iflyatldl
Posts: 1796
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2003 1:41 am

Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:32 pm

Somebody refresh my memory please. What is the restriction that prohibits widebody operations at DCA, besides the obvious govt.? Doesn't it have something to do with engine failure? Sorry if this thread's a repeat.
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:34 pm

Runway length.
Thats basically it, no widebody modereatly heavy getting out of there.
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MSYtristar
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:05 pm

Largest aircraft that is allowed to fly into DCA is the B757. A 767 could theoretically fly from there for short hops (to ATL for example), but it's not allowed to, and would probably be weight restricted to a certain extent.


Stephen in New Orleans
 
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:10 pm

The runways at DCA are 6869 feet and 5204 feet respectively. Not a lot of room for error. Even if stage 4 767s were allowed, they'd be risky to land.

 
kellmark
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:09 pm

It has nothing to do with aircraft performance. It is a political restriction. Remember widebodies operate regularly out of LGA which is only slightly longer at 7,000 feet. They want all of the widebodies to go to IAD and BWI. One time as I recall, a United DC-10 did land at DCA but it was an abnormal operation, to say the least.
 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:26 pm

Kellmark is correct. The restriction is primarily political; wealthy Alexandria and Georgetown NIMBY's don't want "noisier" bigger planes (which as we know are often quieter) at DCA. Also, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is always trying to push traffic to IAD and wants all widebodies there.

The UA DC-10 that landed at DCA in 1998 or 1999 was a diversion. It was flying ORD-BWI and ran low on fuel while holding for a thunderstorm to pass at BWI. So it was diverted to DCA and the pax bused to BWI. The Washington Post had a picture of the DC-10 parked by the old DCA terminal.

Also, Eastern landed at least one A300 at DCA around 1980 as an experiment; I've seen a picture but can't remember where.

Jim
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FlyPIJets
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 3:32 am

RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:17 pm

The reason you don't see widebodies at DCA I think is political but may not be as NIMBY as you might think.

When widebodies first started to fly in the 70's, there was panic among several airport authorities, namely DCA and LGA, over terminal capacity. They assumed a worse case, every aircraft is going to hold 400 pax, what are we going to do?

I think solving that delimina for DCA is why widebodies are routed to IAD, and DCA was not upgraded to handle large A/C.

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srbmod
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:39 am

Eastern lobbied very hard to get A300 ops into DCA as they had put the type into service on their Eastern Shuttle routes.
 
gigneil
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:47 am

Most of it was political - they wanted to grow IAD when it opened.

NIMBY's want no planes, they could care less which type they are.  Laugh out loud

N
 
contrails
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:00 am

I agree that it's mostly political, although there is a width problem to consider. According to the airport authority the length of the plane doesn't matter as much as the wing span. But the neighbors would rush to Congressman Moran's office by the bus load at the first suggestion of wide-body service at DCA.

This has been covered in other threads in the past, but a UA DC-10 did land at DCA a few years back. They parked it on the south end by the FBO, that was the only place with enough room.
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OPNLguy
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:05 am

>>>The UA DC-10 that landed at DCA in 1998 or 1999 was a diversion. It was flying ORD-BWI and ran low on fuel while holding for a thunderstorm to pass at BWI. So it was diverted to DCA and the pax bused to BWI.

This was a good one...actually in the 1990s IIRC. The flight was ORD-BWI and the dispatcher had MDT (Harrisburg PA) designated as the alternate for BWI. There's a thunderstorm overhead BWI when they get there, and after holding, the captain (on his own) heads for IAD. When he gets to IAD, surprise! there's a thunderstorm there as well. Off he then goes (again, on his own) to DCA. MDT was clear and a zillion the entire time...

As Strother Martin (the warden in "Cool Hand Luke") once said, "what we have here is a failure to communicate..."
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
ssides
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:29 am

Some of it also has to do with 9/11, although I don't understand why. For a period of time after 9/11, right after DCA was reopened, airlines couldn't even fly 757s to DCA. That restriction has since been lifted.

However, the ramp at DCA is also very small, and the gate areas are quite compact compared to other airports. Getting a 757 in there is difficult enough, a 767 would probably cause even more problems. Yes, the politics plays into it, but I think the logistics are also a big factor.
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Coronado990
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RE: Why No Widebodies At DCA?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 3:15 am

Doesn't the thickness of a runway dictate how much load it can bare? Several DC-10s over time can ware down a runway not designed to handle that amount of abuse. I am not sure this may be the case at DCA, but it has to be considered.

Didn't a Western 737 land, by accident, at Buffalo, Wyoming once (instead of Sheridan) and the wheels sank into the asphalt at the small GA airport? I think it was in the mid-80s.
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