Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

If you have young people around your house, you probably know the number of summer jobs for kids continues to dwindle. The ones that do come along are often boring minimum wage positions too.

But what if your teenager was offered the chance to earn some money AND gather some valuable work experience … at well … an airport?

Here’s that big opportunity …Click here for details

 

Are You a Pilot or Even Just Interested?

The new year has brought us face to face with a number of great local events for pilots or folks thinking about learning to fly  … and even people who just find the idea of leaving the ground a fascinating idea. I forgot one other possibility … you’re the spouse or significant other of some poor soul addicted to things that fly.

The 99’s VFR/IFR Safety Seminar, Aviation Expo and Companion Flyers Course

First up is the 20th IFR/VFR Safety Seminar and Aviation Expo organized by the Chicago Chapter of the 99’s, the international organization of licensed women pilots. It happens Saturday January 28th at the Holiday Inn, 860 West Irving Park Road in Itasca. On-site registration begins at 8 am and sessions run until 3:30 pm. The event is broken down into interesting and practical talks aimed at both instrument rated pilots and those who are still dashing around in clear airspace beneath the clouds and away from poor weather. Best of all though, there’s a flying companion course for those people interested in learning more about what’s really happening in flight when they normally just sit patiently watching from the right seat. A dozen and a half different vendors will also be on hand who are all too happy to explain where their company fits into the aviation world.

Pre-registration is not needed and of course, the entire event is free of charge … although, I bet the local 99’s chapter folks would be grateful for any donation you might want to make on the 28th to help them fund great programs like this.

IMC Club Returns

The IMC Club returns to Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) beginning February 22 beginning at 6: 30 pm at the Ramada Plaza Hotel 1090 S. Milwaukee Ave (east side of the airport) in Wheeling. While the first meeting takes place at the Ramada, Club meeting locations will alternate between the hotel and Signature Flight Support. The IMC Club, now run by the EAA to promote the idea that instrument rated pilots are only at their best when they remain proficient. Each month, the IMC Club will meet to bring together instrument pilots and flight instructors for frank discussions to improve their understanding of how best to operate in the national airspace system though the myriad of IFR procedures that keep air traffic flowing smoothly, as well as how both new and old cockpit technologies support these efforts. The real benefit of the IMC Club sessions are those discussions that nearly everyone in the room seems to participate in. Pilots talk about some of the good and the bad IFR flights or issues they’ve personally experienced.

Starting next month, the Chicago Executive Pilots Association (CEPA) will begin serving as host organization for the IMC Club at PWK. More information about CEPA and the IMC Club is available from their website where you can also sign up for their monthly newsletter. Or of course, you could just bring yourself over to the Ramada where they should have the rest of the sessions figured out by Feb. 22.

The IMC Club is the brainchild of Radek Wyrzykowski, a master certified flight instructor-instrument and multiengine instructor who will be on hand for the Feb. 22nd meeting. He’ll be joined that night by air traffic control personnel from the Chicago TRACON to discuss proposed changes to MDW Charlie airspace, the ORD modernization program, local IFR and VFR routings and other interesting topics. In case you’re after a look-see at the IMC Club before next month’s local kickoff meeting, visit their online forum where you’ll be able to sample a bit of the chatter about people who fly in the clouds … or want to. For those of you who can’t live without Facebook, you’ll find the IMC Club has a page there too.

More information about the IMC Club as well as local CEPA events, they’re all listed in each month’s CEPA newsletter, so click and read. January 2017 CEPA Newsletter

If you find these events interesting, don’t keep them a secret … pass around our link. And don’t forget to visit chiexec.com and signup for our newsfeed to stay in touch with other events..

Some Christmas Advice to New Drone Operators

A Little Advice to New Drone Operators

Dear Drone Owner:

Welcome to the aviation industry. You’re not alone. The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation (IG) believes that when 2016 comes to an end in a few weeks, between 2 and 2.5 million new drones will have been sold in the United States. Adding in the million or so already flying, the result could well make for some pretty crowded airspace.

