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Questions tagged [runways]

A runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft" (ICAO definition).

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51 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
7 answers
21k views

Can jet airplanes operate on 'rough' airfields?

A question I've always wondered is: can jet aircraft - not turboprop in this case - operate from 'rough' airstrips. My definition of 'rough' is grass or maybe a smooth mud airfield. I know that there'...
user1352057's user avatar
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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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23 votes
4 answers
37k views

What determines in which direction a runway is used?

A nearby airport has a single 05/23 runway (3900m long), where airplanes start and land in one direction during certain periods and in the opposite direction during other periods. How is the ...
Andre Holzner's user avatar
32 votes
1 answer
25k views

Why doesn't the A380 use its outboard thrust reversers?

One thing I noticed with the A380 is that it only seems to use the inboard thrust reversers while landing. I suspect it relates to FOD ingestion or perhaps damaging the runway. This is strange though, ...
Bryson S.'s user avatar
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19 votes
4 answers
4k views

How heavy is too heavy to land on a grass strip?

This is actually a tricky question, because it's not just about gross weight, but about how much weight each individual tire imparts into the ground. This, of course, depends on the design of the ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
14k views

How do airports determine when they should change their runway numbers?

Runway numbers in most of the world are based on the runway's orientation relative to magnetic north. For example a runway with a magnetic heading of 135° to 144° will be numbered ...
voretaq7's user avatar
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45 votes
2 answers
124k 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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10 votes
1 answer
10k views

How do pilots use stopway, EMAS, clearway and displaced threshold?

I noticed in Why is “clearway minus stopway” used in V1 adjustments? that a stopway and an EMAS are both indicated by yellow chevrons: Same Opa-Locka stopway on the left, and San Diego EMAS on the ...
mins's user avatar
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34 votes
2 answers
4k views

Southwest corner of LAX has peculiar airplane parts, what is this area?

In the Southwest corner of LAX (at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Pershing Dr.) there is a strange looking area that appears to have some abandoned airplane parts. Also, it looks like a road-...
Trevor's user avatar
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29 votes
3 answers
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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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25 votes
3 answers
11k views

Why is a large flashing "X" placed on a closed runway at Reagan National Airport?

Runway 15 at DCA (Reagan National) is closed at night and other times. By "closed," I mean that airport management places a gigantic lit/flashing "X" in the landing zone of 15. I'd estimate the big "X"...
rwrwr2r23r's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are there runways that are numbered only on one side?

For all runways I've known or seen, they're numbered on both sides, with the number on the opposite direction differ by 18. Are there runways that are numbered only on one side? I.e. due to certain ...
kevin's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
29k views

What determines the touchdown zone and aiming point markings on a runway?

Large runways usually have a marked touchdown zone, and a marked aiming point (with two giant bars in the US). How is that location chosen? It seems like it is frequently further down the runway than ...
Peter's user avatar
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76 votes
1 answer
12k views

How is tire rubber removed from the runway?

Every time an aircraft touches down, the tires are spun up rapidly. As a result, some rubber is left at the touchdown zone. (image source) As time goes on, more rubber is accumulated at the ...
kevin's user avatar
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46 votes
6 answers
20k views

How do pilots identify the taxi path to the runway?

When the aircraft is readying to taxi, the ATC asks them to proceed to some runway number, say runway 09. In big airports, how do the pilots identify the correct path to their runway? Does the ATC ...
New one's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
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Do runways need some special kind of tar or protective layer?

Do runways of the airports have some special kind of tar or protective layer to avoid the wear and tear in comparison to that of the Highways as they need to handle the much high pressure and the ...
NitinG's user avatar
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22 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why would an airplane pilot choose to intentionally use more runway than required for a takeoff?

An assumed temperature takeoff intentionally requires a pilot to use more runway than would be normally required. Why would someone want to do that instead of getting off the runway in the minimum ...
Lnafziger's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
39k views

What is the minimum distance allowed between two parallel runways?

Is there an international regulation for this matter or does it differ from one country to another?
Taher Elhouderi's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

How does having multiple ATC towers affect airport operations?

I know there are airports with more than one ATC Tower, though I only know it from my own country (SCHIPHOL - EHAM). This airport has two towers called Tower-Center and Tower-West. Tower-West is built ...
Sebass van Boxel's user avatar
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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13 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is a navigational fix? Where can I get navigational fixes for a local airport?

Amateur in aviation, so please explain the purpose of navigational fix and its characteristics. How is a navigational fix being placed around the runway, or how it is determined this would be the ...
cs1193's user avatar
  • 233
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

How are landing aircraft handled during an emergency runway closure?

A Hypothetical scenario A landing aircraft at a busy airport such as London Gatwick LGW has an issue during landing that requires the immediate closure of the runway. My understanding is that ...
Notts90's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
8k views

Is there a minimum distance between a runway and a public road?

Does the FAA require a minimum distance the between the TDZ of a runway and a public road? The reason I ask is because an aircraft landing at a small GA airport (Garnett Municipal, K68) came across ...
TomMcW's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there a name for the area for aircraft to back track near the runway threshold?

