Taxi Without Delay

“Learjet 481KM, traffic on a 2 mile final for 22L. Without delay, cross Runway 22L, hold short of 22R.”*

PIlatus 2239H, taxi without delay.

Okay, that makes sense. The ground controller is telling the Learjet pilot there will be a very brief gap, between landing airplanes, in which he can get the Learjet across Runway 22L. The pilot should move his fanny jet quickly across the runway. But what does “Taxi without delay,” mean to a pilot who is already moving down a taxiway?

“Pilatus 2293H, taxi without delay. I’ve got five aircraft on taxiway Alpha waiting on you.”

Here’s what the controller would like to say, but is restricted from saying: “Pilatus 2293H, expedite your taxi. I’ve got five aircraft at taxiway Alpha waiting on you.”

Do/Don’t Taxi Quickly

Why? Because the FAA says all aircraft should be taxied at a speed equivalent to a fast walk. Air traffic control, a.k.a. the FAA, cannot speak out of both sides of it’s mouth. (I know that’s hard to believe.) A controller cannot instruct you to taxi quickly—“expedite”–while at the same time requiring you to not taxi quickly. Here is the passage from the Controller’s Manual (JO 7110.65T) that talks about this euphemism:


f. Issue instructions to expedite a taxiing aircraft or a moving vehicle.
TAXI WITHOUT DELAY (traffic if necessary).

What Does it All Mean?

Notice the intent is to expedite a taxiing aircraft, but the actual phraseology avoids the word. “Taxi without delay,” means, move your tail. To which you should salute smartly with a polite acknowledgment, and increase your taxi to no faster than the FAA’s mandated speed of a fast walk.

Do you do that? Have you ever seen another aircraft taxi so fast that if the pilot had pulled back on the yoke, the aircraft would have lifted off?

*All call signs in this article are fictitious.

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