One area where we really don’t need any drones though, thank you very much, is in the airspace around airports like Chicago Executive, home to dozens of large business airplanes, as well as a variety of smaller personal aircraft. But that also means you need to avoid O’Hare and DuPage and Waukegan and even Schaumburg Airports. A collision between even a small drone and an airplane could lead to a disaster. We’re honestly not trying to scare folks, but we need to be realistic if we’re all going to start mixing up in the same airspace.

uasThe DOT worries about the same thing, because as the number of active drones increases, so too have the number of incidents involving these new aircraft appearing where they either aren’t expected or aren’t allowed. The DOT said earlier this month for instance, that in the past year, slightly more than two thirds of the of the reports of drones posing a potential risk to indicated they were flying above the 400-foot ceiling allowed by Part 107. Fully 29 percent were in-fact observed flying at altitudes above 3,000 feet AGL.

That’s not good for anyone, airports, aircraft pilots and passengers or drone operators. While we’re all having fun enjoying this new category of flying machine and will continue to do so in ways that probably haven’t even been thought of just yet, we thought it might be just the right time of the year to remind drone operators of a few safety issues to keep in mind once they take delivery of that new DJI Phantom or a UDI.

Building a Drone Community

First understand that everyone in the FAA, the aviation industry, as well as the drone manufacturing, training and operators groups want to see drones become a huge success now and in the future. There are simply too many important jobs ahead that are just right for drones because they can be operated more safely than an airplane or a helicopter, like when they’re inspecting pipelines or windmills. Drones can be programmed to depart base for an inspection routine in weather no pilot would fly in. The drone doesn’t think twice. Once the operator hits the engage button, the drone departs and returns only when the mission’s accomplished.

All we folks on the ground at airports and many of the surrounding communities care about is that the operator has given some thought to how the drone will make the trip back and forth from home. We hope you’ll remember than flying anywhere close to an airport – any airport – is a really bad idea. The closer a drone passes to an operating airport in fact, the greater the risk since aircraft are closer to the ground as they arrive and depart.

While the government is still wrestling with privacy issues, we hope you, the newest members of the drone community, something that also makes you a charter member of the aviation industry, will also think about the rules that ask you not to fly over groups of people, even if it looks cool. A half dozen people were arrested and lost their drones last month when they flew them over the millions of folks gathered in Chicago for the Cubs Worlds Series Party. Many of those operators never gave safety of flight much thought at all, probably only the incredible footage they’ve grab during the flight.

But drone operators must consider safety each and every time they fly … their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them, whether those other people are across the street or across town. Some reasons for considering the safety of others are obvious, but there’s another that few new drone owners will be thinking about.

All the industry needs is one significant accident somewhere along the way, just one, in which some thoughtless person decides to try something they shouldn’t, like flying to close to a group of people at a concert or too near an airplane heading in for a landing. One accident could ruin this budding industry, not just for some apathetic pilot, but for everyone else as well.

With that in mind, here are few items to consider should you find a drone under the tree this year, or if you’ve already brought one home. For information too, a drone is also known by a variety of names depending upon who the audience is, so get used to seeing the UAS, UAV and RPV acronyms. They all mean drone.

  1. Spend a few minutes and read “Getting Started,” on the FAA website.
  1. Check out this summary of Part 107, the FAA rule that explains drone operations.
  1. If your aircraft weights more than roughly eight ounces, you must register it with the FAA. That’s easy enough to do right here.
  1. You must be at least 16 years of age in order to register and fly a drone.
  1. Be aware that if you intend to use your drone commercially, you’ll need to earn the FAA’s new small-unmanned aircraft system certificate. Here’s what you’ll need to know.uas-certificate
  1. Never fly your drone near an airport, or over crowds of people you don’t know.
  2. Never fly your drone higher than 400 feet above the ground and remember you must always keep your drone in sight at all times.
  1. Finally, don’t forget to stop by our drone resource page from time to time for updates to drone operations. You can always subscribe too and we’ll send you info as it becomes current.

As we say in the flying business, fly safe always … and don’t forget to have fun.

