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Heathrow Expansion  
User currently offlineuta999 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3832 times:

Staggered parallel dual runway operation - 27L/09R and 27R/09L

I would like to propose a major runway capacity improvement for Heathrow Airport. This would involve building two new parallel 12000' runways, within the existing Northern and Southern runways, separated by just 30m. The idea is that lengthy planning and public consultation would not be required, as the flight path arrangements would not change significantly from those of today. This avoids another No Third Runway campaign by the environmentalists.

The two new parallel runways would reduce the huge pressure on the existing runways at Heathrow, by allowing staggered parallel operations and steeper approaches for smaller aircraft. Landing aircraft would be directed to the closest runway to their stand. Lengthy holding around London would no longer be required, even in bad weather. Typical operational capacity would fall from 98%, to just over 60% when completed.

In preparation, all groundworks would be done at night when the airport is closed, or by cut and cover tunnelling alongside the active runways. The new runways would be constructed off-site, near the M25. They would be built in prefabricated and completed sections (75m x 75m), then moved on rails into position on tracks, buried alongside the existing runways. No airfield construction work would be carried out above ground level, so air operations can continue during runway section movements. In effect, the new runways will appear longer each day until completed. Each finished runway could open to air traffic within a matter of months. Completion of both new runways would be done by April 2015. The construction cost would be in the region of £500m.

During peak periods, aircraft would land on the new inner runways, so vacating the active runway would not conflict with departures using one or both of the existing outer runways. All Terminal 4 operations would use the Southern outer runway for the same reason. All departing aircraft would use the nearest outer runway from their stand. Most active runway crossing would be done via the undershoot areas to the far east or west of the airfield. Aircraft having to cross an active runway would be virtually elimated.

All operations would be staggered, so avoiding wingtip incidents on the extremely close parallel runways. Current long taxi distances and queues to and from the runway / stands would be greatly reduced.

The two new inner runways would be marked and configured for both full length 12000' operation and 7500' operation, with the threshold displaced at both ends for the shorter runway. The new inner runways would offer dual 3 degree and 6 degree glideslope for both easterly and westerly approaches.

As stacking over London would reduce the present 6000' restriction on departure would no longer be needed. This enables aircraft to climb on runway heading for longer, reducing the conflict of aircraft turning across the path of the northern or southern runways respectively.

Big version: Width: 1666 Height: 880 File size: 2308kb

[Edited 2012-03-28 07:07:35]

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineuta999 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3744 times:

Heathrow runways layout - Spring 2012

Heathrow runways layout - Spring 2015

User currently online817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2827 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3703 times:

Im not sure if that would work, I think those outer runways are a bit too close for comfort, just my opinion

Shoot True, Never Miss...
User currently offlineCaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3659 times:

Not only are the runways too close together, but I imagine there would be issues regarding trailing wing tip vortices creating turbulance across onto the neighbouring runway, and the localiser signals would most likely overlap or create interferance as well. Much safer to build a third runway well and trully clear of 9R,9L,27R,27L.

User currently offlinePapaChuck From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3562 times:

I admire your ambition and imagination in trying to solve Heathrow's runway capacity issue. Lord knows something needs to be done. However, I do see a few problems with your proposal.

Take a look at the threshold of runway 27L on Google Earth. The hold short line is 110m from the center line of the runway, and the ILS hold short line is 140m from the runway center line. In other places on the airfield, the hold short lines themselves are 140m from the center line. This means that an entire aircraft needs to be at least 110m from the center line to be physically clear of the runway, and 140m in some areas. Build another runway in this protection area, and you way as well just consider it to be the same runway.

The width of both runways is 50m. An A380, with an 80m wingspan, will have 15m spilling over each edge of the runway, assuming that it's on the center line. Put an 80m wide A380 on each of two 50m wide runways, with practically no distance between them, and you see the problem. It's not a wake turbulence issue, but a metal on metal issue. If you had widebodies landing and departing at the same time, aircraft would be adding/removing/swapping winglets all the time.

