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Questions tagged [airport-design]

Questions about the planning and design of airports: both the manoeuvring area itself, and the services and passenger facilities.

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79 votes
4 answers
16k views

Why do control towers have tilted glass panels?

Almost all control towers I've seen have tilted glass panels: Amsterdam-Schiphol tower (EHAM), source. What is the reason behind this choice? How is the tilt angle determined?
mins's user avatar
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65 votes
1 answer
12k views

Why are Gatwick's runways too close together?

Gatwick Airport has two runways (08L/26R and 08R/26L), but they are only 200 metres apart - too close (by just ten metres) to allow simultaneous operations on both runways. As a result, usually only ...
Vikki's user avatar
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51 votes
13 answers
15k views

Is there any combination of two airports that are connected via taxiways?

Are there any 2 (or more) airports that are ground-connected so that e.g. aircraft can taxi between them? Would that be even possible from a definition point of view, having a common area with two ...
Florian's user avatar
  • 3,859
40 votes
9 answers
18k views

Why don't short runways use ramps for takeoff?

Say you had a runway for light aircraft, but only 700 meters or so of runway. Wouldn't it help to end the runway with a ramp that is ~40 meters above ground and slightly facing the sky at a gradient ...
Jalapeno's user avatar
  • 511
40 votes
4 answers
24k views

Why do farmers register their fields as airports?

(this seems to be primarily a US phenomenon) So in the vicinity of my parents' place (in a rural area in Indiana), there are several registered airports within several miles' radius. I remember when ...
Steely Dan's user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
4k views

Do any airports have runways or taxiways that cross active rail lines at grade?

Gibraltar has a runway which crosses an active road at grade (which, due to the peninsula’s geography and the resulting constraints on the airport’s location, happens to be the main road connecting ...
Vikki's user avatar
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39 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why can't some airports handle heavy aircraft while others do it easily (same runway length)?

As I've seen in this video, they operate flights from Bournemouth airport all the way to Barbados on a Boeing 787-8. As Bournemouth runway length is 2,271 m (7,451 ft), it can handle aircraft such as ...
Uraflight's user avatar
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34 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why are Oscar, India, and X-Ray (O, I, and X) not used as taxiway identifiers?

An old CAR "Licensing of Aerodromes" document indicated that taxiways may not be designated by O, I, or X. Is this still in effect today? Why were (or are) those not used as taxiway identifiers? My ...
Ryan Mortensen's user avatar
34 votes
1 answer
7k views

What is the purpose of a walled area in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport?

Looking at a satellite map to the East of Heathrow Airport, there is a small passenger jet parked in a walled off area. Looking at the aerodrome chart the entire area is listed as Bealine Base, which ...
mfurseman's user avatar
  • 443
33 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why do passenger embark on the left side of an aircraft?

I speak of passenger aircraft that can be found on large airports. The left side is used by passengers (and the crew) to embark/disembark (see the position of jet bridges) and the other side to embark/...
Manu H's user avatar
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30 votes
3 answers
24k views

How flat does a runway need to be?

I always assumed that big runways are flat (or more specifically straight: they might have a slight slope in either direction), but while watching some crosswind landing footage shot at Birmingham ...
SztupY's user avatar
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29 votes
3 answers
12k views

Why is Heraklion airport a 'captains only' airport?

I was recently watching "EasyJet: Inside The Cockpit" and it said pilots need 4 shoulder stripes to land at Heraklion International Airport, “Nikos Kazantzakis” (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR), but it didn't ...
L.Halfpenny's user avatar
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28 votes
4 answers
16k views

Why do airports in the UK have so few runways?

Almost all of the major airports in the United Kingdom are single-runway (or functionally-single-runway) installations, with only two of the very busiest (Heathrow and Manchester) having as many as ...
Vikki's user avatar
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28 votes
6 answers
6k views

Why do airports remove/realign runways?

When looking at Google Earth, I often find myself looking for airports. I often notice that no matter what size airport, over time many of them have abandoned old runways and built new runways in ...
doug's user avatar
  • 281
27 votes
10 answers
16k views

Why do airports have directional runways instead of a large area to operate in any direction?

Instead of a few runways in a few directions, why not have a large square block of asphalt so that planes can take off and land in any direction? Where and on what direction planes land and take off ...
Count Iblis's user avatar
27 votes
2 answers
22k views

How much force does a 747 land with?

