| A visitor from Germany posted Fri January 15, 2010:|
To my previous speaker: Don't worry! This runway has a total length of 14.250 feet. The threshold is at 3.600 feet, so there are still 10.650 feet of usable runway left. Long enough for any aircraft to stop safely. The reason for the optical illusion is not the position of the camera, but the use of a strong telephoto lense. This makes the runway appear much shorter than it is - and of course much closer. Just look at the position of the A330 on the runway: you can suppose that the photo was taken from an aircraft following this A330 - in reality, you would never be so close behind that Airbus. Great photo, by the way! I like the unusual perspective.
| A visitor from - posted Fri July 31, 2009:|
The deceptive length of the runway caused by the relative height of the camera versus the proximity of the camera to the approach end of the runway. The displaced threshold would appear to be some odd 40% of the overall length of the runway. If one presumed the displaced threshold to be even 2,000 feet long, that would mean at most that there was 6,000 feet of usable runway--not particularly long for heavy jets, I would think. The problem is the visual illusion mentioned above. I doubt that this is a serious problem as the pilots landing at this field have read their approach plates and know the precise length of the runway and, I am sure, know that they have more than they need. This type of situation, however, can be hazardous. A KC-135 from Grissom AFB was TDY for a couple of weeks to the field in Panama in 1986 or 1987. The crew consisted of a new captain and a new right-seater--neither with any previous exposure to this field. They went up for a night sortie, came back to land in the dark. As I recall, the field was only about 8,000 feet long and sloped away from them. As they neared the approach end of the field, the AC (not a lot of experience in the KC-135 himself) apparently was confused by the blackness of the night and the negative slope of the runway. He decided that he was at his apparent typical height to pull the throttles back to apparently flight idle but was, as I barely recall, about 100 feet in the air. As the accident was reconstructed, he only had 2 seconds to realize his mistake and put back on the power. He did not realize he was wrong. The airplane landed with a force of 8g, the right wing outer pod ripped off of the airplane, tearing out the full lines and the hydraulics. The airplane immediately bounced back into the air. In the immediate post-impact disorientation, neither pilot realized the situation with the wing. The AC decided to push the throttles up to take-off position to go around. He had 50 degrees of flaps in position but, having lost his hydraulics, could not retract them. In addition, he only had 3 engines and he had a now-developing right wing fire. The Panama people stated that while the night was black, when the aircraft came overhead, it looked like daylight. He never managed to gain much speed or altitude. The aircraft apparently began doing a series of Dutch rolls, finally rolling off one wing and disintegrated in a fiery hole in the ground. One aircraft and 4 good men lost because of a visual illusion and faulty decisions. A very sad incident! Our eyes can deceive us!