We’ve all seen them. Those lonely people standing outside your plane waving them in with the funny flashlights. But, what do those funny hand signals actually mean? Here are marshalling hand signals for aircraft with help from an easy-to-understand video.
If you’ve ever flown you’ve probably seen that solitary employee waving funny-looking flashlights around at planes. Maybe you noticed them from inside the airport or perhaps you noticed them as your plane was pulling into the gate. What are they doing exactly? Is this some sort of Riverdance cheerleading competition with some Star Wars cosplay?
It’s actually a very organized and simple way of communicating with the pilots of the airplane and the person with the lightsabers is actually what’s known as a marshaller. An aircraft marshaller has a very important job – they guide a big ole giant airplane into (or away from) it’s parking space, helping the pilot avoid knocking into anything with that big clumsy jet.
Come to think of it, I could use one these every time I try to park my wife’s Chevy Suburban…but I digress.
Marshalling Hand Signals for Aircraft
Aviation marshalling uses a specific language of hand and arm signals to tell a pilot to go left, right, stop and so on. And now, a simple and easy-to-understand video is making the rounds on Reddit that demonstrates this.
While this video only shows a plane pulling in and it doesn’t show all of the signals, it does give us a look at some of the more common ones.
Here are some more signals, in case you are curious:
And if you feel so inclined, you can get real serious about this and check out what the IATA has to say, here.
Next time you travel, keep an eye out for the marshaller doing those aviation hand signals and see if you can remember! The more you know…