celestar
Topic Author
Posts: 513
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2001 11:37 am

### Runway Designation

All runways for airport have designation such as XXR or YYL - I can understand the R and L means but with respect to the first two numerical words, how is it being determined? Please shed some lights on this.

Btriple7
Posts: 1207
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:58 am

### RE: Runway Designation

It's based on the runway's compass heading. A runway facing south (1-8-0 degrees) would be designated runway 18. East: runway 9. West: 27. Etc. etc. and everything in-between.
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SPREE34
Posts: 1605
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

### RE: Runway Designation

Magnetic alignment. RWY 9 would have a magnetic alignment closest to 090 degrees. RWY 24,..240 degrees, etc.

SPREE34
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

### RE: Runway Designation

Wow, two good answers in 4 seconds.

Btriple7
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:58 am

### RE: Runway Designation

For everything else you would ever want to know about runways: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runway

-Bt7
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KPWMSpotter
Posts: 455
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:01 am

### RE: Runway Designation

As the above responses explained, yes, runways are numbered to the nearest magnetic heading. There are a couple of circumstances where the numbering system isn't quite as clear-cut.

Some airports have multiple (in excess of three) parallel runways. For most parallels they simply add an "L" "R" or "C" (left, right, center), but with more than three runways this can get confusing. For example, Atlanta has five parallels, all aligned at 095 degrees magnetic. In these cases, the runways are numbered in logical sets. Atlanta was numbered as 8L, 8R, 9L, 9R, and 10. The runways which are mis-matched from their magnetic heading usually feature prominent signage and notes in the AFD stating the actual runway magnetic heading.

Another problem arises due to change in magnetic variation. Earth's magnetic North Pole is constantly moving, while runways are decidedly fixed in position. Shift in magnetic variation is slow (a degree every 20 to 30 years in most places), but must be accounted for. The main runway at Peachtree DeKalb airport in Atlanta has been numbered 2R since the airport was built. Last year, due to shift in magnetic variation, its magnetic heading shifted to 026 degrees. The airport has just finished renovating all runway markings, so the runway is now known as 3R.
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rfields5421
Posts: 5889
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

### RE: Runway Designation

At least one airport numbers the runways by true heading, not magentic heading.

BGTL / THU - Thule, Greenland - uses Rwy 08T / 26T (085 True / 265 True)

Because of its location so close to the magnetic North Pole - 800nm - the runway magnetic heading changes significantly every year.

26point2
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

### RE: Runway Designation

Juneau, AK has runway 8W/26W. Many other "W" runways out there. Always land "gear up" on a W runway.

Viscount724
Posts: 19315
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

### RE: Runway Designation

 Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 6):At least one airport numbers the runways by true heading, not magentic heading. BGTL / THU - Thule, Greenland - uses Rwy 08T / 26T (085 True / 265 True) Because of its location so close to the magnetic North Pole - 800nm - the runway magnetic heading changes significantly every year.

Quite a few runways in northern Canada are also numbered based on true headings.

Cubsrule
Posts: 12482
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

### RE: Runway Designation

 Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):The main runway at Peachtree DeKalb airport in Atlanta has been numbered 2R since the airport was built. Last year, due to shift in magnetic variation, its magnetic heading shifted to 026 degrees. The airport has just finished renovating all runway markings, so the runway is now known as 3R.

JAX (7-24 and 13-31 to 8-26 and 14-32) and TPA (9-27 and 18-36 to 10-28 and 1-19) are two larger airports that have re-numbered in the past 5 years or so.
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Mir
Posts: 19374
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

### RE: Runway Designation

 Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 9):JAX (7-24 and 13-31 to 8-26 and 14-32) and TPA (9-27 and 18-36 to 10-28 and 1-19) are two larger airports that have re-numbered in the past 5 years or so.

AMS (1-19 to 18-36) and MAN (6-24 to 5-23) are two others, though not quite as recent.

-Mir
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Viscount724
Posts: 19315
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

### RE: Runway Designation

 Quoting Mir (Reply 10):Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 9): JAX (7-24 and 13-31 to 8-26 and 14-32) and TPA (9-27 and 18-36 to 10-28 and 1-19) are two larger airports that have re-numbered in the past 5 years or so. AMS (1-19 to 18-36) and MAN (6-24 to 5-23) are two others, though not quite as recent.

YYC runways are being re-numbered sometime this year. 16/34 will become 17/35, 10/28 will become 11/29, and 07/25 will be 08/26.

Similar changes at Springbank airport (YBW) just west of Calgary, heavily used by general aviation and training.

Related press release:
http://www.yyc.com/News/tabid/91/art...cleType/ArticleView/articleId/129/

Gemuser
Posts: 4592
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:07 pm

### RE: Runway Designation

 Quoting Btriple7 (Reply 1):It's based on the runway's compass heading. A runway facing south (1-8-0 degrees) would be designated runway 18. East: runway 9. West: 27. Etc. etc. and everything in-between.

In most (all?) countries outside North America single digit runway numbers are not permitted. Hence a runway with a magmatic heading of 90 degrees would be runway 09. So SYD's "East-West" runway is 07/25.

Gemuser
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