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DCA Modified For Widebodies?  
User currently offlineFrugalqxnwa From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 565 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 6 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2172 times:

Politics aside, would it be financially and physically feasable to modify DCA for widebody traffic, extend the runway and put in some gates large enough?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMoneyShot From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2145 times:

I do know that the NIMBYs would have a day with it, although I don't know if it is possible on the logistics side of it. I remember a few years ago a UAL DC-10 had to make an unscheduled landing there, I can not remember why though. I just remember it on the news and I think it must have been very light as well when it left. I think it headed to BWI to re-fuel etc etc.

User currently offlineEAL727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 80 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2129 times:

In the mid 1980's Eastern operated some A-300 "proving flights" into DCA hoping to run the widebodies on select Shuttle flights. Truth be known, I can not recall what became of the experiment, but the Airbus was never utilized on a scheduled basis at DCA thereafter.


Got time to spare? Go by air!!
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2113 times:

It would take a lot of money, engineering expertise, political maneuvering, and FAA approval.

When DCA finally reopened after 9/11, the FAA wouldn't allow any aircraft over a certain size to fly into DCA. I don't know what the exact number was, but I do know that 757s were not allowed to fly to DCA at that time (I think they are now, but I'm not sure). The FAA believes (rightly or wrongly) that the larger the plane, the more danger there is to the surrounding area (Pentagon, Capitol, White House, etc). Therefore, that's one hurdle that would have to be overcome.

Secondly, although it is technically possible for widebodies to land at DCA, they would be very restrictive conditions placed on it. It can be done, but probably not without weight (e.g., revenue!) restrictions and other considerations. Therefore, the runway would have to be extended -- no easy feat, since it's pretty much surrounded by water. This woud require some major engineering feat to extend the runway into the water, and I doubt the taxpayers in the area are willing to pay for it, especially since most of them are already against DCA expansion anyway.

In short, it won't happen. DCA is already well-served as it is, and I doubt many airlines would take the effort of trying to get widebodies there. The need is minimal, and the cost too great.



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineJerion From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 253 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2019 times:

When DCA finally reopened after 9/11, the FAA wouldn't allow any aircraft over a certain size to fly into DCA. I don't know what the exact number was, but I do know that 757s were not allowed to fly to DCA at that time (I think they are now, but I'm not sure).

The 757's were allowed to return to DCA in April 2002.

 Smile
Jerion



L10/D9S/D10/M80/M88/732/733/734/735/73G/738/72S/757/762/763/320/319/318/ERJ
User currently offlineMoose1226 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 250 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1967 times:

If a 757 can serve DCA, how much more of a runway would be required (water, politics aside) to allow a 762/763 to serve the airport. It can't be all that much different, can it?

User currently offlineHlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1947 times:

I don't think that the length of the runway is the issue at DCA.

Remember, 727s used to fly into DCA all of the time and those things use a lot of runway on take off. If they were using 767s for short haul shuttle flights, say for example Delta Shuttle wanted to pack a 767-300 between DCA and LGA, I don't think it would use that much runway because not much fuel would be needed.


User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1921 times:

Its mostly gate/runway/taxiway spacing.

The plane could both land and take off, but they'd be hard pressed to find somewhere to put it.

N


User currently offlineScootertrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 569 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1896 times:

In addition to the above comments, many large jets would be wieght restricted for northbound departures (early turn, required climb gradient). Even some RJ's are restricted going north now.

Scooter


User currently offlineContrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1834 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1830 times:

Widebodies are not coming to DCA anytime soon. Gigneil is right about gate, runway, and taxiway restrictions. But the mere suggestion of bringing widebodies in would cause the "anti-airport" locals to go completely nuts. This was discussed in detail a while back (summer 2003, I believe).

Scootertrash, could you explain your statement Even some RJ's are restricted going north now. What RJs are restricted, and why? Why would RJs be restricted and not the bigger planes? I wasn't aware of any restrictions, other than the obvious restriction to avoid the restricted airspace in DC.






Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineBroke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1801 times:

DCA has two primary approaches; the Mount Vernon Approach from the south which a relatively straight forward approach to Runway 36.
The other approach, from the north, is the River Approach. This approach follows the Potomac River in a winding pattern. The airplane generally does not line up with Runway 18 until about 1/2 mile from the threshold.
The FAA would not permit Eastern to fly into DCA with the A-300 because of this late alignment with Runway 18. It was felt it could be very difficult during marginal weather conditions to ensure a safe approach and landing, especially if the airplane encountered technical problems during the final phases of this approach due to the slower flight control response time of the larger airplane.


