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Taxi instructions from tower during short final

This morning I went to EDDH (Hamburg). While I was on short final Tower told me to leave via T. I was flying the ILS 15, had full flaps set and was on track for the touchdown zone. After a nice landing it dawned on me that T is probably quite far away. By then my MFD had switched to the airport diagram and yes, I had to taxi quite a bit to get to T. Lucky as I was there was an airliner behind me – I had been with 160kt until 3NM out and ATC was happy – and by then Tower asked me to take the next exit to the right. After a short visit to the big guys apron I was greeted by a follow-me car and shut down at the GAT apron.

From the U.S. I remember that ATC there tells you “long landing” but doesn’t just said “taxi via T”. I’m not familiar with the airport and during short final I certainly don’t have the airport diagram in front of me neither the time to look at it.

Sure, I should study the airport diagram before flying to an unfamiliar airport but who is able to remember it all? Over time I will get to know these places and their intricacies.

Still it has me thinking. It would have been nice by ATC to simply add “long landing” as a hint when they gave me taxi instructions during short final. But that’s probably not part of standard phraseology but regular speech.

Thoughts on that?

Frequent travels around Europe

It’s good to read the chart before hand and try to figure the most likely parking point. Not so much for the exit point, but rather so that you’ve some idea of the taxi ways that you’ll use. However, as you say, you won’t remember everything and the one you do remember may not be the one that you get.

But ATC should NOT be giving you instructions on short final. If it was me, I’d just ignore them and when I’ve finished the roll out, I’d either look it up then (if I remembered) or say “Say again”.

In the absence of any instruction, you just take the first available exit.

EIKH Kilrush

The problem is that, on a long runway (say 3500m) a “long landing” can be anything…. 1000m down the runway, 2000m, 3000m. Naming the taxiway is more specific.

And yes, many controllers assume that pilots flying there will have landed there several times already. That’s true for probably 97% of pilos going there. Accordingly, they will not be disgruntled should you not “hit” that taxiway, especially if the instruction comes when on you are already on short final.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 06 May 20:42
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

It is well worth briefing your expected taxi route and thinking of the most economical runway exit.

Bear in mind as an SEP on a very long runway the exits will not necessarily be convenient for a normal landing.

London area

Sure, I should study the airport diagram before flying to an unfamiliar airport…

As a commercial pilot I have to familiarise myself with every new airport and fill out a form before each flight. I’m so used to that that I also do it on private flights. Helps a lot.
And regarding the long landing: Most controllers will not tell you to perform a long/short/whatever landing for liability issues. If he tells you to perform a long landing and you overshoot the runway, he will get part of the blame. Therefore he can only hint you towards the long landing by saying “taxi via T” or “expect to vacate at the end” or “long landing approved”.

EDDS - Stuttgart

I’d like “Long landing approved” better than “T”, because I find it a bit unrealistic to deal with that before landing.

I am very sure that in N Europe, non-UK, the chance of the ATCO knowing what “landing long/short” means is about 30%. In S Europe, maybe 5%. I have tried this many times, when landing on some 3000m runway and not wanting to taxi all the way down the 2500m, but as I say it rarely works. It is totally nonstandard terminology and unsurprisingly the more south you go the less…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

In Germany, 100% of tower controllers know what it means

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Yes, 100%, and it is used all the time.

I think sometimes plain English makes sense.
It would be much better if he told you earlier where to vacate from, or even better if he told you where this taxiway is in relation to the runway you’re landing using plain English, e.g. something like “expect to vacate via T, third part of the runway on your left”. On final all this should be omitted, you have much more important things to do, especially if you’re single-pilot.
As a pilot I think a “roger, I will advise” would sound nice. You didn’t tell him “wilco” or readback the instruction so it’s not a promise

When pilots arrive at LGMT and I have never heard of their callsign/registration I tell them early on the approach where to expect to vacate. But then again LGMT is no EDDH.

ICAO (Doc 4444 15ed) says the following:

7.10.3 Landing and roll-out manoeuvres When necessary or desirable in order to expedite traffic, a landing aircraft may be requested to:
a) hold short of an intersecting runway after landing;
b) land beyond the touchdown zone of the runway;
c) vacate the runway at a specified exit taxiway;
d) expedite vacating the runway. In requesting a landing aircraft to perform a specific landing and/or roll-out manoeuvre, the type of
aircraft, runway length, location of exit taxiways, reported braking action on runway and taxiway, and prevailing
meteorological conditions shall be considered. A HEAVY aircraft shall not be requested to land beyond the touchdown
zone of a runway. If the pilot-in-command considers that he or she is unable to comply with the requested operation, the
controller shall be advised without delay. When necessary or desirable, e.g. due to low visibility conditions, a landing or a taxiing aircraft may be
instructed to report when a runway has been vacated. The report shall be made when the entire aircraft is beyond the
relevant runway-holding position.

LGMT (Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece), Greece
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