 

Mr. Abbott Goes to Tokyo

Mr. Abbott Goes to Tokyo

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Jamie Abbott speaks to EMAS seminar audience in Tokyo last month

Late in September, Chicago Executive Airport Executive Director, Jamie Abbott, was invited to speak about EMAS, the engineered material arresting system installed on both ends of the airport longest runway 16/34. EMAS is designed to snag an airplane that normally might have run off the end of the runway, possibly spilling on to nearby highways. The airport’s EMAS was just installed last fall.

The seminar was organized to share information between an airport operator like PWK and a potential Zodiac Aerospace customer. Zodiac, the original designer of the EMAS, covered all travel expenses for Mr. Abbott’s trip. While this kind of invite normally wouldn’t raise anyone’s interest, this one did, because Zodiac’s customer was in Tokyo. In fact, the customer team was actually comprised of the Japan Civil Aeronautics Bureau, the Regional Civil Aeronautics Bureau, Narita International Airport and Japan Ministry of Defense. In all, about 50 people were in attendance. The team from Japan was trying to decide whether or not to install EMAS at Tokyo’s Narita International airport.

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Falcon 20 resting in the EMAS bed at the south end of the airport last January

EMAS is constructed of light concrete bricks that crumble beneath the weight of an aircraft, quickly slowing the machine to a halt, usually with minimal damage to the airplane. EMAS bricks safely stopped a Boeing 747 and an MD-11 aircraft when they overran runways at New York’s JFK airport some years ago. With the paint on Executive airport’s new EMAS barely dry last January, the system was put to the test about 4 a.m. when a Falcon 20 cargo jet struck the barrier at the south end of the airport after it was unable to stop while attempting to land on runway 16. The aircraft was barely scratched and there were no injuries to either of the two pilots.

With the training for airport and local firefighting crews still fresh, emergency crews responded quickly with each element of the incident response working just as expected. The aircraft was pulled out of the barrier later that day to be made ready to fly again.

The EMAS system, while still serviceable, did require repairs in order to bring it back to 100 percent strength. That meant ordering replacement blocks and scheduling crews to handle the repairs. Of course Executive airport had no experience with the process of repairing the EMAS, which meant quite a bit of interaction with insurance companies, the FAA and EMAS creator Zodiac Aerospace. These interactions were precisely what the people in Japan wanted to hear more about.

Mr. Abbott said the FAA spoke first about why U.S. airports have runway safety areas (RSA) and how valuable a product like EMAS can be to airports that don’t have the real estate for a standard RSA, like Executive. “Then they turned it over to me to explain how and why we chose the product,” Abbott explained.

“I also spoke about how we paid for the EMAS and details about the construction process, as well as how to inspect the system and maintain it.” In all, about 50 people attended the Tokyo event that was presented to the audience mainly through a Japanese translator.

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MD-11 rests in JFK EMAS bed

When asked why it was important enough to bring our Executive Director to Japan, Abbott said, “I think because our use of the EMAS barrier by that Falcon was such a textbook case. Everything worked just the way it was intended.” Abbott said there seemed to be tremendous benefits for the Japanese in the airport operator-to-airport operator kind of format used during the event.

Runway Construction Season Ends

It’s Been a Long, Hot Construction Summer

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The principal construction for the Runway 16/34 Rehabilitation Project has been completed and all runways and taxiways are open again.

While the trucks have all pretty much disappeared, there are still a few items not quite back to normal that everyone needs to know about.

Outstanding

The FAA requires a flight check before they’ll allow the runway 16 ILS to be recommssioned. The tentative date is early October, but we’ll post a precise date for your planning purposes as soon as we can.  The Land and Hold Short Lights on runway 16 will remain out of service briefly until they are recalibrated. All PAPIs are back in operation as well.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division is also trying to schedule their post-construction inspection of the new runway. We don’t anticipate any issues, but there is always the chance the the IDOT folks might see something that requires a bit of corrective action. 

The Facts, Just the Facts

Because he amount of materials needed for a project of this size is always greater than anyone imagines, we wanted to share with you a few runway construction facts.

Seven different contractors teamed up to create the new runway surface. The initial work began when 20,000 tons asphalt milled and hauled off. The new surface added back some 21,500 tons of new asphalt. They used 150,000 sq. ft. of temporary marking paint, but only 130,000 sq. ft. of permanent paint. 

