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Marshalling Aircraft Signals

Aircraft marshalling is a method of visual signaling between ground personnel and pilots on an airport, aircraft carries or helipad.

As opposed to radio communications between the aircraft and air traffic control, marshalling is a one –on-one visual communication and a vital part of aircraft ground handling. The usual attire of a marshaller is a reflecting safety vest, a helmet with acoustic earmuffs, and illuminated beacons or gloves.




On airports, the marshaller signals the pilot to keep turning, slow down, atop, and shut down engines, leading the aircraft safely to its parking stand or, in some cases, to the runway. Sometimes, the marshaller indicates the first directions to the pilot by driving a “follow-me” car (usually a yellow minivan with a check board pattern) prior to disembarking and resuming signaling. This, however, is not an industry standard.

On aircraft carriers or helipads, marshaller also have the ability to give take off and landing clearances to aircraft and helicopters, where the very limited space and the time between take offs and landings makes radio communications a difficult alternative.


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