The Annotated Airport

A guide to the meaning of the myriad signs, lines, circles, arrows, numbers, letters, and lights on the airport grounds.

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Runway end identifier lights, a pair of synchronized flashing lights on each side of a runway threshold, indicate the approach end of a runway.

Stop bar lights are the row of red lights at a holding position where a taxiway meets a runway. When they go dark, accompanied by clearance from ground control, an aircraft may enter the runway.


Noise Abatement 2200—0700 LCL Follow noise abatement procedures between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. This may require the pilot to maintain a best-angle-of-climb attitude after takeoff (which puts the aircraft at the highest altitude in the shortest horizontal distance), or a best-rate-of-climb (a gain of the greatest altitude in the least time); in other cases, it may require a takeoff at less-than-maximum power, or refraining from applying full power until the aircraft is, say, 10 miles from the airport. Noise abatement procedures lower the decibel levels for the surrounding community.

Taxiway ends.

MIL/TERM/CARG/RAMP Military, terminal, or cargo ramp (an aircraft parking area, also called an apron) facility is this way.

T This is a taxiway.

HS-1 Hold short (do not move until ground control tells you to) of the runway here.

Taxiway Alpha (A) A location sign, which tells you the taxiway or runway you are currently on, has yellow letters on a black square, the opposite of destination and direction signs. Here, Taxiway Alpha continues, angled to the right. Taxiway Charlie (C) runs to the left and right.

ILS Instrument Landing System critical area holding position. When instrument flight rules are in effect, ground control may hold an aircraft at this sign so it does not interfere with ILS signals.

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