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Smoke Across Runway From Local Fire - How To Deal?  
User currently offlineJulianUK From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 105 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 4001 times:

If you have a substancial fire close to an airport, but unlikely actually to take the airport out, but the smoke is drifting across the runway how do air traffic control handling giving visibilities and what is the pilot to do? Are company op rules that it is all down to visbility no matter what the cause, or is smoke a reason to divert regardless of how far you can see in it? I only ask because of the recent Istanbul airport fire that sent smoke across the runway but everyone continued to land - can you really judge how quickly smoke might increase/descrease?

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31875 posts, RR: 54
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3958 times:

Out here.AAI [Airport Authorities] would survey & report to ATC on the Status of the Fire.
Fire Tenders from the City & Airside would be Activated.
If needed the Airport would be shutdown momentarily.

Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12364 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3870 times:

Here at DFW, we tell the ATCT that runway is closed, if any portion is obscured by smoke. I had to do that a few years ago when we had a grass fire just east of Rwy 13L/31R.

It would only be a big deal at those airports with just 1 or 2 runways. Here at DFW, it is no big deal.

User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1601 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3812 times:

Quoting JulianUK (Thread starter):
but the smoke is drifting across the runway how do air traffic control handling giving visibilities and what is the pilot to do

There is no difference what is obscuring the visibility.Might be clouds,rain,dust,sand,snow,smoke, etc.tower issues the visibility and the pilot looks if its within his'/aircraft's/companies' limitations. And decides weather to land or not.He uses his common sense added with his technical knowledge.You can always abort the approach or goaround if you don't feel good about the approach.

A rather quick changing weather phenomena is drifting fog and a sand storm.I saw both happening so quickly that I saw the apron cristal clear as we overfly the airport during the radar vectors and ended up an autoland in the first and diversion with a goaround on the second.

Istanbul has two operational runways at the moment.The rwy 06 which was closer to the burning cargo building was closed to operations immediately,not only because of the visibility but there were also fire bomber airplanes flying in the apprach area of that runway .The airplanes you saw landing were using the 36L which is very far and less effected from the actual fire.

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