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Runway Vacated Report

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Runway Vacated Report

Old 17th Jan 2014, 09:10
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Runway Vacated Report

Is it a requirement for a vehicle on an airfield to call "runway vacated" every time or is it just on ATC's request?
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 09:22
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I wanna tell you a story.
Vehicle on runway for bird scaring. Seen to vacate onto a taxiway about 2/3rd of way up runway and drive past the holding point. Aircraft already lined up cleared for takeoff.
Vehicle then does a 180, drives back past the holding point and re-enters the runway.
Driver's excuse was he hadn't reported runway vacated. NB: The 'air' frequency is re-broadcast on the vehicle ground frequency.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 12:32
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Implied blame on the driver being based on the fact that because he had left the runway, his clearance onto said runway had expired - very tenuous, particularly as obviously he had not had any further instruction, to hold or to proceed to a specified clearance limit. I would have thought that that is precisely what you might reasonably expect if the chap had not reported inspection complete or vacated and holding!

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Old 17th Jan 2014, 14:11
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In my world anyone who crosses a runway or inspects it should be requested to call vacated.
I am still not sure why Mats Part I says otherwise in this day and age. I hope it is amended very soon.
there should be no ambiguity when runways are concerned and best practise world wide dictates that all crossings have a positive vacated call. EAPPRI has already issued guidance on this
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 14:24
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I agree; whether I'm in an aircraft or in a vehicle I always call 'runway vacated' even if ATC/FIS do not request it.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 14:53
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RWY VACATED

Quote"I agree; whether I'm in an aircraft or in a vehicle I always call 'runway vacated' even if ATC/FIS do not request it.Unquote"
I too am with chevvron
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 16:19
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I and my fellow crew members will always call vacated, and where, whether its asked for or not.

If I'm on to scare birds I will add a positive "wildlife dispersed" to confirm the runway is safe. If its for a runway check I'll add "nothing to report" or "<X> reports when you are ready to copy" to indicate that there are either no problems or X number of problems (normally AGL fittings whose bulbs have gone)

At night I also have to ask for my onwards clearance and during the day it gives ATC an idea on roughly where I am as we are on own lookout.

There's also the added benefit that the Operations Co-ordinator monitors the air frequencies and will insert my inspections into the log when he hears me vacate.


Essentially its primarily a safety thing, to positively confirm that I am clear of the active runway and complete, secondary to that is the 'bolt on' report that the runway is confirmed as safe for use.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 16:53
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Driver's excuse was he hadn't reported runway vacated.
One would infer from this that the driver was being blamed when, in fact, it seems to indicate poor ATC technique. I say seems because we are not in possession of all the facts.

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Old 17th Jan 2014, 17:04
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I wasn't the tower controller concerned but the report was funnelled to me as I was the unit rep. on the NATS Communication Errors Working Group.
It was not my remit to investigate or pass judgement on communication errors, I merely reported them for discussion and for other unit reps to think 'yes that could happen at my unit'.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 17:22
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You will be quoting "Best Practice" next

No it isn't a requirement and it's up to the controller to ask if he wants one. The controller sometimes doesn't want unnecessary comments on the RT when he has the vehicle in sight and it is just crossing but I would suggest, needs it if a vehicle is cleared on for an inspection.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 19:37
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Nobodys
Well said, sir.

Chevvy
It seemed as if you were passing judgement by referring to the driver's report as an excuse. What was the aerodrome controller's excuse for not being sufficiently aware to foresee the potential problem?

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Old 17th Jan 2014, 23:16
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At my Aerodrome it is a local instruction for all vehicles to report vacated. Aircraft are not as they are visible on the ASMGCS, and we work on anticipated separation. Plus, given that some pilots report runway vacated when the nosewheel turns off the runway centreline, I think that that is a good idea especially when they do it in LVPs
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 23:54
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At my Aerodrome it is a local instruction for all vehicles to report vacated.
Ditto.

No ASMGCS so visual reference all times and "RWY BLOCKED" strip is your only man.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 23:56
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You will be quoting "Best Practice" next
Careful, best practice trumps the ANO in some parts

Fair enough have robust procedures in LVPs, but vacation reports for all runway crossings? Why give the Tower Controllers big tall windows if we are going to be filling up the RT with unnecessary verbage?
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 14:37
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Fair enough have robust procedures in LVPs, but vacation reports for all runway crossings? Why give the Tower Controllers big tall windows if we are going to be filling up the RT with unnecessary verbage?
I'd imagine it'd be to give a prompt if you don't want to give the crossing vehicle your full attention e.g. giving clearances to other aircraft? Big tall windows are no good if you're looking out of another one.

