Let's Talk Airfield Paint Markings for Runways and Taxiways

Do you know airfield markings? In my experience many aviation professionals do not know them well enough (this includes knowledge in Airport Operations, ATC, and Pilots ranks).  

So let's learn about paint shall we?

This post will just cover the basics since the AC has 136 pages (a bit too much for one blog post eh?) How about just a bit of "paintformation" about Runways and Taxiways.

Runways -

Runway markings have certain requirements based on the type of aircraft and instrument approaches approved for a specific runway. The chart below is from AC 150/5340-1L.

As you can see in the chart, the only two things required on every runway are the Landing Designator (the runway numbers) and the Centerline. For Non-precision approach runways, threshold markings are required (or "Piana Keys" if you have an awesome maintenance department). And of course everything is required for a Precision Approach runway, so add the Aiming Point Markings, Touchdown Zone Markings, and Edge Markings). See the notes on the chart for modifications to the main requirements. The graphic below from the AC and includes all of the paint markings from the chart above.

1. What's the approximate width of the runway pictured below?

2. And how many threshold stripes are required on a 150 foot runway? 

Do you know the answers to questions 1. and 2. now? 75 feet and 12 stripes respectively yes?

Taxiways - 

By Walter Siegmund (Own work) [GFDL] (source)

What paint markings do you see in the picture above? I see the following (page #'s refer to the AC):

Enhanced Taxiway Centerline (pg. 44)
Runway Hold Short Marking (pg. 31)
Taxiway Edge Line Marking (Continuous) (pg. 41)
Surface Painted Holding Position Sign (pg. 49)
Surface Painted Taxiway Location Sign (pg. 57)
Taxiway Shoulder Markings (pg. 60)
Runway Centerline Marking (pg. 18)

Did you know all of these? Do you know what each marking means and how they each should be painted? I knew the basics of all of the markings, but I still had to look up a few of the official names, and I would have to review to know exactly what each measurement is. In other words, paint markings require frequent review (unless you have a photographic memory, I wish!). 

So go review! And we will get into more detail about specific markings next time.

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Click here for comments
Sam Priest
August 8, 2017 at 5:22 AM ×

Do you need a surface painted taxiway location sign with every surface painted hold position sign? We don't have any SPTL with any of our SPHPS's. Don't know if we are wrong, or if it is optional...AC is not clear.

June 6, 2018 at 3:15 AM ×

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