is the Taxiway location sign. It indicates the taxiway you are on.

taxiwayTaxiway direction:

The yellow signs usually seen next to a taxiway location sign, indicate the direction of intersecting taxiways. In this example taxiway Charlie is to the left and right, and Alpha takes a turn to the right ahead.


15apchRunway approach area holding position sign:

Taxiing past this sign may interfere with operations on the runway. In this case, aircraft arriving to runway 15 or departing from runway 33. It is located next to the yellow Holding position markings painted on the taxiway pavement. The aircraft has to stop on the solid lines side of the marking. The dashed lines show the direction towards the runway. Planes must stopped at this line until cleared.

Have fun with your new knowledge during your next flight!

By Szafi


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