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Questions tagged [airport]

Questions about the aviation aspects of airports. Questions focused on the passenger aspects should be asked at Travel.SE.

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52 votes
6 answers
105k views

How are runways numbered?

I'm not a professional pilot, just an enthusiast, so this might seem obvious to others; but I noticed that airports don't use sequential numbering for runways, starting from 1. Liverpool (for example)...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
29k views

What is the cable connected to a plane for?

I've seen that airplanes are connected to some wire like in the picture. What is it's name and what is it for?
ButterDog's user avatar
  • 495
16 votes
3 answers
45k views

How does an aircraft taxi?

Does an aircraft use its engines to taxi or is it always pulled by some other vehicle? I have seen a small lorry pulling it sometimes; is it really pulling the huge thing, or does the aircraft use ...
shabby's user avatar
  • 627
56 votes
10 answers
51k views

Can you fly a light GA airplane into a major hub? What operational considerations are there if you do?

I did my training around the Seattle area, and was told that landing at SeaTac Airport (the region's major International/Commercial airport), while not strictly forbidden, was definitely frowned upon ...
abelenky's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
3k views

How does a large airport switch flow?

Airplanes prefer to land into the wind, and airports adjust for changing wind direction by changing the active runway. I've been flying a small plane in the pattern when the tower asked me to do a ...
abelenky's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
5k views

What happens to incoming flights when the airport shuts down?

In Die Hard 2 terrorists take over an airport's ILS and landing lights on a snowy night (visual landing is impossible) and start making threats essentially holding the planes hostage. The tower ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does the FAA determine which format of location identifier to assign to an airport?

In the U.S., FAA location identifiers are assigned to registered aerodromes. However, these can have different formats: 3 Letters (e.g. ORD) 1 Number and 2 Letters (e.g. 1AD) 2 Numbers and 1 Letter (...
reirab's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
3k views

There's an airfield somewhere in the United States with a metal runway. Where is it?

Somewhere in the United States, there's an airfield (probably military) with a runway made entirely out of metal. I've seen the approach plate for it, but I can't remember the identifier. What ...
Steve V.'s user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
5k views

Who decides whether an airline docks at a jetbridge or parks at a remote stand?

A trip I took led me to wonder how airports/airlines decide when to allocate a gate and when to board out on the apron. Yesterday, I flew TLV-IST-BOS on Turkish Airlines. At the start of the trip, I ...
bmargulies's user avatar
45 votes
2 answers
127k views

If I own land, can I create a private runway on my property for my own use?

In the United States, if I own land that has an area suitable for landing a small general aviation airplane, can I just create a private runway, or do I have to officially be registered with the FAA ...
Canuk's user avatar
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32 votes
6 answers
64k views

How does security and baggage checking work in regards to a private jet?

I was told recently that if you are flying on your own private jet, you can drive your car directly on to the runway, park next to your plane and board without any security checks. This can't be true ...
Daft's user avatar
  • 423
18 votes
6 answers
15k views

What are the ways to keep the birds away from airfields?

I know bird strikes are a major issue for many airports, and that measures are taken to keep birds away. There are some obvious things airports can do like not to have any stray garbage, food, etc. in ...
NitinG's user avatar
  • 6,889
10 votes
4 answers
37k views

How do I determine the VFR pattern altitude at an airport?

How do I determine the VFR pattern altitude at an airport? Can I find it on a sectional?
flyingfisch's user avatar
  • 14.6k
31 votes
2 answers
105k views

What's the functional difference between PAPI and VASI?

PAPI and VASI seem to be very similar in the the information they provide - i.e. are you on the glide slope or off it. Is there a functional difference between the two? If there is a difference, and ...
Jeff B's user avatar
  • 1,765
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the methodology for assigning airport codes?

Pearson airport in Toronto has the airport code YYZ, which does not reflect the name Pearson or the city of Toronto. This seems contradictory to other IATA codes like LGA (Laguardia), JFK (John F ...
Alexa's user avatar
  • 273
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the practical impacts of airports in the US being mostly IATA Level 2?

IATA classifies airports using levels, which determine how slots are allocated. Source Definitions of levels by IATA, from Slot Coordination Switzerland: Level 1: airports where the capacity of ...
mins's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
12k views

What do they use to de-ice aircraft and runways on snowy days?

