FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education Updated AIM Information
Notice Number: NOTC4145
Recently a pilot informed us of changes to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) concerning the use of lights and transponder while moving on the surface of an airport. This pilot learned from a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). Although it is your individual responsibility to stay aware of procedures in the AIM, we thought you would want to know about this particular safety initiative!
The AIM, which is available at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publi.../aim/Index.htm, is updated in February and July of each year, and included in the last February change was an updated description of the “Operation Lights On” pilot safety program.
In section 4-3-23, Use of Aircraft Lights, paragraphs (c), (e), (f) and (g) describe the use of lights while on an airport. We invite you to go to the AIM and read each of these paragraphs. For example, paragraph (e) states,
Prior to commencing taxi, it is recommended to turn on navigation, position, anti*-collision, and logo lights (if equipped). To signal intent to other pilots, consider turning on the taxi light when the aircraft is moving or intending to move on the ground, and turning it off when stopped or yielding to other ground traffic. Strobe lights should not be illuminated during taxi if they will adversely affect the vision of other pilots or ground personnel.
Furthermore, the use of your transponder while taxiing is recommended in paragraph 4-1-20. It says, in part,
Civil and military transponders should be turned to the “on" or normal altitude reporting position prior to moving on the airport surface to ensure the aircraft is visible to ATC surveillance systems.
We encourage you to keep abreast of the periodic changes to the AIM, and they make it easy by providing a change summary page for each change. We appreciate these items being brought to our attention so that we could share them with you.
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>>>> Please define the difference between strobe and anti-collision lights.
>>>>> Common practice is to place transponder in standby while in close proximity to the field to avoid excessive returns. This new change maintains that all aircraft in taxi and beyond should be transmitting and making the airport a cluster of overlapping codes on the screen.