Since an aircraft is moved under its own power between the startup area and the runway, the pilot must thoroughly understand and be proficient in taxi procedures. When the brakes are first released and the aircraft starts to roll, the brakes should be tested immediately for proper operation. Applying power to start the WSC aircraft moving forward slowly, then retarding the throttle and simultaneously applying pressure smoothly on the brake may be needed to accomplish this. If braking action is unsatisfactory, the engine should be shut down immediately.
When yellow taxiway centerline stripes are provided, they should be followed unless it becomes necessary to deviate to clear aircraft or obstructions. [Figure 5-65]
An awareness of other aircraft that are taking off, landing, or taxiing, and consideration for the right-of-way of others is essential to safety. When taxiing, the pilot’s eyes should be looking outside the aircraft, to the sides, as well as the front. The pilot must be aware of the entire area around the aircraft to ensure that it clears all obstructions, people, animals, and other aircraft. If at any time there is doubt about the clearance from an object, the pilot should stop the aircraft and check the clearance. The WSC aircraft does have the advantage of the wing tip capability of being raised and lowered to clear objects.
It is difficult to set any rule for a single, safe taxiing speed. What is reasonable and prudent under some conditions may be hazardous under others. The primary requirements for safe taxiing are positive control, the ability to recognize potential hazards in time to avoid them, and the ability to stop or turn where and when desired without undue reliance on the brakes. Pilots should proceed at a cautious speed on congested or busy ramps. Normally, the speed should be at the rate at which movement of the aircraft is dependent on the throttle. That is, the speed should be low enough that when the throttle is closed, the aircraft can be stopped promptly.
A GPS provides this speed since the airspeed indicator is not effective at these lower speeds. A rule of thumb is 5 mph, brisk walking speed, or 10 mph for long unobstructed areas. When taxiing, it is best to slow down before attempting a turn. WSC aircraft taxi with the wing typically held in a neutral position, but stronger winds may require positioning of the wing so it cannot be lifted. Position controls properly for wind conditions:
- Strong tailwind—pitch control normal or slight nose up with wings level.
- Strong headwind—pitch control nose down with wings level.
- Strong quartering tail wind—nose normal with upwind wing slightly down so wind cannot catch it, but not to low to cause excess stress on carriage mast.
- Strong quartering head wind—nose down with upwind wing slightly down so wind cannot catch it, but not low enough to cause excess stress on carriage mast.
Checklist for Taxi
Plan taxi path to runway to avoid paths that would put the aircraft behind any propeller or jet blast. Observe other aircraft closely which could start up and taxi in front, if practical.
- Turn on strobe light (if applicable).
- Release brake.
- When first rolling, immediately check brakes, steering, and shut down if either is not functioning properly.
- Observe proper right of way while taxiing.
- Taxiing aircraft yield to landing aircraft, so landing craft have right of way over taxiing aircraft.
- Two aircraft approaching head on will turn right (similar to what is done in a car).
- Two aircraft traveling in same direction, the forward aircraft has right of way because its pilot can not normally see the aircraft in back.
- With two airplanes converging, the pilot who sees an aircraft on the right must avoid that aircraft. The aircraft on the right has the right of way.
- Runway incursions—observe all taxiway and runway markings.
Runway incursions are a significant risk and must be avoided. This is a most important concept. Taxi slowly and observe the basic airport markings/signs. Clearance to proceed must be obtained prior to taxiing across any runway or entering a runway to takeoff. There could be large aircraft, which may not be able to respond to WSC aircraft quick movements. An important runway marker is the “Hold Short Line.” Always stop before reaching this line and get clearance before crossing it. [Figure 5-66]
- At a towered airport, this is clearance from the tower. Always read back tower instructions clearance when received from tower before proceeding.
- At a nontowered airport, the clearance procedure is to listen to and monitor all air traffic on the airport radio frequency. Observe all air traffic taxiing and in the pattern. After listening on the radio and observing all possible traffic, announce position and intentions before crossing runway or entering runway. If crossing runway, announce once you have taxied across that you are clear of runway.