Construction efforts created 75,500 sq. yds. of new grooving and added 50 new runway lights. The lights demanded the installation of 20,000 sq. ft. of new cable. Finally, crews graded down three acres of shoulder area.

The Low Down on Drones That Every Operator Needs to Know

Phantom 3Part 107 Drone Rule is Here

In case you missed the news, the FAA last week made Part 107, governing the commercial use of drones, the law of the land. Part 107, containing the operational and safety rules for drones, is expected to make it easier to organize and certify the pilots who operate them. From this point forward, commercial drone operators must possess a special-issue remote pilot operator certificate to fly an unmanned aerial system (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds. UAS is the FAA’s term, for what the rest of us have been calling drones.

Hobbyist operators – people who will not be paid for flying – are not required to be licensed, although they are still expected to understand the operational guidelines that apply to that segment, such as a prohibition against any flights within 5 miles of an airport, no flights above 400 feet AGL and no flying over crowds of people such as at public events. The agency organized hobbyist guidelines for distribution here, Fly for Fun.

For commercial operators, Part 107 eliminates the need to file a time-consuming waiver application before each and every flight operation. One major exception to that rule is also flight within 5 miles of an airport. Even for commercially licensed drone pilots, this kind of flying is prohibited, until the operator receives a waiver from the FAA specifically approving the work.

Becoming a Remote Pilot Operator

There are two paths to licensing, one if the operator has never held a pilot certificate and another for airmen that already possess an active pilot certificate. Newcomers, who are at least 16 years of age, should expect some studying in order to pass an FAA Knowledge Exam administered at a local testing center at a cost of about $150. Following that test, a TSA background check is required before the certificate’s issued.

Current pilots proceed along a different path, being required to complete the FAA’s Part 107 UAS online training course and an identity check before they’ll see a temporary airmen certificate. Licensed pilots may be a bit surprised to learn their new certificate will not be tacked on their current one and will also carry a new number specific to the “Remote Pilot” certificate.

A Little Help From Your Friends

Despite the issuance of Part 107, many drone operators and potential operators are bound to have questions about what they can and should do to operate within federal guidelines and remain safely separated from manned aircraft.IMG_1189 2

On September 12, Chicago Executive airport is pleased to help in that quest for knowledge by working with Vortex UAS and Atlantic Aviation to present an hour-long session on the basics of operating a drone both commercially and as a hobbyist.

The session begins at 7 PM at Atlantic Aviation’s hangar, 1011 S. Wolf Rd and is offered free of charge to anyone interested in drones. In order to be sure there’s room for everyone, pre-registration is required.

More information on the Sept. 12 event is available via e-mail at rmark@chiexec.com or by calling the airport’s communications coordinator, Rob Mark at 847-537-2580, ext. 117.

 

Life Inside Fence

Life Inside the Fence

Despite the tall steel security fences that seem ready to halt people from any angle they might approach the airport, we actually organize quite a few events, many of which you don’t need to be a pilot to attend.

Take a look at what’s coming up, as well as a few of the happenings you might have missed and you may quickly realize that there are quite a few good things taking place just down the road.Flyer- Top Picture

4th of July Weekend

One of our biggest upcoming events is the annual 5K Rock-n-Run the Runway set to begin in the early morning hours of July 3 that allows runners to see the airport from an incredible perspective, while they run of course. Pre-registration is encouraged. Later that day, the airport gates on the east side of the airport will reopen at 5 pm to begin a night of food, music, fun and fireworks, all at no cost to visitors.

Airport Tours

IMG_0203During the past few months, we’ve conducted nearly a dozen tours of the airport for scouting organizations and other civic groups. These usually take about an hour and include a local guide who is ready to explain the intricacies of daily life at Chicago Executive, as well as offer visitors a chance to see a variety of aircraft up close. If your group of eight or less would like to arrange a future tour, call the main airport number 847-537-2580, ext. 117.

