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I am a newly certified RAA pilot . When backtracking , either prior to


take-off or after landing , should your aircraft be in the centre or to


the side of the runway. Both my Instructors differed on this point of


view .





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Hi Biggles


My instructors always taught me to follow the


centre line so you had more control or room to move should anything


happen plus being on the centre line clearly indicates to any other


aircraft, that may not have a radio and on final, that you are


definately on the strip and not in the process of turning off.



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Guest howard

I agree. If you have entered the runway, having checked that there is


nothing on final, then it is "your" runway, so occupy it. If some smart


ass then decides to turn onto final and assume that he now has the


right to presume right of way then, IMO, he is wrong.


Mind you, having said that, he could always be in trouble, so don't sit too hard on your rights...



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Guest TOSGcentral

Biggles PM'd me yesterday and I replied in like fashion.


For the benefit of other users the following was my reply - which seems to coincide with Ian and Howard's.


From : Tony Hayes To : biggles Date : 18/1/2006 2:15 AM


Subject : RE: Backtracking




Frankly I do not think it makes much difference – but it will depend


upon environmental circumstances from airstrip to airstrip.


The main point is that if you are backtracking then you are occupying


the active runway and denying its use to any landing aircraft. So you


may as well be in the middle (I like plenty of space around me so I can maintain a low pressure continual scan and not worry about falling off the edge!).


Start using just one side, especially on ‘casual’ airstrips and you are


encouraging someone to sneak in alongside you – possibly from behind if


they have interpreted your backtrack as the established landing




This raises another point and that ‘backtracking’ is primarily a radio call (although you do not need radio to do it – it is much of a courtesy).


I always teach, particularly in recreational operations, that your


intent should be clearly demonstrated by your actions and activity – so


what you are currently doing and obviously intend doing is very plain.


The standard circuit pattern is a classic example. You cannot get any


plainer than travelling down the middle can you?


To expand this just a tad – sometimes good intentions can be marred by lack of local knowledge or just plain inexperience!


My home airfield, Watts Bridge, has all-weather grass main runways 50


mtr wide. These are flanked seamlessly by 40 mtr wide taxi ways on each


side – and you can actually land on any of it!


Too often have I heard low hour, confused, poorly trained, or just


visiting pilots enter the taxiway but call backtracking the runway. The


confusion then spreads to onlookers as that radio call effectively


freezes a 130 mtr wide landable area for the sake of one aircraft


trundling down an extreme edge of one taxiway! Does not make much sense


does it?


Bottom line my friend is use the rules as firm guidance – but guidance!


In practice make your intent obvious by what you are doing – radio or


non-radio! It is OK being right but make sure you are not dead right!







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One thing I have noticed is that aircraft taxiing along the centreline


when there are centreline marking are harder to see compared to an


aircraft offset - the longitudnal axis of the aircraft (especially a small aircraft, which may be predominantly white)


tends to blend in to the centreline markings when viewed from a


distance. This is not normally an issue on a grass or dirt strip, just


those big bitumen ones with centrelines.


About 12 years I had to review an accident report where a Twin Jet


landed on top of a twin turboprop - and part of the problem was that


the crew did not see the turboprop aligned with the centreline lights.



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