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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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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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
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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
46 votes
6 answers
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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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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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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
41 votes
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What does the letter G mean in a runway identifier?

Boulder Municipal Airport (KBDU) has runways 8 / 26 and also runways 8G / 26G. What is the significance of the letter G following the runway numbers?
slantalpha's user avatar
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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
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Why might a too-wide runway be a problem?

In the September 2020 issue of EAA's Sport Aviation, Budd Davisson writes Runway width becomes a problem for some taildraggers when it gets to be less than 35-40 feet because of the lack of ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
40 votes
4 answers
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Do military bases still employ wheel watchers?

When I was in the air wing in the '70s, I had the unpleasant opportunity of pulling wheel watch. The unfortunate individual sat in a small shack (maybe 3 x 6 ft.) with a pair of high-powered ...
BillDOe's user avatar
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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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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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37 votes
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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?
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Why are months (e.g. December) used to notate a runway?

I'm writing a report on runway quality and I've stumbled onto a weird qualifier in the data. I understand that runway 17/35 indicates which direction the runway is facing based on magnetic heading. ...
Ryan Estes's user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
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What is the biggest airplane that does not need a paved runway?

Since we don't need a control tower for instrument landings I was wondering what else that is thought to be needed could be skipped. I know some small general aviation is done on grass runways and I ...
hildred's user avatar
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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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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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5 answers
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Should you wait to switch to the ground frequency until after crossing a runway?

I've never had the opportunity to fly into a controlled airport with parallel runways, so I've never actually faced the situation. But, in the interest of being ahead of it, when would it be prudent ...
falstro's user avatar
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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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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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31 votes
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Does runway 32/33R at Madrid actually have a kink in it?

In this satellite image of Madrid airport (MAD/LEMD)... Source:Google maps satellite view Alternate link from maps.google.nl still renders incorrectly for me, but appears fine for others... ...it ...
FreeMan's user avatar
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What are these large yellow circles painted across the runway?

There are not many yellow markings on a runway. This row of six is painted about 400m from the threshold at both ends: Montgomery Airport (Alabama) - Source: Google Maps What does it mean for a ...
mins's user avatar
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Why would a pilot request that ATC dim the runway lights?

In this clip, the pilot requests dimmed runway lights. Tower, you able to reduce the runway lights, please? [Tower dims runway lights] Thank you much This seems like ...
cocomac's user avatar
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What are the slash markings on Gatwick's 08R/26L?

Google Earth @ 51°08'52.24" N 0°11'35.71" W The markings are at 100 m intervals, to one side only of the centerline. They're also lighted as seen below. They are missing from the ICAO aerodrome ...
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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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3 answers
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Are grass strips more dangerous than tarmac?

There are a couple of flight schools near me. One is at a large airport, they use Piper Tomahawks primarily to teach. Naturally, they use well maintained, tarmac runways to takeoff and land. This ...
Cloud's user avatar
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28 votes
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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
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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
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2 answers
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Why is one of Madera Municipal's runways labelled with only "R" on both sides?

I was looking on Google Maps satellite view and noticed Madera Municipal Airport in Madera, CA (ICAO KMAE) has an east-west runway labelled with nothing but the letter "R" on both sides. There is no ...
Ashley Strout's user avatar
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1 answer
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What is this white rectangle painted on runway 23 at KCRW?

(Related to this question.) Runway 23 at Charleston, WV (KCRW) appears to have a (roughly) 500' x 50' white rectangle painted on the touchdown zone (I've added red arrows pointing at each end of the ...
Pondlife's user avatar
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27 votes
10 answers
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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
1 answer
6k views

Why are taxiway and runway centerline lights off center?

The centerline lights for runways and taxiways are to the side of the centerline itself by a few inches. This, of course, is not a problem, but why are the lights positioned that way? (Image: ...
Charles Nicholson'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
11 answers
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Is it possible to take off on an elevated short field by "falling"?

I understand this may be a dumb question to ask, but - in the opening sequence of Golden Eye - James Bond chases after a plane that has rolled off the side of a cliff in his motorcycle, and then ...
Burhan Khalid's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why is it runway "1" instead of "01" in America?

In the case of a runway with a magnetic heading of 10° in America the runway number ("1") isn't hugely distinguishable from the runway centreline IMHO, (for example see Washington Airport and San ...
Notts90's user avatar
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25 votes
3 answers
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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
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
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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24 votes
8 answers
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Are there any real life instances of aircraft aborting a takeoff or landing to avoid a vehicle?

I came across a fake video of an A380 closely avoiding a fuel truck. More details at Snopes including a link to the YouTube video. While this video is not real, I'm interested in finding out if it's ...
user871199's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
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When and why was runway 07/25 at Kai Tak removed?

Wikipedia states that Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong originally had two runways, both built under Japanese occupation during World War II: ... In 1942, the Japanese army expanded Kai Tak, using many ...
Vikki'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 ...
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24 votes
2 answers
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Why have converging runways?

This is Ramstein air base in Germany, Why would you want to have runways converging (or diverging) like that, doesn't seem to do you much good in terms of parallel usage (either the approach, or the ...
falstro'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
23 votes
2 answers
41k views

Which civilian airport has the most runways (current and planned)?

I just read Is the airport capacity related to number of runways? . While there are a host of factors, the idea of more runways is obviously so that more flights come in and out. Which is the biggest ...
shirish's user avatar
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23 votes
1 answer
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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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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
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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22 votes
2 answers
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Should I wait for Tower to provide runway exit instructions?

This is somewhat already answered here (Is it a flight violation to mishear ATC instructions for exiting the runway?), but this question is more geared toward taking action before hearing from Tower. ...
Ryan Griffith'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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22 votes
3 answers
5k views

What are these symbols on the runway?

As just a passenger, not a pilot, this may be a very basic question, but when I am on an airplane leaving the terminal, it goes over a symbol on the tarmac that looks like this: Also I see ...
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