Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

7 Replies

Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Gary Palmer on Nov 3, 2018 8:28 pm

I was unable to find a way to "Ask ATC" so I decided to post here and maybe this forum can migrate to the "Ask ATC" folks as I was unable to find a way to submit questions to ask ATC.

Runway intrusion is the basis of over 75% of the problems with GA (per the Ask ATC "Progressive Taxi" video).  Is there a guidance for ATC regarding the content and sequences of taxi clearances.  This post is about a confusing clearance due to both of these issues.

I was at KSEE (https://skyvector.com/files/tpp/1811/pdf/05402AD.PDF) holding short of Alpha 2 and requested clearance to runway 27R.  I was given the taxi clearance "alpha 2 bravo delta cross runway 35"; read back correct other than a runway number mistake and correction.  So I checked my chart before moving and realized: 1) They put the cross runway 35 at the end so I thought I would cross 35 after I was on delta (expectation bias).  2) The other side of 35 was bravo 2.  I figured that bravo 2 was the extension of alpha 2 and while the cross runway 35 was not in sequence, crossing onto bravo 2 made everything else make sense.  3) The omission of delta 8 (only option to runup) seemed obvious, but was implied.

I would like to ask ATC if taxi directions given as if it was progressive could reduce confusion.  Mine would have been "taxi runway 27 right via alpha 2, cross runway 35, bravo 2, bravo, delta, delta 8".  I think this type of clearance, while longer, is more specific and makes following a taxi diagram very specific which could help avoid runway incursions or other mistakes.  If I had asked for progressive taxi, the ground controller would have had a higher work load and wouldn't the same detail be needed?

If any AOPA people see this, please forward to the Ask ATC folks.


EDIT: redacted to be more on facts and less "commentary".
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Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 3, 2018 11:48 pm

Without hearing the tape to be sure, it sounds like that controller did not follow the ATC Handbook phraseology.  I think a discussion with the Tower manager might be useful in clearing this up, although I'd also suggest damping down your frustration a bit before making that call.

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Gary Palmer on Nov 4, 2018 1:03 am

This happened yesterday and reading my post again I see I had not yet fully relaxed.  Not sure it is worth a call for a single instance.  Trying to find out if there is a standard for clearance, especially when it includes a runway crossing.  I did edit the post for more on fact and question and less on "other junk". ;-)

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 5, 2018 12:31 pm

Gary Palmer:
This happened yesterday and reading my post again I see I had not yet fully relaxed.  Not sure it is worth a call for a single instance.  Trying to find out if there is a standard for clearance, especially when it includes a runway crossing.  I did edit the post for more on fact and question and less on "other junk". ;-)

Yes, there is a standard -- FAA Order 7110.65, aka the ATC Handbook.  You can find it on line on the FAA web site.  And I don't think the clearance  as you quoted it meets that standard.

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Robert Gardner on Nov 5, 2018 1:15 pm

"Request progressive taxi."   It is in the Pilot/Controller Glossary.


Bob Gardner

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 6, 2018 1:08 pm

Robert Gardner:
"Request progressive taxi."   It is in the Pilot/Controller Glossary.

...but absent that request, that shouldn't be mandatory for the controller for every pilot -- too much workload and talk on the frequency.

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Jeffrey Bishop on Nov 10, 2018 10:54 am

Being the guy who does ATC for a living, it sounds like they took a shortcut and assumed you would do the correct thing.  The best advice I can give you is IF you have a question or don't understand, does not make sense, have them clarify it. 
Jeffrey  Bishop

Re: Why not give progressive taxi clearances?

Posted by Gary Palmer on Nov 12, 2018 10:30 am

Jeffrey Bishop, thanks.  I assumed they had taken a shortcut.  I did clarify.  I was wondering if there was a shortcut or if they are supposed to give the runway crossing our of sequence.  I wanted to understand if this was something I could expect elsewhere or just something which happened here.  I always expect to clarify before rolling if it is something like this.  Just like when Long Beach CA assumed you knew there was implied approval to cross a runway which was not in use.  ;-)