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Let’s face it: Takeoffs and landings get all the glory.
But, then in a heavily choreographed ballet, pilots taxiing along the runway get instructions from the tower while ground personnel holding sticks direct them when to turn, slow down or pirouette.
In addition to all these directives, pilots get visual cues from a seeming inscrutable array of signage scattered around the runways.
At times some of these markings can be very difficult to fathom even for pilots so this month the FAA created runway safety flash cards “to help pilots better understand runway signage and markings.”
Hey, the principle is the same whether flash cards are for kids learning to read, “See Spot Run,” or pilots needing to brush up on interpreting a runway sign detailing pavement areas near the runway that are off-limits for landing.
The gallery (above) shows these runway safety flashcards for pilots. The FAA created all of these flashcards and wrote the definitions found underneath each card.
The flashcards can also be found here on the FAA site as the FAA displays a flash card gallery optimized for mobile. From a smartphone you can tap the screen or rotate it 90 degrees to see the back of the flash card with the definition.
You can’t blame pilots for needing a brush-up course on this signage because it can be confusing, and several appear so similar that they could be misread as identical, although there are subtle differences.
My favorite flash cards in the gallery above are “3” (meaning there are 3,000 feet left on the landing runway), and that’s always good to know; “X” (stay out because the runway or taxiway is closed), and that’s easy to remember, and “A,” which tells the pilot on which taxiway he or she can find the aircraft, which is a very important detail.
Many of the other flash cards are more difficult to master.
Give them a whirl and perhaps take the quiz.
Safe travels in the meantime.