One of the answers to this question mentions how runways are usually in need of de-icing on cold days (which makes sense), and as anyone who has ridden an airplane on a cold day knows, planes need de-...
Jae Carr's user avatar
  • 24.2k
24 votes
1 answer
26k views

Where did the "K" identifier prefix for US airports come from?

Airports in the United States are (mostly) three letters, prefixed with a K. Where did this standard originate? Why K? This is similar to "where did the U.S. N ...
egid's user avatar
  • 23.3k
18 votes
1 answer
10k views

How often do runways need to have typical maintenance?

At a large airport (think Heathrow, JFK, O'Hare), I would imagine that the runways take a lot of abuse from all the huge planes landing on them. So, a quick multipart question: How do large ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Under what conditions are passengers required to take precautionary measures during refueling?

I was on a recent flight with a fuel emergency, during which the passengers were required to take precautionary measures. Under what circumstances are the precautionary measures mentioned below ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 6,377
13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can an airport without an FAA controlled tower have their own tower and controllers?

Can an airport not eligible for an FAA tower and controllers choose to fund their own air traffic control tower? Can that airport require pilots to taxi, approach, land, and take off according to ...
Adam Davis's user avatar
  • 2,383
12 votes
1 answer
10k views

Can two airports have a different ICAO code but share the same IATA code?

I am searching some airports databases and I find some airports with the same IATA code with different ICAO codes. Is it mistake in the database? Is it OK? For example: Beaufort MCAS - Merritt ...
borjab's user avatar
  • 323
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

When is a control tower required?

I know there are busy airports without control towers, and the converse is also true. There is a process for an airport to acquire a control tower. Sometimes, airports want to have their own control ...
digitgopher's user avatar
  • 5,281
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do some airports have a non standard traffic pattern altitude?

Some airports have a non-standard traffic pattern altitude. For example KGXY is 800 feet. Why is this?
ABC123's user avatar
  • 596
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where can I find airport taxi instruction "code names"?

At larger airports, common taxi instructions are sometimes "named" for brevity as they are repeated often. For (an entirely contrived) example, Taxi to terminal via alpha, tango, foxtrot, mike ...
digitgopher's user avatar
  • 5,281
7 votes
3 answers
5k views

What do numbers signify in airport codes?

As an Air Cadet, we go gliding very frequently. However, I've noticed something about the airport that we go to. The airport that we go to, Markham Airport, has a different airport code. CNU8. ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
  • 934
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which frequency to contact when arriving at a Class C airport when the tower is open, and which frequency when it is closed?

I came across this question on my PPL exam and I'm not able to properly interpret some pieces. The question is: When approaching Lincoln Municipal from the west at noon for the purpose of landing, ...
Jonathan's user avatar
  • 1,137
47 votes
4 answers
42k views

My windsock is erect, what does this mean?

I know that airport windsocks are calibrated to reach full erection at a particular wind velocity. At half that speed, the first half of the windsock should be erect and the second half should droop ...
Steve V.'s user avatar
  • 23.3k
41 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why do some airports park the aircraft backwards at the gate?

(YouTube) Push-in at Dortmund Airport. While at most airports, aircraft park at the gate facing the building, there are some airports that park aircraft backwards, e.g., Dortmund Airport (shown above)...
Stefan's user avatar
  • 4,692
31 votes
4 answers
8k views

What are the steep ramps often erected at large airports?

For example, the following white and orange striped ramp: I've seen these at a couple large airports but I've never seen them actually used for anything.
Billy ONeal's user avatar
31 votes
2 answers
19k views

Why is a special certification needed to land at Paro Airport?

Why is Paro Airport (currently the only international airport of Bhutan) considered one of the most dangerous airports to land in the world? Is it because of the mountains? In my opinion, Princess ...
TesterMen Tester's user avatar
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
  • 1,707
22 votes
4 answers
7k views

Where is the taxiway between the Boeing factory and Paine Field airport?

How do the Boeing aircraft taxi to Paine Field (KPAE) from the Everett Factory? It looks like a 'road' connecting the airport and the factory. Do they use this?
Geoff's user avatar
  • 221
22 votes
4 answers
8k views

How is an aircraft aligned at a jet bridge?