Assuming you were to build a parallel runway 75m north of runway 27L, the parallel taxiway would have to relocated 75m further north to compensate. Seeing that there are two parallel taxiways, I suppose you could remove one and make do with the other, but that would just serve to bog down ground movements.

If there were to be two parallel runways at Heathrow, based on the current safety zone distances, you would need at least 220m between the center lines. The distance would be even greater if you factor in ILS protection areas, or if you wanted to include a parallel taxiway between the two runways. Needless to say, there is just no room to do this.

The idea of having displaced thresholds with 6 degree glide slopes and 7500' of runway to stop is not going to go over very well. Big jets may not be physically capable of flying a stable approach that steep, let alone trying to convince the airlines to buy off on the idea. If Heathrow were overrun with Twin Otters, the idea might fly, but not in the world of regular airline operations.

My apologies for attempting to shoot down your idea. It's going to take innovative thinking, no to mention a lot of political wrangling, to solve Heathrow's issues. Additional parallel runways are indeed the answer, but it just can't be done within the existing airport boundaries.


In-trail spacing is a team effort.
User currently offlineuta999 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3403 times:

Some clarification.

I was not suggesting the new runways would be used at the same time by two A380s. How the runways are used is for people more qualified than us. Obviously only smaller types, with trained pilots could use the steeper approach. Perhaps just BA to begin with. I actually believe it would be cheaper, quieter and smoother than a traditional 3 degree slope. Let gravity do the work. It also means more planes can approach Heathrow higher and later, avoiding central London. This reduces the need for holding for long periods of each day.

It might be that just two close parallel departure runways is enough, for now.

Roughly 65% of movements at Heathrow are of the Airbus A318/19/20/21 and 737 variety (or smaller), which could use the two runways above quite easily. They could have as little as one minute separation between departures. Obviously staggered and on alternate runways and headings once airborne. I agree, the existing outer taxiway could not be used at the same time. That’s just down to operations on the ground.

Wingtip vortex is not an issue either, because the runways are so close, it would dissipate quickly with the prevailing wind away from the near parallel runway.

If you remove all the queues for departures by using two runways rather than one, then Heathrow becomes a far easier place for arrivals once on the ground too. No more waiting for stands to become available, or taxiways clogged with outbounds polluting the local air. Less crossing active runways at peak times too.

If two new close parallel runways were built, then arrivals could use the existing runway for larger, A330/777/747/A340/A380 types, while the smaller Buses arrive on the parallel, obviously staggered, with some even using a steeper approach. London City does it.

If it improves departure runway utilisation by 40% and arrivals by 25% it is well worth doing.

The reduction in emmisions with far less holding, taxiing, queuing for departure and waiting for stands would be the most environmentally friendly thing Heathrow has done in years.

No it’s not a long term resolution for Heathrow, but neither is a new 6000’ runway, one mile to the north. Now that is a very bad idea.

The UK and aviation generally needs to stop apologising to the Greens and the nimby’s of West London and just get on with it. Without Heathrow and airports like it, millions would suffer far more serious financial consequences.

Noise and pollution are a fact of modern life. Look at the M25. Get over it.

[Edited 2012-03-30 14:18:06]

User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1529 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3292 times:

You gain absolutely nothing from placing the runways that close and, besides, you need to think bigger. Much, much bigger.

I give you, LHR 2020.

Red bits are new runways and taxiways, shouldn't take more than 5-7 years to do. The yellow square is LHR Two - a new suite of terminals.

Forget NIMBY's, they'll be nuked, stoned or drowned.

From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently onlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2197 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3267 times:

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 6):
Forget NIMBY's, they'll be nuked, stoned or drowned.

I love your optimism  

I know of at least two a.netters who live in the small village at the western end of that northernmost runway who I'm sure wouldn't mind having approach lights in their driveways  

Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlinebabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3265 times:

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 6):
Forget NIMBY's, they'll be nuked, stoned or drowned.

I wouldn't worry about new runways, the UK aviation sector will be taxed into extinction.

I'd start changing LHR into a big railway station / road transportation hub right now.  