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Young Eagles Offers Free Flights to Kids Between 8-17

Most of us who work on the airport remember our first encounter with an airplane, probably when we were just kids. The EAA, the people who throw the big airshow in Oshkosh every year, (begins July 25th) organized the Young Eagles as a way to offer kids their first ride in an airplane. Best of all, it doesn’t cost the kids or their parents a penny to take part. Both the airplanes and the pilots who fly them, are donated by a flock of local aviators dedicated to the Young Eagles movement at PWK.Young Eagles

The next Young Eagles Rally happens later this month on Saturday morning, June 25th at Signature Flight Support on the east side of the airport near the control tower. In order to make sure there is a seat for everyone who wants one, preregistration is encouraged by calling 847-484-7142. Leave a message on the voicemail and a volunteer will call back to schedule the flight. But don’t throw away that phone number. Once you’re child is registered, you’ll want to call that number after 7:30 am on the 25th to be sure weather won’t get in the way of the flight.

 

Stearman Bi-Plane Gives Vets a View From Above

The good folks at Signature Flight Support opened their doors last week to a number of veterans of the Korean Conflict and WWII. Thanks to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, they were all able to see the north shore from the front seat of a 1930’s era Stearman.

Here’s how WGN-TV covered the event, as well as Flying magazine. IMG_0937

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Nissan Night

We were pleased to be able to help the Chicagoland Nissan dealers a few weeks ago when they wanted to introduce their newest hot car to dozens of Nissan fans. The event unveiled the 2017 Nissan GTR, 545 hp hooked up to an all-wheel drive chassis. We just happened to have an empty hangar on the west side of the airport that fit the event perfectly. And just to make sure visitors didn’t forget where they were, One Aviation’s Ken Ross brought his airplane into the hangar to accent the evening.
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Pilot’s Association Breakfast

Pancake breakfasts have long been an aviation tradition. This past weekend, the Chicago Executive Pilots Association held their annual event on the northeast corner of the airport. Nearly 60 people attended and spent the morning wolfing down an endless supply of flapjacks and eggs, while they also marveled at a few of the local airplanes on display. Members of the airport board stopped by and spent a few hours having breakfast and learning all they could about the men and women who park their airplanes with us. Quite a few non-pilots who stopped in to enjoy the event as well.

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Remember, the best way to stay abreast of all the airport news is by subscribing to our newsfeed. You’ll find the subscription box right in the middle of our homepage.

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An Old Friend Heads West

AlIt’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our own, E. Allan Englehardt, a past Chairman of the Airport Board of Directors. Al died yesterday in Lake Bluff at the age of 69.

In addition to the years Al served on the airport board, he was, of course, a retired United Airlines pilot having flown his last airline trip in 2009. Al was also an active flight instructor all his life, having brought thousands into the world of aviation through his Flight Standards weekend ground schools during aviation’s heydays in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. As an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, Al Englehardt tested hundreds of new pilot applicants around Chicago for nearly every fixed wing rating. His annual flight instructor refresher clinics also kept many area teachers on their toes when it came time to renew their instructor credentials.

Al was an active member of the Leading Edge Flying Club at PWK and could be found at the club’s breakfast each and every month to meet new and old pilots and do what he was best at … gabbing. Everyone that knew Al will remember he was never shy about an opinion on anything related to the industry. He was also inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.

He will be missed. BTW, if you have a fun remembrance of Al, why not share it here as a comment.

Visitation for Al is this Thursday May 12 from 3 pm to 8 pm at Burnett-Dane Funeral Home, 120 W. Park Ave (Rt. 176), one block west of Milwaukee Ave in Libertyville.

Summer Runway Closures Detailed

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About a month from now, during the first week of June, PWK will become a beehive of construction activity.

Some 14 years after runway 16/34 was completely reconstructed, recent condition surveys tell us it’s time to resurface the runway again. Annoying as the inconvenience of runway construction disruptions might be, the thought of a piece of pavement crumbling beneath an aircraft is a safety threat that can’t be ignored.

In addition to runway 16/34, all adjacent taxiway turnoffs, such as K2, K3, L2, L3 etc. will also be resurfaced. Runway 12/30 and 6/24 will operate normally for the most part, although at times during the summer, there will be work where those landing areas intersect runway 16/34 in order to prevent most service interruptions in the future when it’s the two shorter runways turn for resurfacing.

