Crossing a runway while switching frequencies?

falstro
  • Crossing a runway while switching frequencies? falstro

    I've never had the opportunity to fly into a controlled airport with parallel runways, so I've never actually faced the situation. But, in the interest of being ahead of it, when would it be prudent to switch to ground frequency with this clearance (assume I just landed)?

    N12345, right on E, cross 27 R, contact ground .9

    Should I call ground (or switch frequency, so I no longer hear the tower) before or after crossing 27 R? My by-the-book assumption would be immediately, as there's no "then" or "after crossing" or similar, but somehow that feels wrong. I suppose normally it doesn't really matter, but in the case of someone (which includes me, everyone makes mistakes) doing something wrong, where would they call me as I'm about to cross 27 R?

    The reason I ask is that I saw exactly this case in a YouTube video quite a while ago (can't find it anymore though), where exactly this happened. The pilot was narrating for the video and stated he'd switch frequencies "now that he'd crossed the runway", at which point I started thinking about it.

    Considering the situation, I would probably rather wait since there's an inherent delay when switching frequencies anyway, I might as well wait a bit longer, but knowing myself, if I hadn't thought about it ahead of time I'd probably switch right away. The only reason I can think of for saying it this way is if 27 R is not an active runway, but then again, reality does not always match what's in the book.

  • Remember that active runways are always the jurisdiction of the local (tower) controller. Even if a ground controller tells you to cross a runway, they have to clear it with the local controller next to them. So generally you switch frequencies when you have finished crossing the runway unless told otherwise.

    I can tell you this is exactly how it works in Boise, Idaho where there are the parallels 10/28 L/R.

    However, if you are unsure of any instructions a controller gives you, the basic rule is: ask. The tower controller won't mind, and will typically appreciate the clarification. Just read back the crossing instruction as normal, then ask.

    Right on E, cross 27 R, contact ground .9, N12345, and should I contact ground on the other side of 27R or immediately?

  • You have been cleared by the tower to cross a runway so you should stay with the tower frequency until you've crossed it. The reason being that ground control is not authorized to issue clearances for runway crossings.

    In theory, you should never cross a runway when on ground frequency because the tower is in charge of that.

  • N12345, right on E, cross 27 R, contact ground .9
    

    Do it in exactly the order they tell you. Right turn on E, cross the next runway, then stop and contact ground.

    Have an airport diagram handy if you can, it will make a world of difference.

    ETA: If they want you to switch to ground before crossing 27R, they'll probably just say this:

    N12345, right on E, contact ground .9
    

    In which case, you turn right on E, cross the hold position lines, stop, and switch to ground. The ground controllers will direct you the rest of the way, coordinating with tower controllers where crossing runways is required. In fact, in this case, they'll probably give you very explicit instructions not to cross any more runways until told to do so.

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