User currently offlineuta999 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2903 times:

That was my idea!

Emirates have asked authorities in the UK for permission to trial night A380 landings and departures from Heathrow.

They appear to want to use a much steeper glideslope and land the A380 and possibly the 777 too, using a displaced threshold, a few thousand feet down the runway.

As I said in my earlier posts, it would be quieter, more economical and reduce noise over West London as the A380 would join the ILS later and higher, over Richmond Park.

Who said it couldn't be done. If the A380 can do 6 degree slope, then other types could follow. Now let's widen 27L an 27R to a dual carriageway type runway. It would take out the enormous slack in current active runway utilisation.

User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2184 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2894 times:

A 6 degree slope! That is crazy. Double the current standard slope would be very dangerous and most aircraft I imagine would need the A318 style modifications.

User currently offlineuta999 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2832 times:

Emirates have tested the 5.5 degree slope in the simulator already and it requires no special training or aircraft modifications.

Article in todays FT:


User currently offlinePapaChuck From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2815 times:

The traditional three degree glide slope is used for good reason. From idle, turbofans are notorious for their slow spool up time to full thrust. The reason for a stable approach at a shallow glide angle is so that the aircraft can keep the engines spooled up in case of a go around. There have been several accidents over the years resulting from aircraft coming in too high, engines idle, and being unable to arrest the high rate of descent (United 227 comes to mind).

A theoretical exercise in a simulator doesn't directly translate to safe operations in the real world. With your proposal, large jets would be approaching the runway at twice their normal rate of descent (around 1,500 fpm), engines pretty much at idle, with only 7,500' of runway to stop. That leaves very little room for error, and I doubt any airline would willingly buy off on the idea.

Also, as mentioned before, the close parallel runway concept just will not work. When dealing with the big jets, you need hundreds of feet of clear space on either side of the runway. There are a few exceptions to the rule, SFO coming to mind, but 75m between center lines is nowhere near enough to use both runways at the same time. Staggering arrivals and departures won't help either. If an aircraft is occupying one runway, the other runway would have to be considered occupied as well.


In-trail spacing is a team effort.
User currently offlinemandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 7020 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2763 times:

Quoting uta999 (Reply 5):
I was not suggesting the new runways would be used at the same time by two A380s.

Still too close.

Quoting uta999 (Reply 5):
They could have as little as one minute separation between departures.

And when the wind drops... back to 2 minutes for standard wake turbulence separation!   

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 6):
I give you, LHR 2020.

I much prefer this!

Quoting uta999 (Reply 11):
Emirates have tested the 5.5 degree slope in the simulator already and it requires no special training or aircraft modifications.

Yes, it does so by increasing drag... the E170/190 and A318 can do this at LCY by FBW tweaking, allowing for some spoiler deployment as the aircraft goes down the 5.5 glideslope. Once you flare, the spoiler goes in, and deploy again once wheels are on the ground.
This however require higher minima than the usual CAT I ILS approach (200' AGL equiv), adding another 75%-150% (just look at the LCY charts for rwy 10... rwy 28 has a obstacle limitation on g/a affecting the minima).

Anyways, if you're desperate for more LHR capacity, build a runway from along the M25 from Colnbrook-by-pass to the Staines-by-pass, that'll give you a nice 4000m runway between the M25 and the King George VI reservoir... No/few houses to mow down, but Staines and Egham will declare war on LHR!    And the parallel runway ops of 09/27LRs won't be affected by the new runway 20 departures... Hey, doesn't this look like FRA ? And then you can fit that 5.5deg glideslope for the few days a year you'd need 02 arrivals for... still allowing for 09L arrivals (if you give a nice quick turn missed approach procedure for 02), and 09R would be dedicated for departures in that configuration.

Quoting PapaChuck (Reply 12):
There are a few exceptions to the rule, SFO coming to mind, but 75m between center lines is nowhere near enough to use both runways at the same time.

Yeah, and that's in VMC only right for SFO doing the 2 lane drag race approach?

When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
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