Pilots’ cognition of airport movement area guidance signs

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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).
Movement Area Guidance Signs (MAGS), Aircraft taxiing, Aircraft taxi manoeuvres, Ground-based aircraft operations
Lewis, Raymond (2010). Pilots’ cognition of airport movement area guidance signs. Aviation Education and Research Proceedings, vol 2010, pp 60-65.