enter image description here

I'm assuming this is just a matter of available space but it seems you could get 4 across all aligned but maybe there is another reason. The image is from McGuire AFB but I've seen this on other AFBs.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's for good luck! (Just kidding.) Aren't the 45° spots closer to the taxiway and would be for confining the wings, as you've noted, for available space? Perhaps there's more to it, can you show us other examples? Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ I see it at Beale AFB, Tinker AFB, March AFB and Albuquerque Airport. There seems to be a lot of various layouts for fighters and tankers/cargo. Some are all aligned while some are all at 45s, but there are a few mixed and I'm just not sure why. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ Because that's how the lines are drawn on the ground. $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 13:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To protect them from Japanese saboteurs. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Look at the spacing of the planes. The angled ones are closer to their neighbors. But if you did them all that way you wouldn't be able to get them as close. $\endgroup$
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


McGuire AFB being an Air Mobility Command (AMC) base, accounts for the very large C-5 Galaxy when it visits. It may not seem like it, but the 68 m (220 ft) wide C-5 when parked at a 45-degree angle saves ~20 m (65 ft) -- approx. one-third of its wingspan.

The reference used by the USAF is AFMAN 32-1084 (PDF), from which: Parking Dimensions. Table 2.9 presents the minimum geometric criteria for fixed-wing apron design. When designing new aprons for AMC bases hosting C- 5, C-17, KC-10, and KC-135 aircraft, provide 15.3 m (50 ft) of wingtip separation.
EXCEPTION: When you are rehabilitating an existing apron, provide the maximum wingtip separation the existing apron size allows (up to 15.3 m [50 ft] but not less than 7.7 m [25 ft]). This additional separation is both desirable and permitted.

By applying that to the C-5 and adding the clearance to the taxiway, those angled spots are a perfect fit:

enter image description here
The measurement above (~83 m) shows two half-span C-5s (68 m) plus the clearance (15.3 m), with superimposed C-5s via pinterest.com

For the other examples you've stated in a comment: Beale AFB and Albuquerque Airport, Tinker AFB, and March AFB -- in that order:

enter image description here The parking spots are between two taxiways, so it's the same reason as the main example. It also makes parking and taxiing out easier.

enter image description here
Those by the hangar are for ease of taxiing out instead of a hard left and potential for collision.

enter image description here
Plenty of space. I couldn't find a 45-degree parking.

(All imagery is via Google Earth)

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info. I was also looking at Barksdale AFB, and in the google maps view there are 5 "rows" of B-52s, but only one of the rows has a plane at 45 degrees by the taxi line while 3 of the others do not. For Tinker AFB, the apron on the west side has the weird layout. For March, there is a C17 at a non-45 on the south side, but still at a weird angle compared to the others. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @WilliamTaft: For Barksdale, I checked the historic imagery, and from Oct 2016 for example, the same B-52 location is used normally in line with the painted markings. Perhaps the current imagery the plane was being moved, or not yet moved into the final position. As for the March C-17, the apron is narrower there, and all the adjacent spots are also tilted, so it's for the same reason (making space). $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Likewise for Tinker, because of the weird layout of the apron itself. Planes kept getting bigger, so they had to adapt the apron to make the best use of the available space. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the OPs image from McGuire, there appears to be plenty of wing-tip room to rotate the planes from 315° to 270°. However, for those planes that are parked at 315°, they would have a much sharper turn to make it to the 90° direction on taxi-out if they were parked facing 270° and that may not be a turn they'd be able to make. I do agree with your assessment of the images you posted, though. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan: see now ;) $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 23:51

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