Welcome to your Level 2 Ground Control Training. Ground control (GC) is responsible for the safe, efficient, and expeditious movement of aircraft on the airport Movement Areas with the exception of active runways. Most smaller airports may only have a few taxiways and maybe one or two runways. However, larger airports such as Salt Lake City International receive larger volumes of traffic and therefore have more taxiways and runways to accommodate the larger volume.

Airport Layout

Non-Movement Area

At towered fields, airports are divided into two parts. Non-Movement and Movement Areas. Non-Movement Areas are areas on the airport surface that are not controlled and regulated by ATC. Ramps, Aprons, Helipads (on designated non-movement areas), and de-icing pads (on designated non-movement areas) comprise Non-Movement Areas.

Movement Area

Movement Areas are areas on the airport surface that are controlled by ATC and require an ATC clearance to operate on. These include runways, taxiways, helipads (on designated movement areas), and de-icing pads (on designated movement areas).

Aircraft Categories/Classes

Aircraft Categories

Aircraft are broken up into three categories.

  • Category I – Small single-engine propeller driven aircraft weighing 12,500 lbs. or less, and all helicopters.
  • Category II – Small twin-engine propeller driven aircraft weighing 12,500 lbs. or less.
  • Category III – All other aircraft.

Aircraft Classes

Additionally, aircraft are broken up into four classes based on maximum certified weights:

  • Small – 41,000 lbs. or less.
  • Large – 41,0001 to 299,999 lbs.
  • Heavy – 300,000 lbs. or more.
  • Super – A388 and A225 aircraft.

Ground Movement

Taxi to Runway

The most common form and basic form of taxi instructions is to state the intended destination and the route to get to that destination. Remember, never state “cleared” at any time to avoid confusion with a take off clearance.

Issue the assigned runway followed by the route to the runway. At the very minimum, the pilot must read back the runway assignment.

DAL1465, runway 17, taxi via K.

If departing from an intersection (not using full length), issue the runway assignment at the intersection followed by the route to the runway. Reference SOP and coordinate with Local Control prior to authorizing an intersection departure.
Note: If the specific taxi route ends into a connecting taxiway with the same identifier (for example, taxiway “A” connects with Taxiway “A1”) at the approach end of the runway, the connecting taxiway may be omitted from the clearance.

DAL1465, runway 17 at K6 taxi via K.
DAL1465, runway 10L taxi via A, W.

Taxi to gate/reposition

Issue the route followed by the destination when not issuing a taxi instruction to an assigned runway.

”DAL1465, taxi to Signature West, via S, K.

Helicopter Movement


Runways are designed to sustain the impact of an airplane landing on its surface which is why they are used for takeoff and landing. However, because of the ability to takeoff and land vertically, using the runway is almost always optional for a helicopter. Helicopters are essentially able to takeoff and land anywhere they will fit with consideration to safety.

Hover Taxi

Helicopters that are equipped with wheels should be treated like fixed wing aircraft and issued taxi instructions as such. Helicopters that do not have wheels or wheeled helicopters that would prefer to taxi in the same manner perform what is known as a hover taxi. A hover taxi authorizes a helicopter to proceed at a speed of less than 20 knots within the ground effect. During a hover taxi the helicopter is issued a taxi route like a fixed wing.

Issue helicopters a hover taxi clearance using procedures taught in “Ground Movement Operations”.

N312PD, Runway 17, hover taxi via K.
N312PD, hover taxi to taxiway V, via E, G.
N312PD, hover taxi to Signature West, via S, K. Hold short runway 17.

Air Taxi

Air Taxi authorizes a helicopter to expeditiously fly from one point to another on the airport usually below 100 ft AGL and at airspeed above 20 knots. Air Taxi operations utilize the helicopters unique flight abilities to expedite helicopter operations and alleviate unnecessary waiting.

Issue the route to air taxi via followed by the destination and any special instructions. If necessary, instruct the aircraft to land and contact Local Control.

N312PD, air taxi via direct to runway 17. Land and contact tower 118.3.
N312PD, air taxi via as requested to runway 17, remain at or below 5,000. Land and contact tower 118.3.
N312PD, air taxi via direct to taxiway K. Avoid B737 on S. Land and contact tower 118.3.

Progressive Taxi

The purpose of progressive taxi to assist pilots who may be lost or confused about where they are and where they should be going. Issue progressive taxi instructions when requested by the pilot or when you deem it necessary to ensure transparency. There is no “right way” to issue a progressive taxi. Issue the pilot turn by turn instructions as if you were guiding a driver that is unfamiliar with the area. The best technique is to issue one instruction at a time.

DAL1465, turn left at the next intersection.
DAL1465, turn right on E, left on H, right on H10, hold short runway 17 at H10.



Transfer of Communications


Expeditious Compliance

Issue traffic instructions to expedite when necessary When appropriate provide a reason for expeditious compliance.

DAL1465, taxi without delay traffic on short final.
DAL1465, cross runway 17 without delay.
DAL1465, exit taxiway K without delay for landing helicopter.

Ground Sequencing

Issue any hold short instructions to the aircraft after the route. If the pilot will be instructed to hold short at multiple locations, state only the first point the pilot is to hold short of. Have the pilot cross the first point and instruct him to hold short of the next point. At the very minimum, the pilot must read back any hold short instructions. The absence of holding instructions authorizes an aircraft/vehicle to cross all taxiways that intersect the taxi route.
Note: Coordinate with Local Control prior to authorizing any aircraft to cross an active runway.

DAL1465, taxi to Signature West, via S, K. Hold short runway 17.
DAL1465, cross runway 16L, hold short runway 17.

Aircraft may be instructed to follow or taxi behind another aircraft if their taxi route will be the same. Ensure you verbally issue any holding instructions regardless of what the aircraft being followed has been issued.

DAL1465, runway 16L, follow the B737.
DAL1465, taxi to Signature West, follow the B737, hold short runway 17.
DAL1465, taxi to the Delta Hanger behind the B738.

If an aircraft needs to hold position for any reason have them hold and state the reason when appropriate. Instruct the aircraft to continue taxi when holding is no longer necessary.

DAL1465, hold position.
DAL1465, hold for crossing traffic.
DAL1465, continue taxi.