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ALC-48: Hold Short for Runway Safety
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  • Introduction
  • Objectives
  • Case Study
  • Hot Spots
  • Known Best Practices for Pilots 
  • Review
  • End of Course Exam 

121 aircrews have all been there:  A push for an “on time” departure, leads to a rushed pushback, then as they begin radio calls to company and ATC for their release and clearances, complete preflight paperwork, finish inputting the flight plan, check the weather—suddenly as the they cross Runway X, and a pilot asks the crewmate: “Were we cleared to cross Runway X...right?” He or she looks over and says, “I don’t know.”

Corporate pilots have had this experience as well, as have flight instructors and general aviation pilots. You know how it goes: you are at a large airport, one perhaps you have been to many times, or perhaps one you are not remotely familiar with the layout, when that warning system goes off. Not a loud, bright light in the cockpit, but that internal, nagging warning called ‘intuition’. It is trying to tell us something is not right. Are we where we are supposed to be? Did I understand ATC’s instructions? Where is that other aircraft? We get distracted, confused, or too focused on one thing, that one thing trying to convince us that we are right…or are we? You could be dead right.

Note: This course uses only one example of the many possibilities available to illustrate possible mistakes pilots, controllers, and others may commit to allow a runway incursion to occur.  Each airmen is strongly encouraged to review other such examples to more fully understand your role in maintaining runway safety.  More information on runway safety can be found at the FAA's runway safety site:

"Line Up and Wait" in preparation for takeoff

You do it at the movie theater, the supermarket, as well as your favorite coffee shop on the way to work:  You line up and wait.


Designed to help simplify and standardize air traffic control (ATC) phraseology, as well as to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, U.S. controllers will use the term “line up and wait” in place of “position and hold” when instructing a pilot to taxi onto a departure runway and wait for takeoff clearance. Both current and future versions of the phrase are used when takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued, either because of traffic or other reasons.


Why “line up and wait?” The phrase has actually been in use by a majority of ICAO contracting states for many years. It has proven useful with many non-native English speakers who can sometimes confuse “position and hold” with similar-sounding phrases like “position and roll,” “position at hold,” or “hold position.” Misinterpretation of this instruction can have serious consequences. Using “line up and wait” helps avoid ambiguity and keeps the global aviation community accountable to the same standard.


      Here’s an example of the phrase in use:

      Tower:             “Cessna 1234, Runway Three Four Left, line up and wait.”

      Pilot:                “XYZ Tower, Cessna 1234, Runway Three Four Left, line up and wait.”


The objectives of this course are to:


  • Heighten awareness of Runway Safety issues
  • Help airmen understand their role in prevention of Runway Incursions
  • Help pilots develop "Good Practices" that will help mitigate runway incursion causal factors.

The animated case study includes a short quiz. You must return to and take the end-of-course exam to receive WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program credit.

To receive appropriate course credit for this course you must:

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  • You must visit each chapter of the course, using the navigation bars at the top or bottom of each screen, and complete all the course material found on each.

NOTE: Some links may take you to other sites or open windows on top of the course window. You will need to return to this course on to complete the exam. This might be as simple as closing all the additional windows. However, you may find it necessary to return to, log in again, and then "continue" the course from the Course List.

  • Upon completion of the review section the Exam-sd.JPGbutton will turn blue Exam.JPGindicating you are ready to start the examination. Upon successful completion of the exam you are given the appropriate course credit automatically.