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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Caution: plane!

This time last week I was on the Hume Hwy: the return leg of a fleeting road trip to Melbourne. Along the route I couldn’t help but notice these aircraft warning signs posted at various points through central Victoria which I had never seen before. Obviously, they are there to warn the driver about aircrafts, though I couldn’t help but ponder: how close are these aircrafts coming to the highway, that as a driver, I need to be cautious? Would there be the need to swerve or suddenly break? The logic of the yellow warning signpost, in reference to kangaroos, wombats, koalas, cassowarys, etc. didn’t seem plausible or applicable in reference to aircrafts. Of the assumption, of course, that the signs were referencing light planes, such as those used for farming purposes, because I certainly would understand the need for a warning if a Boeing 747 suddenly passed overhead at mere few thousand feet – in the middle of nowhere. It was suggested in passing conversation that it may indicate an emergency landing strip, after seeing the sign a second time along a length of straight road, though this seemed merely coincidental and implausible after some consideration. In contemplating these signs, I had to chuckle at the question on how pilots knew to intersect with the roads at the indicated signposted locations bought about by the infamous concerns of ‘deer lady’ (if you haven’t yet, do yourself a favour and search YouTube, worth the listen). After arriving home safely, I did some research and was able to find a full reference list of road signs (only) on the Queensland Government website. Located under ‘drive with caution for approaching obstacles’, the Aircraft Sign simply means: [be aware] an airfield is nearby and aircraft may fly over the road at low altitude.