Movement Area Guidance Signs (MAGS) are designed to assist pilots when they
manoeuvre or taxi an aircraft on the airport prior to take-off and after landing. MAGS are
standardized by ICAO and are installed on most major airports. Nevertheless, accident and
incident surveys indicate the continuing prevalence of runway incursions and incorrect taxi
procedures. The current study extends the findings of work carried out by the University of
Newcastle into pilot perception and comprehension of airport movement signs. 18 pilot
candidates with a mean age of 20 years and a mean flying experience of 25 hours were
tested on their interpretation of MAGS during three simulated taxi manoeuvres. The
experimental paradigm was more realistic than the University of Newcastle study in that the
simulated taxi manoeuvre was performed with reference to a specific aerodrome chart.
Subjects were instructed to taxi from a nominated position at Canberra airport to another
nominated position at Canberra airport and were tested on their understanding of MAGS
encountered en route. Participants displayed an excellent knowledge of the meaning of the
MAGS. The mean score was 56.5 out of a possible 60 points or 94.25%. These results
contradict the Newcastle study and indicate that MAGS are effective as a navigation aid for
ground-based aircraft operations. Further work is indicated where pilots are tested on their
cognition of MAGS when they simultaneously taxi an aircraft whilst performing other tasks
associated with ground manoeuvres (for example, reading a pre take-off checklist).
Lewis, Raymond (2010). Pilots’ cognition of airport movement area guidance signs. Aviation Education and Research Proceedings, vol 2010, pp 60-65.