UAPilot7
Topic Author
Posts: 330
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 4:28 am

Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 7:34 am

Why isn't Washington RR National airport an internationlal airport. I asked why Albany was an international airport a long time ago, and I was told because airlines fly through Albany to Canada, it is considered international flights, making the airport international. Well, Air Canada has DCA-Canada flights! Why is DCA not international too? And the stupidest thing, at 9pm, DCA turns off the monitors (that report landings, delays, etc.), even though the airport closes at 11pm!
 
Guest

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 7:41 am

DCA has no U.S. Customs. Plus they are in the heart of D.C. They don't want Int'l flights coming in with close approach access to the White House. That's why you have Dulles and BWI.
 
HyperMike
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RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 7:46 am

Is it true that heavies can't land at DCA?

I've never seen a Delta 767 at DCA, and there are very few cities where you can't see a DL767 sometime throughout the day.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 7:56 am

DCA's longest runway is only about 7,000 feet, which isn't long enough to obtain high enough takeoff weights needed for longer-haul flights. Not only that, widebody aircraft are prohibited there, and narrow-bodied aircraft can only go so far. Let's also not forget about the perimeter rule, which limits flights to points no further than (I recall) 1,250nm. DCA does have some flights to Canada (Toronto and Montreal) I think, and US Customs isn't needed at DCA for the inbound flights because passengers for these flights "pre-clear" US Customs before boarding the aircraft in Canada.

So, even though DCA has a couple of international flights, there are so many restrictions involved with operating at the airport that it will never be a major international airport like JFK, SFO, MIA, or LAX.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
D L X
Posts: 11663
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

International, Widebodies

Sat Jan 22, 2000 9:59 am

The reasons why DCA is not an international airport seem to be spelled out nicely in earlier replies. It is noteworthy that there is nothing special about having the word "international" in your title. It just means an international flight (as in outside US and Canada) can land there. You'll see a whole bunch of little tiny airports along the Mexican border that are called international airports since every now and then a Cessna from south of the border will land there. Other much smaller cities like Huntsville Alabama claim international airports as well.


About the widebodies. Are you sure about that OPNLguy? I've been wondering for a while if that's really the case since LGA has similar runway restrictions and a perimeter, however, 767s and L1011s even operate there. One of the design requirements imposed by AA for the DC10 was that it had to fly from LGA. I figured they didn't go to DCA because it wasn't a very good use for them with the perimeter, and so they were used elsewhere. I guess widebody wakes would probably also wreck havoc with the famous Shoot-the-Potomac approach.

Last summer during one of our crazy thunderstorms, a DC10 from Chicago to BWI arrived and found the airport closed, and unable to land. Being a UA jet, Dulles was of course the best option for diversion. When it got there, a new cell popped up, and it couldn't land there either. By now, the fuel reserves are approaching their legal safe limit, meaning Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Richmond were too far away to reach legally. So, the plane diverted to National, and I guess everyone was bussed to B-more. I believe the plane was then flown out to B-more without the passengers and cargo.
 
Guest

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 10:05 am

That must have been one HELL of a tight landing.
 
Guest

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 10:05 am

Regarding DCA's monitors....I don't think they are shut off at 9 PM. I have flown into DCA on flights after 9 (one was after 10) in the past few months, and the monitors were still on (but showing very little activity).

--Jacob
 
D L X
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RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 10:07 am

I knew someone who was on another plane, and he saw it come in, and it scared the green eggs and ham out of him. He was an experienced flier and knew that DC10s just don't land there.

I would expect though that it wasn't that tight. The plane was very light after a long nearly exhaustive trip.
 
Guest

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 10:11 am

But theoretically, assuming no rejected takeoffs, etc, what is the largest possible aircraft that could land at DCA under normal conditions....i.e. with normal load of pax and cargo---not just an empty ferry flight?
 
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Bruce
Posts: 4935
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RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sat Jan 22, 2000 10:52 am

I have seen 757s and A320s land at DCA the last time I was there, 10/98.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
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Widebodies @ DCA

Sat Jan 22, 2000 11:47 am

About 99.9% sure DLX.

I seem to recall that Eastern got a waiver to try their new A300s in there years ago, but it obviously didn't last and their 757s ended up being much quieter and I'm sure it better pleased DCA's neighbors.