I always had to report runway vacated when crossing a runway. Sometimes I'd have a controller ask me to "confirm you've vacated" or be told they'd seen me vacate - in these circumstances they'd be itching to get an aircraft away or issue a landing clearance so they'd have been watching me cross.
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 16:12
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I agree with Coolbeans.
Not all Airfield layouts are the same, some more complicated than others. Some VCR's have restricted views of the Runways and vacation points along them, some have perfect line of sight.
There is also the question of R/T loading (not all towers have split frequencies).
Ultimately if the appropriate risk assessments have been made then the MATS Pt 1 instructions are safe IMO.
If the ATCO doe's not require a Runway vacated message then why congest the frequency with one.
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 19:43
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Perhaps the runway vacated is to say that the vehicle has finished with the runway rather than for the ATCOs benefit. An example is a runway inspection where the vehicle is also inspecting the exits. A vacated call will show that he has finished completely rather than the ATCO assuming and the vehicle then turning around and re-entering the runway. So perhaps sometimes it might be a good idea.
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 21:34
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At Heathrow in the old days when we used proper strips and 'Checker' (or 'Seagull' for that matter') entered the runway for inspection (or whatever…) a blocking strip was displayed in the bay. The vehicle thus had 'procedural' occupancy of that runway whether it remained on, or was on/off/back on. Meanwhile it was time to do one's nails or sort out the EG list. It was hardly worth even watching the vehicle whizz on and off, and one should never assume anything anyway in aviation even based on visual observation. It was Checker's runway until such time a 'runway vacated' report was acknowledged at which time it reverted to the runway controller. Runway possession is that of the traffic cleared to use it, ie. whosever strip was in the bay. The ATCO merely manages runway occupancy. Not much different to a locomotive driver on a single rail line being in possession of 'the token' given to him by the signalman really…so why is all this so difficult?
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Old 22nd Jan 2014, 16:14
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There seems to be an awful lot of fluffing around the issue here. The airside driver must have an airside driving permit and vehicle RT certificate.

If he has crossed a holding point (his training would have taught him what this is) then he MUST NOT re-enter the runway without clearance.

It is of no relevance that the tower controller should have foreseen a potential problem (there is no requirement to) and there is also no requirement to report vacated. Having said that if a vehicle is cleared to operate on the runway it is good practice to report vacated but the fact that the tower controller saw him cross the holding point makes it perfectly acceptable to clear an aircraft to takeoff/land.

Grass roots fact is that the driver is at fault (it's a runway incursion). MOR it, accept it and learn from it.
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Old 22nd Jan 2014, 16:56
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There seems to be an awful lot of fluffing around the issue here.
Sadly, the world is a grey and fluffy place - not as black and white as you might like.

The airside driver must have an airside driving permit and vehicle RT certificate.
You seem to be making some assumptions here about what having these bits of paper signify and just how much competence having permits and certificates actually represent. I mean no disrespect to those who hold such bits of paper, but training and standards do vary.

If he has crossed a holding point (his training would have taught him what this is) then he MUST NOT re-enter the runway without clearance.
Now here I'm getting a little puzzled - maybe your training was different to mine - but where does it say that?

It is of no relevance that the tower controller should have foreseen a potential problem (there is no requirement to)....
But isn't that a large part of the job? Isn't it good practice to look out for potential problems and do what we can to stop them becoming actual problems. Granted, there is no actual requirement to foresee what could go wrong, but it's a bit of a difficult one to enforce. On the other hand, there are plenty of requirements these days to manage risk.

....and there is also no requirement to report vacated.
Ahh, finally something we can agree on.

Having said that if a vehicle is cleared to operate on the runway it is good practice to report vacated....
So which is it to be? There's no requirement to do something, so don't do it, or do good practice even though there's no requirement. Do I detect an ever so slightly double standard being applied here depending on whether we're talking about a controller or a driver? And where on this scale of standards would a pilot fit - or would it depend on whether it was a PA28 or a B744 that he or she was piloting?

....but the fact that the tower controller saw him cross the holding point makes it perfectly acceptable to clear an aircraft to takeoff/land.
I'm a little unsure about this. I'm inclined to think that it would rather depend on the clearance that the tower controller issued. We seem to be making an assumption again here, and you know what they say about an assumption.....

Grass roots fact is that the driver is at fault (it's a runway incursion). MOR it, accept it and learn from it.
Perhaps it's just an unfortunate turn of phrase but your first sentence seems to imply that if it's a runway incursion then the driver will be at fault. But I'll make an assumption (it's safe to do that here because this is just an old fashioned message board, not real life) that you mean that, in this example, the driver was at fault. But now I'm thinking that this isn't a very 'just culture'ish thing to say. When something goes wrong, aren't we supposed to try and understand why it went wrong and try and do something to stop it happening in the future? And if, our errant driver (or whomever) made an honest mistake, we don't penalise him or her. And when it comes to runway incursions, if you look at the data you'll find that there are few instances where there is a single cause but rather, more usually, a combination of contributory factors often made by a range of players (some of whom may have made their contribution months or even years ago). So there may well be something for the controller to learn from the event also, if not others. But I guess we're back to some of your earlier comments which suggested that the controller will not be wrong....ever.

A word of advice, go and look up a bit about TEM - it's a good principle in our business. Then take a bit of time to analyse your controlling techniques. Maybe listen to a few random periods from the tapes and see if you are making assumptions that may be incorrect. And think about how you could stop things going wrong if your assumptions are incorrect.

I do hope your post was intentionally provocative and designed to prompt discussion. It would be truly frightening if your comments truly reflect your thoughts.
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