Using a Runway as a Taxiway!
-- a word from PDK's Airport Director, Lee Remmel
AIM Chapter 4 (ATC Clearances/Separations), Section 3 (Airport Operations), paragraph 4-3-18 (Taxiing) states "a clearance must be obtained prior to going on a runway, taking off, or landing during the hours an Air Traffic Control Tower is in operation".
The AIM does NOT state "a clearance must be obtained prior to going on an ACTIVE runway" - it simply states that "a clearance must be obtained prior to going on a runway" - period!
At PDK, we have had a rash of pilot deviations associated with the pilot turning off a taxiway onto or across a runway to reach a ramp. For example: A pilot landed on Runway 2R and was given instructions by the Local Controller to "exit at Taxiway 'D', cross Runway 2L and contact Ground .6 on the other side". The pilot began taxiing northbound on Taxiway 'D'. When he saw where he wanted to go on the west ramp, he turned left across both Runway 2L and Runway 16/34. The Ground Controller expected the aircraft to taxi across Runway 2L on Taxiway 'D' and remain on Taxiway 'D' traveling northbound to contact the Ground Controller on the other side for further instructions. But, the Local Controller did NOT expect the aircraft to turn left off Taxiway 'D' onto and across Runway 02L and then cross Runway 16/34 as well. To make matters worse, crosswind operations were in effect, and Runway 16/34 was active as well resulting in an extremely dangerous situation.
Question? If you land on Runway 2L and are slowed down enough to steer off the runway onto Runway 9/27 to get to Taxiway 'A' to get back to your ramp, can you do this?
First, the Tower Controller will expect you to go to the first available taxiway where your turnoff can be safely done, pull clear of the "hold short" line, and contact Ground for taxi instructions. Second, there are no "hold short" lines on a runway, so at which point do you know where to switch frequencies from Tower to Ground when you are on Runway 9/27 before you enter Taxiway 'A'? You may request a turnoff onto the runway OR if the Tower controller needs you to expedite clearing the active runway, he/she may ask you to use the runway for taxiing if your speed permits. However, if you do this, remember it will be up to you to determine if you've cleared the active runway and where you will switch to Ground Control prior to entering Taxiway 'A'.
Taxiways are for taxiing, runways are for taking off and landing. You do not have permission to use a runway as a taxiway unless you request and are approved to do so by the tower, or the tower directs you to use a runway for taxiing to expedite the flow of traffic.
With the attention now being given to runway and movement area incursions, do NOT expect the Tower Controller to ask you to contact the tower by phone for a "little heart-to-heart discussion". DO expect to be cited by any controller for an infraction, and DO expect your next conversation with the FAA to be with someone from the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
With our intersecting taxiway & runway system at PDK, this is extremely important to remember:
TAXIWAYS ARE FOR TAXIING, RUNWAYS ARE FOR TAKING OFF AND LANDING.
Make safety your number one priority. Visit PDK's Runway Incursion Page and learn about hazard areas at your airport.