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Home > Flying the Plane > How does a pilot maneuver an aircraft on the parking apron and on the Runway?
How does a pilot maneuver an aircraft on the parking apron and on the Runway?
Flying - Flying the Plane
Monday, 07 January 2008 20:18

Hi Capt Lim,

Thank you for spending your time to run this website which I believe many readers are enjoying.

I would be very grateful if you could answer the following questions:

1. A commercial airliner pilot's view to the outside from the cockpit seems to be very restricted due to the relatively small size of the windshield and the height of the cockpit from the ground (consider a B-747). Would the restricted view make a pilot feel uncomfortable in maneuvering an aircraft on the ground?

2. Even a car with the best handling can wander off the road at very high speed. How does a pilot make sure a commercial airliner would go straight on the runway when speeding up for take off? Does the pilot need to steer the front landing gear like driving a car?

Thank you very much.

Michael

Hi Michael,

1. A pilot is trained to maneuver by looking far ahead of the aircraft and he knows exactly the dimension of its wings whenever he wants to turn on the ground. No doubt his view is restricted, he is nevertheless guided by a marshaller on the ground to turn left, right or when to stop. Of course there are also precise guidelines on the ground which he must follow in order not to infringe into the space of the other aircraft on either sides. A Captain is ultimately responsible for any ground accidents even though he may follow the instructions from the ground marshaller. So he has to be very vigilant during ground maneuvering and he will make use of all the assistance from his co pilot as well as from those on the ground.

2. To maintain the centerline of the Runway, there is a nosewheel steering on the left side of the Captain's seat. It is controlled by the left hand and is quite similar to a car steering wheel. In addition to this nosewheel steering which is useful at low speed, the aircraft can also be steered straight along the Runway by means of the rudder pedals which are controlled by the pilot's left and right feet. The rudder control is very effective above about 50 mph and remain so until the aircraft takes off at about 150 to 180 mph. So there is no problem for the aircraft to keep straight at all.

Have a safe flight always.

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Aviation enthu
hi Capt.
This is a gr8 site. thanks for all the info. Are there are any videos/tutorials on your site where we can view the use of the tiller -ground manouvering of the aircraft during taxi? Do all aircrafts only have the tiller on the left?
Anil.Vaswani , 17 Jan, 2009

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