I've been told before that the runways for large commercial aircraft have to be built to withstand a large amount of force. But I'm wondering exactly how much it is? When a 747 touches down, how ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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26 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there any technical reason that prevents installation of a jet blast deflector at Princess Juliana airport?

A jet blast deflector (JBD) or blast fence is a safety device that redirects the high energy exhaust from a jet engine to prevent property damage and injury. Regarding the incident on July 13, 2017 ...
vasin1987's user avatar
  • 8,138
26 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why do some AFBs have planes parked at 45 degrees to others?

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.
William Taft's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the reason for this frog finger shaped parking lots at Köln/Bonn airport (CGN)?

Most aprons of international airports are vast areas paved with asphalt or concrete. However, I noticed this structures in the south of Köln/Bonn airport (CGN) (Google maps link): Does anyone know ...
sweber's user avatar
  • 7,267
25 votes
3 answers
21k views

Why does Schiphol Airport have such a long taxi?

I recently flew into Schiphol and experienced a very long taxi time (about 20 minutes) from landing to pulling into the pier at the terminal. Given that the flight was only 90 minutes from closing air ...
medina's user avatar
  • 353
24 votes
3 answers
13k views

Why do airliners park with the nose facing the terminal?

A few other questions have touched on why we don't board airliners from the front and back at the same time. My question is why is it that we choose to board at the front, rather than park the ...
Stuck's user avatar
  • 351
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do passengers board the planes on this airport?

I found a quite "rare" layout on Munich airport. It has jetbridges but I don't see any terminal. Look: How do passengers make it to this point of the airport? By underground?
user13197's user avatar
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23 votes
1 answer
9k views

Is it possible to drive into Gibraltar Airport's runway?

The runway of Gibraltar Airport crosses an active 4 lane highway Example Video. My question is are there any security measures which prevent normal traffic from entering the airport through the ...
anshabhi's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
4k views

What do these white on red words indicate on a London Heathrow taxiway chart?

What do the words in white block capital letters over a red background denote on this aerodrome chart of LHR?
J.FLLT's user avatar
  • 1,231
19 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why does the Las Vegas Airport have three control towers?

Why does the Las Vegas Airport have three control towers? I just noticed, and I find it a little weird. There should only be one... Does anybody know details on how this came about? And how they work ...
mike's user avatar
  • 2,170
18 votes
7 answers
6k views

How to build a 2 mile long runway on a 1 mile square island?

On Puzzling.SE I found this question: You have a 1 mile long x 1 mile wide private island that you wish to turn into a resort. A plane requires a 2-miles long runway to take off. What do you do?...
Maverick283's user avatar
  • 3,941
18 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why are most runways made of asphalt and not concrete?

From the little I know about vehicles in cities, nowadays concrete is preferred to asphalt for road construction as, while initially more expensive, concrete is supposed to be cheaper to maintain. ...
shirish's user avatar
  • 949
18 votes
1 answer
3k views

What are those structures at Taif Regional Airport in Saudi Arabia?

I was looking at airports in Saudi Arabia and noticed a strange one. At Taif Regional Airport near Mecca there are a bunch of taxiways all seemingly randomly intersecting at different angles, each ...
Ashley Strout's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

How are light gun signals handled at remotely controlled airports?

In a comment @randomhead mentioned: Remote towers are already in use at several sites in multiple countries. Off the top of my head and without even googling, there's Leesburg airport in Virginia ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 1,063
16 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why so much ground time at Frankfurt Airport?

Disclaimer: Total layman here. I frequently fly into and out of Frankfurt Airport (FRA) with regional jets (flight time advertised as 45 minutes) and one thing that everyone is always annoyed about ...
Martin Ba's user avatar
  • 263
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

How are unpaved strips created and maintained?

I'm under the impression that some large craft are rated for "unpaved strips", which appear to be either some sort of gravel or perhaps dirt. The 727, and this runway, being a good example of this: ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
  • 24.2k
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why was the second runway at Sea-Tac Airport built so close to the first?

The second runway (the eastern 16L/34R) was built 800ft. to the east of the original runway 16C. Almost immediately it was criticised as being unusable for simultaneous operations unless using VFR ...
jchwebdev's user avatar
  • 251
14 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why are most helipads in São Paulo blue coated and identified by a "P"?

ICAO Annex 14, Vol II and FAA (AC 5390-2C) standards establishes 'H' and there is no mention to coating TLOF or FATO. Brazilian National Regulation (RBAC 155 - ANAC) does not provide any guideline for ...
Evandrojs's user avatar
  • 161
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are taxiways numbered in a predictable order?

