Aircraft marshalling

Aircraft marshalling referst to the visual communication between ground personnel and pilots in order to lead an aircraft to the correct parking position at an airport or aerodrome. Marshalling is important because many pilots have limited vision both of the aircraft and of ground obstacles from the cockpit. The marshaller, thus, guides the pilot to the parking position in a safe manner. Marshalling is also used for preparing the aircraft for departure as well. Aircraft marshalling is mainly done using visual communication through body signals.

Marshalling signals ICAO or IATA?

It is not commonly known that there are two different types of marshalling signals, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and IATA (International Air Transport Association). Interestingly New Zealand CAA uses ICAO as their standard and the countries largest operator Air New Zealand uses IATA as their standard. Whilst they are similar and could be considered the same there are subtle differences that pilots need to be aware of.

Marshalling demonstrations

(Video embedded from YouTube on 10 December 2009) (Video embedded from YouTube on 10 December 2009)

Marshalling Past Obstructions

When guiding an aircraft past an obstruction, a person is required to monitor the wing tip for clearance. Ideally they will be positioned near the outer edge of the obstruction, so if the wing tip can clearly pass them the aircraft will safely avoid the obstacle. It is important that the marshaller is in visual contact with the wing tip person so they can relay any signals to the Captain i.e. if it is necessary to stop.

Contributors to this page

Authors / Editors

Louise ODonnellLouise ODonnell

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