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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77
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1answer
10k 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 ...
58
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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 ...
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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)...
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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 ...
40
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4answers
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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 ...
40
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2answers
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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?
37
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9answers
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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 ...
37
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4answers
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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 ...
37
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1answer
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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 ...
36
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2answers
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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 ...
35
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1answer
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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. ...
35
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4answers
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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 ...
34
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6answers
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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 ...
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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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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-...
32
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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'...
32
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5answers
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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 ...
31
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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 ...
30
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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 ...
30
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1answer
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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 ...
29
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3answers
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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 ...
29
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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 ...
29
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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, ...
28
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
28
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
26
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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 ...
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3answers
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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"...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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May an emergency aircraft land on a closed runway?

Let's say that you're on approach to a remote airport to refuel (for arguments sake, Funafuti International Airport), with 1-2 hours of fuel remaining in your aircraft. Contacting ATC to request ...
23
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3answers
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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 ...
23
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Can two aircraft be allowed to stay on the same runway at the same time?

My understanding is that the runway should always be cleared, and occupied by no more than a single aircraft for takeoff and/or landing at any given time. Is there any scenario in which ATC can ...
21
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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 ...
21
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3answers
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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 ...
21
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How are go-arounds safe with close parallel runways?

Some airports operate simultaneous take off and landing on parallel but close runways. By close, I mean like the pairs of runways at LAX. What if a landing aircraft makes a go-around at the same time ...
20
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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?
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How could this weird shaped aircraft Airbus Beluga fly only with two engines and use short runways?

More than that! She could land and take off fully loaded on 2000 meters of runway at Hawarden Airport as seen here in this video. At my local airport the runway is 2500 meters long and an Airbus A300 ...
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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 ...
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Are runways booked by airlines to land their planes?

Suppose Indigo lands at Indira Gandhi international airport and the arrival is schedule at 5:30 a.m. Is the runway to land on fixed by the airline. If not please explain reason behind not to schedule ...
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What does the number of white bars in runway's threshold mean?

At the beginning of each runway there are some white bars. Does number of bars in threshold mean anything?
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Is there a limit of how close a runway can be to the water?

Somtimes planes can either come up short or overrun a runway, ending up in the water. Is there some limit for how close a runway can be to the water? Does it factor into the runway safety area that ...