When taxiing at an airport without a full-blown airport diagram (most commonly, a non-towered airport), how does a pilot know whether taxiway A (Alpha) is on one end of a runway, or the other? Or, in ...
Conway's user avatar
  • 589
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are there any "captains-only" airports in the U.S.?

Some airports in the world only allow captains to take off or land the aircraft, due to airport design or environmental conditions (obstacles, high winds). Examples include: Funchal (Madeira, ...
Stefan's user avatar
  • 4,692
13 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why do some airports have more than 2 runways, when LHR can get by with 2?

I was looking at aerial imagery of various airports and noticed how some have a large number of runways (4-6), while others have a small number. Specifically, I noticed that Heathrow (LHR) only has 2 ...
PhilippNagel's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
801 views

Why is London City getting a virtual tower?

(Source) London City is not a remote-low-traffic airport. Staffing a remote airport is like having lighthouse keepers. That I understand. And yet the tower will be closed, and moved off-airport to ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why aren't airports built identically (like aircraft)?

Considering the delays and mishaps in super-projects (e.g. the new airport in Berlin), wouldn't it be rational to standardize airports in the same ways aircraft are: Building them all according to the ...
yippy_yay's user avatar
  • 7,375
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why does KBOS have such a short runway?

Runway 15L/33R at Boston Logan is only 2500 ft, which is barely long enough for a Cessna, let alone an airliner. I’m wondering if anyone knows why this runway was built or what purpose it serves. I ...
GeckoFox1001's user avatar
  • 1,358
12 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why does Beijing's new Daxing airport have so few gates?

There is a lot of press about the Daxing airport, touting that it will be one of the largest in the world in terms of passenger capacity. The images of the terminal build are indeed beautiful. But ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are zero visibility landings a possibility for the future of commercial aviation?

Airports usually close or slow down activities in fog conditions, e.g. this seems to be a significant problem in winter at Delhi airport. Large commercial aircraft would be able to land with no ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.8k
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why would an ILS installation need a “reflecting surface” around the glideslope antenna?

According to the NTSB, the installation of a glideslope serving runway 11 at KHTS (Tri-State Airport, Huntington, West Virginia) was delayed for over twelve years by the lack of suitable terrain for ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 28.4k
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What regulations or procedures address runway-taxiway interference for aircraft with large wingspan?

Are there cases of airports where a large wingspan aircraft on a taxiway can interfere with another aircraft on the runway? Or do the airport design parameters take care that the largest wingspan ...
curious_cat's user avatar
  • 8,454
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the purpose of this loop in a taxiway?

This image is of Mariscal Sucre International Airport near Quito, Ecuador. (Official site / in English) What is the purpose of the loop in the taxiway plainly visible in this image? From Google ...
pr1268's user avatar
  • 1,943
11 votes
2 answers
663 views

Why would the runway separation for parallel triple simultaneous precision approaches be dependent on airport elevation?

Based on FAA advisory circular AC 150/5300-13A, Airport Design, when operating triple simultaneous precision instrument approaches the parallel runway separation could be reduced from 5000 feet to ...
Him's user avatar
  • 5,298
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

What factors are considered when a runway is planned?

What environmental factors are considered when a new runway construction is planned (e.g. winds, weather, sun direction, etc.)?
Fabrizio Mazzoni's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
778 views

How will aiport operations at KOAK be affected when taxiway W is promoted to a runway?

For the record, my question is not about mistakenly using a taxiway as a runway. I've noticed recent changes to the sectional and TAC VFR maps around Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK/...
pr1268's user avatar
  • 1,943
10 votes
1 answer
734 views

Are there specific surface requirements prior to an ILS Category 2 runway approach threshold to ensure the accuracy of the Radio Altimeter derived DH?

ILS Category 2 approaches use a Radio Altimeter (RA) derived DH (Decision Height). An RA measures the aircraft height directly above the surface immediately below the aircraft. Any sloping terrain, ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

What is the maximum slope for taxiing aircraft?

Every airport I have encountered has flat runways and taxiways. Of course this is not exactly true, as some other questions picked up, and it is also possible that I just happened to visit mostly ...
Antzi's user avatar
  • 4,222
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

What happens when the runway is unusable at an isolated aerodrome?

What happens when you fly to isolated aerodrome in turbine engine aircraft without predetermined point procedure and just upon arrival for example an aircraft crashes on the runway and you can not ...
Filip Adam's user avatar