Topic Author
Posts: 3874
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 10:43 pm

Runway Usage

Thu Oct 17, 2002 11:59 am

Who makes the decision about what runways and approaches to use? What are the deciding factors for everything?

At LGA, it seems they only use Localizer 31 when the weather is weird. High winds, especially fomr a strange direction often result in this being used.

ILS Runway 4 is often use in overcast weather.

Express Visual 31 is often used on beautiful mornings, and LDA 22 is used on beautiful evenings.

Runway 13 is often used when ATC has been smoking the good stuff. (sorry, couldn't resist)

But does this sound accurate? Why would this be?
Phil Derner Jr.
Posts: 5561
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Runway Usage

Thu Oct 17, 2002 12:08 pm

The wind is usually the deciding factor; pilots prefer to land into the wind. The slope of the runway may also be a deciding factor. Local procedures may differ. At DFW and ATL, the outboard runways are usually used for arrivals while the inboard runways are used for departures (DFW 17C/35C, 17L/35R for east arrivals and departures and 18R/36L, 18L/36R for west arrivals and departures). The pilot usually listens to the ATIS broadcast to listen to the active runway/runways that are in use and plans accordingly. The pilot can request any runway he wishes to use, and he will usually get it if it's open.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
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Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2001 8:10 am

RE: Runway Usage

Thu Oct 17, 2002 1:07 pm

>>>...pilots prefer to land into the wind...

They don't prefer, they just do. Aircraft will takeoff and land against the wind. The reason is you want a faster airflow against you, and therefore greater airflow over the wings which produces the lift you need to fly. You can sometimes see birds hovering when they simply spread their wings and head into the wind.
This way you will be reducing the runway used on takeoff and landing because you will have a lower ground speed with the same airspeed required to fly. There is no big deal when you have a minor tailwind, but otherwise it's just foolish, considering you always want more runway available in case of rejected takeoffs. Hope this helps.

Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: Runway Usage

Thu Oct 17, 2002 3:15 pm

Quick note about the wind, some airports will have a "noise preferential runway" and will use it until such time as the tailwind component on that runway reaches a certain value.

Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick in the UK are three which spring to mind, all will use the westerly runway(s) (for noise reasons) until the tailwind component on those runways is 5 knots or more, in which case they switch to easterly.

As pilots we can of course request the into-wind runway, but at the above airports this will result in a delay of at least 15 minutes on arrival. This is all detailed in airport operating procedures documentation.

Also performance will sometimes dictate the requirement for tailwind takeoffs, for us Dalaman (LTBS) and Malaga (LEMG) are two such airports. Generally on hot Summer days loaded up for flights back to the UK we cannot meet the strict climb gradient on the northerly (into-hills!) runways in the event of an engine failure at V1.

Our maximum tailwind components for t/o and landing are 10 knots for the 757 and 767, although where necessary for performance we have an extension of the standard performance figures for 15-knots tailwind takeoffs.

Well that was a rather long "quick note"...  Smile
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...

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