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Are US Tower / Ground handover procedures different from Europe?

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Are US Tower / Ground handover procedures different from Europe?

Old 7th Jan 2018, 00:59
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Are US Tower / Ground handover procedures different from Europe?

Relatively new to US operations and can't find anything online which addresses this issue.
When about to cross / vacate a runway and told by tower which exit to use and contact ground do you expect me to wait until clear of the active runway before making the call to ground.
In Europe we wait until the tail is clear before transferring to tower.
The guy I flew with into LAX after we had landed on 24 R and held short of 24 L who suggested we call ground whilst the nose was still on 24 L (which had an aircraft about to depart). Thanks in advance.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 04:13
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Sounds like the proverbial 'accident wating to happen'.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 10:27
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Unless some condition is specified, contact means change frequency to someone else and, essentially, do it now.

However, the ICAO manual on radio communications says 'Unless otherwise advised, pilots should remain on tower frequency until the runway is vacated'.

I would suggest that it is good practise to stay with tower until vacated, something that appears to have been drummed into you whilst flying in Europe, but being told to contact ground whilst still on the runway can easily be interpreted as an instruction to do it immediately.

As chevvron says, what you have experienced in the US does open up all sorts of opportunities for additional hazards to arise which are not mitigated by the rest of the system and the related procedures.

Personally, I think the way it's generally done in Europe is much safer than the way that you have experienced in the US, and there are other procedures commonly used in the US which similarly make my toes curl. But speak to many pilots and controllers and they will happily tell you that the US system shifts many more aircraft safely for a given amount of concrete or number of controllers that is achieved in Europe. And the statistics, with the exception of one or two outliers, supports this claim.

As with any other generalisation, though, there are exceptions - not all airports/ACCs necessarily use all good practises that are implemented in a region. But that is one of the joys of a globally harmonised system!!
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 16:46
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Whilst not in the US, but close, our local procedures dictate that when transfer from tower to ground is made in a similar scenario (landing on one runway and crossing the close parallel) the aircraft should at least be on the runway to be crossed (i.e. not in between) when the frequency change instruction is given. By the time you have pushed the button to change frequency and listened for a few seconds to make sure you're not butting in (you do that don't you?) you'll be off the runway.

There is not much room on the other side before interaction with ground traffic occurs, so we also pass a taxy instruction, if possible, to keep you moving clear of the runway environment. e.g. "Cross 24R, turn right on Delta".

Bear in mind there may be more aircraft crossing the runway simultaneously, some at different exits and maybe someone behind you. It is imperative that you follow the additional routing given by tower to enable following traffic to exit the runway behind you. We expect you to make contact with ground before you enter another intersection. A "hold short" is not always given as if you miss the read back we have to chase it down and it creates RT congestion.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 02:47
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From my experience of operating into LAX the problem was mainly when exiting 24R at AA. There is little time to check in with GND and they need to know the gate number immediately in order to decide whether to route you via the bridge on AA or turn left immediately onto taxiway ECHO. We would usually have the GND frequency set on the other box so that we could call them and still monitor the TWR.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 17:03
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Originally Posted by Fly3 View Post
From my experience of operating into LAX the problem was mainly when exiting 24R at AA. There is little time to check in with GND and they need to know the gate number immediately in order to decide whether to route you via the bridge on AA or turn left immediately onto taxiway ECHO. We would usually have the GND frequency set on the other box so that we could call them and still monitor the TWR.
So you'd call ground whilst between the parallels just to see if they'll want you on the bridge or E?

If ground is busy and doesn't realize you're still between the runways and says "taxy via E" you could conceivably cross the runway with departing traffic on it. You are sucking the ground controller in.

This happens here still but we're attuned to it and ground will tell you to hold position and go back to tower even if you've been given a crossing clearance but no frequency change.

Maybe the tower there could be more proactive and lead you into the appropriate taxiway?
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 23:13
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Tenerife was one of my first CRM day case studies. It stayed with me that 25 seconds before KLM rotated into PAN AM the latter called to KLM we are still on the runway. Crossed transmission resulted in call being missed...so for me I will always stay with Tower and if that upsets the ground controller it is unfortunate. Does anyone have a link to the above ICAO procedure that states aircraft on a live runway should remain with Tower?
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 11:28
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I don't think it's actually specified in the SARPs but the practise is included in examples in different manuals. I think the closest you'll get to what you want is in Doc 9870 Manual on the prevention of runway incursions, para 4.2.6 which says 'All communications associated with the operation of each runway (vehicles, crossing aircraft, etc.) should be conducted on the same frequency as utilized for the take-off and landing of aircraft'.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:14
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LAX has had one accident and two very near misses in the last thirty years and historically up to eighteen runway incursions every year. Thirty seconds before KLM hit the Pan Am at TFN Pan Am transmitted
"And we're still taxiing down the runway, the clipper one seven three six."
I want to be on Tower to be in a position to make that call. Really surprised that with all the procedural trivia that is written this is not spelt out anywhere.

Cossack - Of course I listen out before transmitting. Unfortunately in the US airports I visit there is NO communication between ramp,ground or tower on stand allocation so in the 24R LAX example neither tower nor ground know which way to route you after leaving the runway.

Fly 3 - Using both boxes is what we do at New York as we vacate and is probably what I will do in LAX from now on.
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