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105 votes
Accepted

Why are Gatwick's runways too close together?

Historically, Gatwick had only one runway (08R/26L) with a taxiway to the north, but this obviously would cause problems if that runway was out of use for any reason - emergency, scheduled maintenance,...
CatchAsCatchCan's user avatar
90 votes
Accepted

Why don't short runways use ramps for takeoff?

V1. There are other valid reasons, as have been listed - cost, bidirectional runway use, etc. These would still not completely disqualify ramps, just limit them to very special circumstances. But the ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
82 votes
Accepted

Why do control towers have tilted glass panels?

I'm pretty sure that has to do with reflections especially at night. If you have ever stood between two mirriors you will understand the infinity mirror. Light bounces back and forwards between the ...
Trevor_G's user avatar
  • 4,876
74 votes
Accepted

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

Because those symbols are easily confused with the number 0, the number 1 and the symbol for a closed runway/taxiway (✕) respectively. (1) Numbers by themselves, and the letters "I" ...
60levelchange's user avatar
71 votes

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

The typical World War II "A" runway shape solves this issue, without covering a huge amount of area with concrete, etc. Even so, that configuration has fallen out of use in modern airports. ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 9,308
68 votes

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

There are a few possible reasons Bournemouth (EGHH) can support a Boeing 787 but Kherson (UKOH) can't. Runway length is definitely not the issue. The runway at EGHH is 2271 metres long, the one at ...
60levelchange's user avatar
66 votes
Accepted

Why do airliners park with the nose facing the terminal?

To park a passenger plane with its tail towards the terminal has several disadvantages: it would require a pushback tractor (plus personnel) to do that. Thrust reversers in general are not meant for ...
Jpe61's user avatar
  • 28.8k
63 votes

Why do airports in the UK have so few runways?

There are perhaps 101 non aviation-related reasons why the UK does not have larger airports, such as space consideration (we're only a small island!), politics (NIMBY!), civil engineering (Airports ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
54 votes
Accepted

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

There are numerous joint use (commercial/military) airports with separate terminals/ramp areas. There aren't many where there are two connected fields. The only one I'm aware of is Naval Air Station ...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 19.9k
50 votes

Why don't short runways use ramps for takeoff?

Because then you can only land in one direction. What do you do if the wind blows exactly along the runway so that departing and landing planes have only tailwind then? You would waste a precious ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 32.6k
48 votes
Accepted

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

It allows them to do a run-up test of the engines without blowing debris at other parked aircraft, people, or things on the ground. [Credit to Ralph J] The walls have a structure that allows the ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
43 votes

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

I think Chitose and New Chitose on Japan's Hokkaido island fit the criteria. One is an air base (Chitose) with ICAO code RJCJ, while the other is the island's ...
ProgrammingLlama's user avatar
42 votes

Why do airports remove/realign runways?

In some cases the prevailing winds change and certain runways fall out of use. Since airports tend to be land limited they may wish to use the land for hangars or other facilities so the runways are ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
35 votes

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

An immobile jet blast deflector could not be built far enough away from the runway end to be safely clear of the landing path. Large airplanes like 747s must touch down pretty close to the near end of ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
35 votes

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

The airports in Berlin share runways. Strictly speaking, one of them (BER) isn't really operational... But it will be. Soon. For sure... Hey, look over there: a monkey with two heads!! google maps
steloe's user avatar
  • 753
35 votes

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

There is at least one: In Gisborne, New Zealand, there is a freight rail line which crosses the south end of runway 14/32 at Gisborne Airport (GIS). It appears to still be an active line for freight (...
Dan1701's user avatar
  • 1,447
35 votes

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

In the scenario where a large passenger jet is in a situation where its only landing option is closed with insufficient fuel to get to another landing strip then the options are limited to attempting ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
33 votes

Why do airports in the UK have so few runways?

It's ALL about land use. Look at Mirabel, Denver's new airport, or Dulles (at the time it was built). They basically razed some farmland. America had the opportunity to do a whole lot of that. ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
32 votes

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

TL;DR/Abstract - Political, financial, and social expedience are often the dominant forces in the development of infrastructure projects - Sea-Tac is no exception. The history of Sea-Tac is messy, as ...
William Walker III's user avatar
31 votes

Why do airports remove/realign runways?

Three runways (or pairs) 60 degrees apart was very common. Where land was limited, two runways (or two pairs) at 90 degrees was almost as good. These generic designs could be built very quickly almost ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
31 votes
Accepted

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

According to the Rules for Heliports in Sao Paulo, the P means that it is private heliport. H for public Heliports, M is for military. Hospitals use the letter H on a red cross, also when they are ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
30 votes

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

We have runways for the same reasons that we have roads: All traffic needs to move in the same direction, in visually easily identifiable lanes. Channeling the traffic improves safety and efficiency. ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k
29 votes

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

Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK, ICAO: KOAK, FAA LID: OAK) is an international airport in Oakland, California, United States. Oakland International Airport covers 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) and ...
gwally's user avatar
  • 2,394
29 votes

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

Land costs money and paving it costs money. For a typical commercial airport like Grand Rapids Ford Int'l, your proposed runway would be about 3 square miles, which could easily cost about \$40,000,...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 5,781
25 votes
Accepted

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

There are no physical restraints to entering the runway when the road is open. You can see from this video of the crossing that Gibraltar police and the base for the Royal Air Force are present. The ...
Ambo100's user avatar
  • 493

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