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When is a follow-me car used?

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When is a follow-me car used?

Old 1st Nov 2011, 06:19
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When is a follow-me car used?

On a recent flight to Berlin-Tegel from Istanbul I noticed that we followed a follow-me car all the way from the runway exit till our bay. The route was a regular Turkish airways scheduled route. The weather was clear, no storms etc. visibility seemed normal and this was a daylight operation (ca. 11 am)

The follow-me car isn't typical is it? Wondering what are the scenarios in which it is adopted. Is it ATC discretion or can the pilot request it too? Are some airports more prone to use one and is Tegel one of those?

Clearly we were't lost or anything as the car was already waiting for us on the runway exit.
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 06:35
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Can be used at either pilot or ATC request or as a planned mitigation due to a temporary risk caused by something likes twy works, lighting failure, twy surface failure at some point, twy signage missing etc.

In the case of it being done as a mitigating factor for some potential risk then it usually becomes mandatory for all a/c for the period in which the risk exists.

i.e. twy lighting failure might mean no requirement during daylight hours but is mandatory during night hours.

If it's due to something like a surface failure etc then the follow-me would normally be just to get past/around the problem area.

If pilot was uncertain of twy instructions it might be requested.

If readback of twy instructions was consistently wrong then ATC are likely to request it, the same thing if the readback is correct but continual/multiple errors are then made.

It can sometimes also be provided if there's something like a medical emergency on board in order to get the a/c quickly to the stand, particularly if the airport involved has a complex or potentially confusing twy layout.

With the car awaiting the aircaft it being daylight hours it was clearly pre-planned/requested.

So to me that says that if any sort of works was not in progress then either the a/c requested assistance, there was something complicated or potentially confusing about the twy routing or that there was an expectation that the a/c would not correctly follow ATC twy instructions.

Did you notice if other a/c were getting follow-me's.

Last edited by 42psi; 1st Nov 2011 at 06:45.
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 07:59
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ross

At some airports in some parts of the world the provision of a follow me car is simply standard practice and for no obvious reason. At Shangai you taxi unescorted for perhaps a couple of kilometres from the runway exit to the ramp and then get a follow me car to lead you from ramp entry until just before the gate....which can be a distance of all of 200 metres sometimes.........local rules I guess
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 11:08
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Did you notice if other a/c were getting follow-me's.
I didn't notice any others. OTOH it made it real easy to notice our car since Turkish Air has this nice forward pointing cam enabled.

Is this the sort of thing that makes it to a NOTAM? I am tempted to dig up TXL NOTAMS for 29th Sept.
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 11:31
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Places such as Malaga regularly provide a Follow-me car without any other notice from ATC or NOTAM. It just depends on the airport and normally doesn't mean anything is wrong with the aircraft!
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 12:20
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Western arrivals in Russia have this as standard. St Petersburg was using old Ladas with a portable flashing light plonked on the roof until recently, using their car left and right indicators approaching each turn on the taxiway, but have replaced them with something newer.

I understood this was to maintain full control of everyone on the taxiways and ramp. Western aircraft crews don't speak Russian, and ground vehicles, tankers, etc have drivers who don't speak English, so to keep full awareness commands are given in Russian via the Follow Me driver.

St Petersburg's airside information says that this is the standard taxi control system (last line here).

Aerodrome - Pulkovo Airport (Saint-Petersburg)
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 12:50
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wiggy
At some airports in some parts of the world the provision of a follow me car is simply standard practice and for no obvious reason
Job creation schemes are a very important part of public life - and I'm not joking. This is how Africa works. Even a guy is just waving a flag near road works - it's a job.
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 17:12
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We often wonder as well!

It gives them something else to invoice for I expect.

Sometimes they are used (in places where they aren't normally,) because of apron works or some other temporary obstruction or failure.
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 17:28
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We often wonder as well!
Maybe I'll be lucky and someone from the Tegel ATC will comment here! I checked the relevant NOTAMs; no mention there.
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Old 2nd Nov 2011, 21:59
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At Heathrow once, a very well-known overseas crew was having trouble taxying so we got a Leader vehicle to take them to the holding point. The aircraft was cleared to line-up and the Leader went right up to the runway edge and then asked, with some fear in his voice: "Do you think he'll be OK now?"
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 10:58
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What are the official duties for follow me car..for example in beirut airport..it is requested to arrest the people or vehicles who violate the rules..like when driving out of the service roads ..or oersonnel when walking 0ut of service road...also for any obstructions on runways ir taxiways..etc...so as an airtraffic controllers. We are having lot of arguments on this issue..is there icao document that specify the follow me car duty????
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 12:52
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The Germans just love follow me cars. Even at my main base in Germany with which we are totally familiar we get one from the taxiway to the stand - distance 200m ish. Don't know if it's a German regulation thing or if they just like driving around with a flashing light on.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 21:20
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It seems to be a German thing, I've flown ad-hoc throughout Europe, land at a German airport and you can guarantee a follow-me car will appear. Not complaining, it makes it easier to navigate the taxiway system and once at the stand the driver jumps out and marshals you to a stop. Works quite smoothly.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 22:41
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At LGW, Iraqi airways got lost whilst taxiing from the runway to the their stand. Airfield ops were soon on the case and brought them back. So so funny!
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 11:25
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We have follow-me/leader vans all the time. Although, usually where we don't need it, the tricky bits are "self position"

The most ridiculous follow-me is the 50 m from the GA ramp in Milan-Linate to taxi way N. Pure revenue generation.

Don't get me started on the "fleece the operator" push backs....
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 17:20
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The most ridiculous follow-me is the 50 m from the GA ramp in Milan-Linate to taxi way N. Pure revenue generation.
Wasn't that where an SK MD-87 collided (in thick fog) with a Citation with no survivors? Don't know what it costs, but I'd pay it.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:38
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The most ridiculous follow-me is the 50 m from the GA ramp in Milan-Linate to taxi way N. Pure revenue generation.
Or Cairo hall 4, follow it after a long wait for 10 metres to TWY A.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:54
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The Germans just love follow me cars. (et al)

Maybe that's because simply they got fed up with the endless repetition of the old joke at Frankfurt ATC (together with many variations thereof)
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