In order to minimize interruptions, construction crews will only work on runway 16/34 over the weekends, weather permitting, beginning at 10 pm on Friday nights with the runway reopening by 6 am the following Monday. The work is scheduled to most likely begin June 3rd and run until mid to late September. Crews will not work the Fourth of July weekend, which means the Run the Runway and city event schedules will not be affected.

Ninety percent of the project’s funding is coming from the FAA, with another five percent from the State of Illinois and the final five percent being paid directly by the airport. That means no community tex dollars are used for this project.

Federal guidelines demand the runway 16 ILS is shut down temporarily during the entire project, from June through September. The airport’s RNAV GPS and VOR runway 16 instrument approaches will continue to operate normally. PWK Runway Rehab

Electrical improvements will include all new lighting cables and new runway edge lighting. Because the construction work means shaving the top three to four inches off the old pavement, crews will eliminate any possible bumps and keep the runway within FAA tolerances during the work by spreading any inconsistencies in the pavement over a 30-foot long piece of the surface. The new surface will also be re-striped after each weekend session.

At some point late in the construction season, the intersections where 16/34 crosses 6/24 and 12/30 will also require work dictating a complete closure of all runways during at least two weekends. Once all paving is complete, construction will be halted for three weeks to allow the asphalt to cure before the final runway grooving and striping with fresh reflective beads begins.

Have a question? E-mail us here, or comment below and we’ll do our best to get you an answer ASAP.

Airport 101: Pavement Markings Keep Pilots in Line

PWK-59Chicago Executive Airport is one of thousands of airports that dot the American landscape. Each of them is different, but pilots have little trouble navigating around them because each of them use standardized pavement markings on the taxiways and runways that safely and efficiently guide them from the ramp to the sky. (Although they didn’t offer much help to the runners who raced about the airport several years ago, but they did get to see them at close range.)

Runway markings are white, and the elements employed depend on the type of approach pilots make to it. Runways with visual approaches, where the pilot eyeballs his arrival, has the fewest markings, the runway number, which is its magnetic heading to the nearest 10 degrees, and a centerline. These are on all runways. If the strip is 4,000 feet or longer or used by jets, it will have a visual aiming point, two broad white stripes on either side of the centerline approximately 1,000 feet from the threshold.

If it is intended for commercial use, markings (either a series of longitudinal or one lateral stripe) identify the pavement suitable for landing. A number of airports, like Chicago Exec, have displaced thresholds, usually to ensure an airplane’s safe approach to touchdown. Arrows on the pavement point to where the legal landing area begins.

All runways served by a nonprecision instrument approach, which in bad weather provides horizontal guidance to the runway, have these four markings. Chicago Exec has precision instrument approaches leading to both ends of Runway 16, which also provides vertical guidance to the pavement, which is why it has a touchdown zone. The rectangular bars are arranged in symmetrical pairs spaced 500 feet apart. As the number of bars decreases, so does the length of the remaining runway. Precision runways also have side stripes.

PWK-34All taxiway markings are yellow, and a centerline and markings denoting holding positions are common to all of them. A continuous strip 6 to 12 inches wide, the centerline does not guarantee wingtip clearance with other aircraft or obstacles. A line indicating the edge of the taxiway is applied when it does not correspond to the end of pavement.

Chicago Exec has an enhanced centerline, yellow dashes that parallel the continuous centerline, which tells pilots they are approaching a runway holding position and should be slowing down and preparing to stop, or hold short of the runway or intersections. Hold-short markings have two solid stripes on one side and two dashed lines on the other. Airplanes must stop when approaching the solid lines, which are on the taxiway side of a runway intersection. They may continue without stopping when on the dashed-line side, which they face when exiting the runway after landing.

Solid white lines on either side of a dashed centerline denote the edges of vehicle roadways that cross pavement also intended for aircraft. Some airports also use “zipper” markings, alternating white blocks. In either case, aircraft have the right of way. A thick white block on the pavement denotes where vehicles must stop at intersecting roadways or before crossing taxiways or other operational areas.

Working in concert with an airport’s pavement markings are a variety of signs of different colors that tell pilots where they are on the airport, and which way they should turn to reach their desired destination whether it is the departure end of a runway or a parking area. We’ll introduce them in our next Airport 101.