Re: the DC-10 that diverted in there a couple of years ago, DCA wasn't an authorized DC-10 alternate for the intended IAD destination. BWI was, and when unable to get into there, he went to DCA presumably on his emergency authority. Ironic thing is that he also probably diverted to Andrews AFB (a stone's throw from DCA) since most airlines can designate military airports as alternates and actually divert to them if needed. There wouldn't have been any United folks there, obviously, but it sure wouldn't have taken long for some to get there from DCA with fresh paperwork for the flight back to IAD once they got fuel at Andrews and the weather at IAD improved.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
D L X
Posts: 11663
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: Widebodies @ DCA

Sat Jan 22, 2000 12:06 pm

OPNLguy, are we talking about the same incident? The one I'm refering to happened less than a year ago (I'm pretty sure summer 99) and it was the daily DC10 ORD-BWI. I spot in DCA and BWI, and I see this flight often when I'm there in the early evening. It really resonated with me considering that I had seen this flight many times at BWI.

It was really neat reading a newsgroup article from a startled DCA flier that afternoon, and then hearing it on WJLA that night. Not often i get news from the newsgroup before the TV-news.   Anyways, the TV-news was consistent with my thoughts that the DC10 was inbound to BWI, rerouted to IAD, then rerouted to DCA. (I seem to remember a mention of Andrews, and how it wasn't available for some reason or another. Maybe the POTUS was there. )
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

You Are Correct DLX

Sat Jan 22, 2000 12:13 pm

I had the destination and alternate reversed. ADW would have still been a better alternate (assuming Bill wan't there), and DCA personnel still could have taken paperwork over. Besides, over at ADW, those pesky newsgoons never would have gotten close enough to take a picture.

Funny thing was that the dispatcher for this flight had used Harrisburg PA (MDT) as the alternate, less than 100 miles to the north of BWI, and I've never heard much of an explanation for why the crew didn't go there...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
D L X
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Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Back To National

Sat Jan 22, 2000 12:18 pm

BTW, have any of you guys checked out our new terminal? Ain't it pretty?   Too bad those republicans had to rename it. (I know many many Washingtonians that will never call it by its new name.)
 
OPNLguy
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Back To National

Sat Jan 22, 2000 12:24 pm

Last few times I was at DCA, I came in on Delta and they were sharing the interim terminal (old hanger) with USAirways, and new terminal was getting close to completion. Hope to make it there in April or May on buisness, and can't wait to see it.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Guest

RE: Back To National

Sat Jan 22, 2000 12:25 pm

DLX,

The new terminal is very nice. (Except for the color...banana yellow is my color of choice) I love going up there, it's a great place to spot. In fact, I think I'll even be going out there tomorrow!

--Jacob
 
D L X
Posts: 11663
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Spotting

Sat Jan 22, 2000 1:22 pm

You must be talking about Gravelly Point! That is the best place I've seen anywhere for spotting aircraft. Its really a shame that only smaller jets fly into National. You can go and stand on the centerline of the glidepath, and the planes look like they are about to land on your head! Usually when I go there, I find many people jogging, playing ultimate, soccer, or even softball. I always think that the planes are so close that a high fly ball could hit one. (I don't think they're really as close as they look though.)

As for the terminal, Its all glass and steel now (very fitting for an area called Crystal City), except for the south terminal which is the original. I've heard people complain about the yellow steel, but I really like it. It complements the blueish glass well.
 
Guest

RE: Spotting

Sat Jan 22, 2000 2:31 pm

DLX,

Yes, I was talking about Gravelly Point. It is so relaxing to sit out there for a few hours and listen to my scanner. The only thing that annoys me is the "airport know-it-alls," you know, the fathers telling their wives/children info about the airport, and it is ALL COMPLETELY WRONG!! Anyway, it is still a great spot!

--Jacob
 
Guest

RE: Washington's National Airport?

Sun Jan 23, 2000 4:45 am

Another interesting thing about DCA is that the new terminal design is absolutely killing off commercial activity inside the airport. Since its such an easy transition from check-in/security to gate these days, people aren't stopping to buy useless trinkets or pork up on Burger King hamburgers much anymore.

Gravelly point is one of the most easily-accessible airport spotting areas in the country. Its even more fun when they turn the runway around and those 727's come roaring by with their ear-splitting concerto. Its rather "uplifiting".