I see these jet bridges (or aerobridges) at nearly every new airport I go to. How are aircraft aligned with these bridges, particularly the A380 which has doors on both decks?
anshabhi's user avatar
  • 11.5k
20 votes
4 answers
7k views

Is it possible to go-around at Lukla Airport?

On this airport, it seems the runway end with a wall followed by a mountains. Thus the pilots physically can't overrun the runway and if they decide to interrupt the landing, the go-around maneuver ...
Manu H's user avatar
  • 16.5k
20 votes
4 answers
7k views

How does Boeing park several airplanes on a single runway at Paine Field?

On DigitalGlobe, I saw the following picture in an article, which talks about some of the best aerial shots of 2014. Paine Field, Washington Questions 1) Did the plane, highlighted with a yellow ...
Hanky Panky's user avatar
  • 6,021
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

For what reasons might a taxiway be mistaken for a runway?

In this article, an airliner landed on a taxiway instead of a runway. What might be the reasons that a pilot can mistake a taxiway for a runway? (I mostly know the answer for this question, but I ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why fewer operations on weekends?

Why are there fewer air carrier operations on weekends? Looking at PHX data, we have the following annual trend that clearly shows a weekly drop of about 8% on weekends: and when I average the data a ...
aviationstats's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
43k views

How do airports charge airlines for using their gates?

I'm wondering how the airports charge an airline for using a gate or a parking spot (if they use buses). Does the airline have to pay per time or per "event" or do the larger airlines have fixed gates ...
dani's user avatar
  • 579
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is METAR and how is it read?

I was reading an article about TAM Airlines Flight 3054 crash and I saw the following: METAR SBSP 172200z 35008kt 7000 -ra Bkn008 Ovc070 15/14 Q1018 SBSP 172200z 35008kt 7000 -ra Bkn008 ...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
5k views

Where is it documented an airport is military?

On sectional charts (at least in the US) military airports appear with the same symbols as public airports, eg. KBKF. Some military bases are within restricted airspace. I would assume all military ...
ABC123's user avatar
  • 596
10 votes
2 answers
10k views

How can I find traffic patterns that pass over my house?

I live in Atlanta, GA well north of the airport and typically there is very few large, commercial aircraft that pass overhead. But there is an on-going security issue at the airport today and there ...
tpg2114's user avatar
  • 205
9 votes
2 answers
7k views

How are Landing Fees Collected?

Some airports (mostly busy Class B airports from what I gather) have a landing fee. For example, in the Airport Facility Directory for San Francisco, there is a section under "AIRPORT REMARKS" that ...
CJBS's user avatar
  • 1,462
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does an airliner adjust and move exactly over the coloured lines before stopping in front of the jetways?

How does an airliner adjust and move exactly over the coloured lines before stopping in front of the jetways?
Mohammad Gohardoust's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can airlines schedule more flight arrivals than the destination airport capacity?

Takeoff and landing efficiency at an airport seems to depend on a number of factors, like number of runways and gates, infrastructure maintenance, weather, or even notorious traffic congestion in some ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.7k
7 votes
1 answer
523 views

Is there any System to warn of Runway Incusion?

From what I learn, in large towered airports, the control of who enters and leaves the runways belong to the Control Tower Operators. And that got me thinking: Is there any Equipment or System in ...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are flight check operations?

KDCA/DCA is currently experiencing delays in both arriving and departing aircraft, and several sites list variations of "Flight check operations" as the reason. The FAA itself provides the ...
mmathis's user avatar
  • 662
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is there no numbering system for more than three parallel runways?

If an airport has three parallel runways - a good example being Schiphol (EHAM/AMS) - the parallels are usually labeled "left", "center", and "right", and in case of Schiphol they are 18/36 L/C/R. ...
WildGurgs36's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why do budget airlines not use the jetbridge that's right there?

Related to Who decides whether an airline docks at a jetbridge or parks at a remote stand?, but I'm not asking about remote stands. I recently took an easyJet flight (A319/320) from London Gatwick (...
Roger Lipscombe's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why circle an airport after takeoff? (SLC particularly)

I left SLC (Salt Lake City) this morning heading to MCO (Orlando). On previous flights, I remember takeoff similar to other airports. We got in the air, gained altitude, and moved to our heading and ...
user193673's user avatar