User currently offlineSonicKidatBWI From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1780 times:

I've seen several 757s at Washington-National in the past month or two . . . Northwest 757s and another operator . . . America West I believe.

User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1754 times:

yes, the restrictions on wide bodies at DCA has mostly to do with gate/tarmac/taxiway space than runway length. LGAs runways are 11 feet longer, and they have wide body operations as has been stated. i believe there are also those safety/noise issues at play as well.

(incidentally, DCA's main runway is no longer 18-36, but now is 19-1).

now that 757s are allowed back at dc, many carriers who have them in their fleet operate them into the airport.

the issue of takeoff restrictions headed north is accurate. due to obstructions along the northwest departure path, there are heightened restrictions (performance, not security), for aircraft headed in that direction as opposed to those headed south. there was a better explanation in a thread a while back, but basically, weight, temperature, minimum takeoff distance, etc. can all combine to prevent an aircraft from departing to the NW. it's not as much about the size of the aircraft as much as its performance capabilities, which is why an RJ can be restricted instead of a 757.




User currently offlineScootertrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 569 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1693 times:

Contrials:

I am not an ERJ driver, but this I do know. Under some (most?) conditions they are climb weight limited departing runway 1 at DCA. It most likely has something to do with their single engine procedures and the early turn required.

I have been kicked off a few Eagle jumpseats for weight problems because of the above fact.

Scooter



User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1682 times:

scooter - you're right, all aircraft departing DCA rwy 1 have certain restrictions for a single engine climbout, clearing obstructions along the departure path. i've been on a 733 that had to take off southbound in north operations for this reason as well.

User currently offlineContrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1834 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1639 times:

Scootertrash and Potomac, I had never considered the single engine climbout issue. Thanks for this information.


Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5604 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (10 years 6 months 19 hours ago) and read 1513 times:

I worked in Crystal City (a bunch of office buildings across the GW Parkway from DCA) in the mid to late 70's and recall seeing proving flights for L1011 and DC10 aircraft. While the takeoffs and landings were easy enough, the decision was made at the time that the old airport facilities were too small for the crowds the widebodies would generate. I was never sure how factual that was since the rest of the city is infernally crowded and seems to function.

I doubt they'll ever be allowed using foreseeable technology.



I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineFrugalqxnwa From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 565 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1445 times:

Thanks all!

The reason I suggested extending the runway is to relieve some of the restrictions that would hinder widebodies, and the older facilities at DCA would never be able to handle widebodies without prohibitively extensive rennovation. The original terminal opened in 1940, and widebodies were 30 years away then.


User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7558 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1433 times:

If I'm not mistaken, 2 maybe 3 of the gates at the new B/C terminal that opened back in '96 are equipped and spaced to handle a 767 aircraft.

This may have been done in anticipation of future runway improvements and/or expansion.






"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineTomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 529 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1380 times:

I thought DL (or maybe it was AA) used a 762 at one time going to some east coast hub, but it was well before 9-11, and my memory is a bit foggy now, but I did notice it in the airport schedule.


TF



Paper makes an airplane fly
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1367 times:

I've actually flown on a Delta 762 into DCA many moons ago (97? 98?). The aircraft was being flown as an extra section up to National and then ferrying across to BWI to pick up a charter.

This was back in the days where most of the taxiways weren't wide enough to accomodate a widebody and none of the gates were. We wound up on a strange corner of the ramp where we disembarked using stairs and were bussed to the terminal.


User currently offlineBryanG From United States of America, joined May 1999, 436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1304 times:

It's difficult to appreciate exactly how totally cramped DCA is unless you've spent some time there. There's literally NO room anywhere on the property to expand. Three sides are surrounded by water, and the fourth is bounded by the GW Parkway, railroad tracks, and skyscraper office buildings. No room for widebodies.

ALSO:

Looking for a room with a view???

There are some apartment buildings Right Across the Street (!) from the threshold of RWY 19. They're about a third of a mile to the side of the runway, and about 10 stories high. If you're on the top floors, you can literally stand on your balcony and look DOWN on the aircraft as they land or take off.

My company has an office in Crystal City, and the views of the airport from the top floors are breathtaking. Just imagine getting one of those apartments and living with a view like that!


User currently offlineLat41 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 479 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1225 times:

Aside from the runway length issue. runway loading, I believe is one of the considerations at DCA, LGA and some other airports. Certain aircraft landing gear trucks and even their spacing impose constraints on different types of pavements and substructures. Also the ability of wide body aircraft to turn corners on and off taxiways at tight airports are also an issue.

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