Some manual orders to indicate to the pilots the movements on the tracks

The signals that the Spanish Navy uses to guide its aircraft on the ground

If you have ever noticed an aircraft carrier, many orders are transmitted on its runways through various manual gestures.

The meaning of the different colors of the flight personnel on warships
The US shows the night operations of the Spanish Harrier II in the Baltic Sea

These gestures are mainly made by the flight deck movement directors, who are the officers who are identified with yellow vests. Air bases and ship flight decks are very noisy places, which is why movement orders are transmitted with signals. These signals are international and in NATO they are defined by the STANAG 3117 standard, so that all pilots in all Alliance countries know them.

These signals are made to be emitted with the hands or with luminous torches. Here we see a flight deck director giving the signal to activate the brakes to the pilot of an EAV-8B+ Harrier II Plus fighter on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier "Juan Carslos I" L-61. This signal is made by raising both arms and opening and closing the hands, with the hands facing forward.

Here we see the signal to activate brakes, but in this case at the moment when the deck director had his fists clenched.

This other sign orders a right turn. It is done by stretching the right arm, to indicate to the pilot the direction he should follow, and moving the left arm up and down. The personnel with blue vests that we see approaching the plane are the movement crews, who are in charge of putting on and taking off the chocks and lashings that secure the aircraft on the flight deck.

This other signal indicates to the pilot that there are personnel approaching the aircraft. Unlike the previous signal, the left arm is held high and the right arm moves horizontally.

An approach signal to an MV-22B Osprey convertiplane of the US Marines on a visit to the aforementioned Spanish ship. This signal is made by raising the arms with the palms facing the head, and moving the arms from front to back. It tells the pilot the direction in which he should move.

This signal gives the order to the pilot to descend. The arms move inclined downwards, with the palms of the hands facing down. Straight and still arms would indicate to the pilot the order to remain stationary. The arms moving at an upward angle, with the palms facing up, would indicate ascending.

Recently, the combat supply ship "Cantabria" was visiting Vigo. In his aircraft hangar there was this sheet from the Aircraft Flotilla of the Spanish Navy that indicates the signals for aircraft, specifically those used by Harrier II aircraft and by helicopters on Spanish Navy ships. Click on the image to see it enlarged. If you want something more lively, a few years ago the Air Safety Institute published This video that indicates the basic signals for aircraft on the ground:


Photos: Armada Española.

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