Some airports have an area, on the threshold, used to back track the aircraft, mainly because of the their wingspan, they look like a half wheel. Is there any designation for this area?
Eduardo Guilherme's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

More than one runway with the same heading. How are they labelled? [duplicate]

Given that runways are labelled by magnetic heading. What happens in airports that have more than one in the same direction? How are they labelled? Are there any such airports?
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a formula to calculate take off runway distance for commercial planes?

I want to be able to calculate the take off runway distance that a plane needs depending on factors such as weight and plane size, etc. I know that graphs exist in the pilot handbook to do this but is ...
Grace Shenton's user avatar
41 votes
4 answers
37k views

How do PAPI lights work?

Usually, there are four lights at the sides of runways which show airplanes' altitude status: four red lights: too low two red, two white: appropriate altitude four white lights: too high. If two ...
Super Hornet's user avatar
37 votes
11 answers
15k views

Could you land a large airplane on short circular runways?

Considering that building runways is expensive and that they take up a lot of space, could you land a large commercial airliner on a circular runway, braking as you go around the curves?
yippy_yay's user avatar
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32 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why can't runway 18 at Frankfurt Airport accept takeoffs or landings in the opposite direction?

Runway 18 at Frankfurt Airport is one example of a runway which is numbered on only one side. Aircraft can only takeoff in the 18 direction, and cannot takeoff in the 36 direction, nor land in any ...
Him'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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25 votes
2 answers
8k views

What is this runway marking on Kirkwall Airport's runway?

What are these markings on Kirkwall Airport's runway? From where they are on the runway, they seem like the touchdown markers, is that what they are?
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why is one of two parallel runways sometimes closed in foggy weather?

A few times, when flying into SFO, me and my fellow passengers were informed that due to foggy weather one of two parallel runways there is closed, causing delays. So, a few questions: Why can only ...
Eugene Osovetsky's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
4k views

Should landing light be off during line up and wait position?

What is the proper position for the landing lights when on the runway in a line up and wait position?
ryan1618's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why can't aircraft be cleared to land before the preceding aircraft turns off the runway?

For example, let's say we have an Airbus A330 in front, which has just landed, well past the threshold and looks like it's going to be alright. Next in line to land is a small general aviation ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do landing strips suffer from landing wheel tire tracks?

I've now seen several landing strips up close and there are lots of tire tracks from planes' landing wheels. I wonder if it somehow modifies the properties of landing strips to make for poorer landing ...
user1306322's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
47k views

What's a quick way to determine which runway to use?

Let's say I call up Wx and have the wind direction and I know the runway headings from my charts and the pattern is empty. I can do the math, but it's tedious and slow and even worse when there are ...
guidoism's user avatar
  • 425
18 votes
5 answers
25k 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
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17 votes
3 answers
4k views

In the U.S., Is it ever legal for an aircraft to occupy the runway turnaround area while another is taking off or landing?

In voretaq7's answer to the question Is there a name for the area for aircraft to back track near the runway threshold?, it is mentioned that runway turnaround areas are considered part of the runway ...
reirab's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
5k views

How is a runway inspection carried out?

During the Concorde's takeoff run, this piece of debris still lying on the runway, was run over, cutting a tyre and rupturing it. A runway inspection, scheduled for 15h, had not been carried out. ...
anshabhi's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do landing strips suffer from potholes or rutting?

In companion to the other question asking about wheel tire tracks. Planes come down and stop with a significant amount of force which I would expect to cause either rutting or potholes. Are runways ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
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
1 answer
3k views

Why is the aiming point distance shorter in the US vs. Europe for long runways?

In essence, if you compare EGLL and KJFK (but it works for other airports too) you would see that US airports generally adhere to the rule of 1000 ft in distance between threshold and aiming point ...
user2530062's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Who assigns an arriving aircraft a runway and runway exit to use?

I recently bought a simulator for tower controllers (Tower! 2011) and have some questions about the responsibilities of the tower controller: When an aircraft wants to land at 'my' airport I get ...
user2606240's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

How much power do planes use when taking off at London City?

I watched a video of an A318 taking off at London City and it took just 20 seconds from setting takeoff thrust to getting airborne. BA A318 takeoff @ LCY (takeoff thrust @ 1:23, airborne @ 1:43) and ...
culebrón's user avatar
  • 1,035
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What's the point of having ILS on runway signs?

Runway signs show the ILS category next to the runway designation. But if you flew and didn't drive to the airport, you already know (hopefully). Either way, you are taking off, so you don't really ...
Stelios Adamantidis's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are aircraft pilots required to fly runway heading for a certain distance?

If an aircraft rotates off the runway relatively quickly (runway mid-point for example), do pilots need to continue on the runway heading for a minimum distance before turning based on departure ...
RayE's user avatar
  • 71
6 votes
1 answer
6k views

How are runway conditions measured?

Which method is used to measure the runway conditions? Is it impossible to land on a contaminated runway?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why do simultaneous-ops parallel runways need to be so far apart?

In the answers to this question about Denver's widely-scattered pinwheel of runways and this question about Schiphol's runway out in the middle of nowhere, it's mentioned that parallel runways are ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 28.3k
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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