Part 4: Read Between The Lines


Acolyte of the Probe
Apr 11, 2011
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Beneath The Wing, Part 4: Read Between The Lines

Looking around the ramp at an airport, the first thing that sticks out is all the hustle and bustle of operations. However, if you look closely, you can see that certain paint lines can impact how aircraft, crews, and support equipment are moved around.

In the picture below, I have shown the four most common color patterns that I interacted with:

So... What do they mean?

  • Black-Yellow-Black: Taxi path. DON'T BE HERE WHEN A PLANE IS COMING!!! :lol: This is the guide for the marshalling agent and the pilot to help with alignment during arrival. There are typically also black bars with yellow text that cross over this to provide visual cues for the proper nose wheel location when stopping. (More about that later...)
  • RED-WHITE-RED: Hazard "box". The aircraft parks inside this area, and EVERYTHING must be outside the lines.
  • White "Zipper" Line: Vehicle Service Road (VSR). This is the "highway" used by support vehicles to transit between gates. There are two of these with a dashed white line down the middle to mark the two traffic lanes.
  • YELLOW-BLACK-YELLOW Zipper: Active Area. DO NOT ENTER!!! Beyond this point, there is active flight ops, and entry is forbidden without a very specific radio AND prior clearance. (I had the privelage of crossing this twice: both events will be detailed later.) These stretch across taxiways at chokepoints before hitting the primary taxiways.

Hopefully, this will be able to serve as a guide to base makers who want to add that little extra touch of realism.

Coming Next Week...

Part 5: Bags and Tags.