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At the EAA's AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh (KOSH), landing and sometimes takeoff operations are very often done by dots which are painted on the runway, making it so that multiple operations (a landing or a takeoff) are done at the same time on a single runway.

A diagram of those dots for those who don't know what I am talking about:

enter image description here Image Source

Does this kind of runway operation (i.e. concurrent landings or takeoffs on a single runway) happen anywhere else or is this special to AirVenture?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you including military operations in this, or only civil ones? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 22, 2017 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Pondlife Just civil $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 20:01

2 Answers 2

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ICAO defined procedures for Reduced runway separation which to some extend permits concurrent operations on a single runway. ICAO does not mention anything about coloured dots, but the ICAO procedures do open up for doing something similar to what you are describing.

The following is from Doc 4444/PANS-ATM:

7.11.4 For the purpose of reduced runway separation, aircraft shall be classified as follows:

  • Category 1 aircraft: single-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of 2 000 kg or less;
  • Category 2 aircraft: single-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of more than 2 000 kg but less than 7 000 kg; and twin-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of less than 7 000 kg;
  • Category 3 aircraft: all other aircraft.

[...]

7.11.7 Reduced runway separation minima which may be applied at an aerodrome shall be determined for each separate runway. The separation to be applied shall in no case be less than the following minima:

landing aircraft:

  • a succeeding landing Category 1 aircraft may cross the runway threshold when the preceding aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which either:
    • has landed and has passed a point at least 600 m from the threshold of the runway, is in motion and will vacate the runway without backtracking; or
    • is airborne and has passed a point at least 600 m from the threshold of the runway;
    • a succeeding landing Category 2 aircraft may cross the runway threshold when the preceding aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which either:
    • has landed and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the threshold of the runway, is in motion and will vacate the runway without backtracking; or
    • is airborne and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the threshold of the runway;
    • a succeeding landing aircraft may cross the runway threshold when a preceding Category 3 aircraft:
    • has landed and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the threshold of the runway, is in motion and will vacate the runway without backtracking; or
    • is airborne and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the threshold of the runway;

departing aircraft:

  • a Category 1 aircraft may be cleared for take-off when the preceding departing aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which is airborne and has passed a point at least 600 m from the position of the succeeding aircraft;
    • a Category 2 aircraft may be cleared for take-off when the preceding departing aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which is airborne and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the position of the succeeding aircraft; and
    • an aircraft may be cleared for take-off when a preceding departing Category 3 aircraft is airborne and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the position of the succeeding aircraft.

(note: I have changed formatting slightly to better fit this format)

These general rules are interpreted different by different countries, but some different forms of reduced runway separation are used in different places of the world.

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    $\begingroup$ While this is a good summary of the regulatory limits simultaneous operations on a single runway, it's not at the level of the KOSH special flight procedures detailed in the annual NOTAM. At KOSH, it's not unusual to see multiple aircraft over the runway or a plane touching down on the purple dot with a plane passing overhead targeting a touchdown on the pink dot. Intersection departures are handled by flagmen who wave them off between gaps in arrivals. Watching arrivals is it's own show. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Sep 22, 2017 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ AirVenture arrivals do not follow any rules other than what is printed in the NOTAM. For a few days each year, KOSH is the busiest (by operations) airport in the world, easily surpassing even KATL, and part of it is using the dots for simultaneous landings on different parts of the same runway. Watch some videos on YouTube and you'll be both horrified and amazed. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    May 13, 2020 at 15:37
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Does this kind of runway operation (i.e. concurrent landings or takeoffs on a single runway) happen anywhere else

That is a very broad question, and the answer is, not surprisingly, "yes". For example, I know of a glider club that operates from a very wide, 7000' long runway that was originally built for military flight training during the second world war. It is not uncommon to have ten gliders lined up in position on one side of the runway, and a towplane taking off with a glider in tow, and a returning glider landing on the other side of the runway and well behind the lined-up gliders, all at the same time.

Perhaps the question was meant to refer specifically to takeoffs and landings under some sort of air traffic control guidance, but it didn't actually specify that.

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