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flyforever
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Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:12 pm

I hope this topic was not previously discussed.

I was checking some military air base in US with google maps and I relized that for example the Pensacola NAS has three runways, two of them are parallel. Now, in a civil airport having several runways helps to increase the traffic per hour but I don't think military bases have such a huge hourly traffic to justify a second parallel runway.

Do you then know why these runways were built like this?

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flyingturtle
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:57 pm

Perhaps one runway is needed for aircraft testing (e.g. after engine maintenance), while the other one is kept open for normal military ops.

In MITO (minimum interval take-off), what is limiting the number of aircraft to be launched? The runway capacity, or the taxiway capacity?


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L-188
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:16 am

You'll note a lot of those bases will pararell's are currently or where in their past training bases.

They got the traffic.
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rfields5421
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:37 am

US military air bases, like older civilian airports, have evolved over the years.

Long ago - before WWII, and even not long after - creating several runways at various angles to each other - normally 45 degrees - was the standard.

That way runways would always be available despite wind conditions.

After WWII when jets came into the inventory and longer runways were necessary - there was a better understanding of prevailing winds.

Military air fields have been evolving over the past 50 or 60 years.

Some like Pensacola need multiple runways. Heck, at one time there were at least a dozen fields active around Pensacola to handle all the traffic. Fort Rucker in Alabama has a lot of fields for helicopter training. Kingsville, Meridian, Lemoore - similar parallel runway needs for training.

Laughlin, Randolph, Sheppard, Vance, Altus - all parallel runways.

Unlike the civilian world like DFW, ATL - there have been no new build US military airports for decades, which is another reason the bases have had to be adapted from the original runway layouts.

One of the nice things about Google Earth is we can see some of the original layout markings at many bases.
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Dreadnought
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:32 am

Remember the SAC days when squadrons of B52s etc were on constant alert, able to launch in just a few minutes? Multiple runways would have been very useful in that scenario.
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mechatnew
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:33 pm

Many of the current USAF training bases, Sheppard, Vance, and Columbus, were former SAC bases. Also in mosy cases
the current normal operations on the 3 parrallel runways are segregated by aircraft type. The T-6As use one, the T-1As use another and the T-38Cs use the longer of the runways.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:58 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 4):
Remember the SAC days when squadrons of B52s etc were on constant alert, able to launch in just a few minutes? Multiple runways would have been very useful in that scenario.

Actually, most former SAC bases only had one runway. There was not a provision to use multiple runways for Alert launches - we would be fanning out to either side of the extended centerline for wake turbulence avoidance, that's not a good idea with aircraft departing on parallel runways. Normal MITO spacing was 12 seconds between similar aircraft (B-52 to B-52, KC-135 to KC-135) and 15 seconds behind a dissimilar aircraft. Most bases only had a portion of their aircraft on Alert at any one time, so getting them all airborne in a short time wasn't a problem with one runway.

Quoting mechatnew (Reply 5):
Many of the current USAF training bases, Sheppard, Vance, and Columbus, were former SAC bases. Also in mosy cases the current normal operations on the 3 parrallel runways are segregated by aircraft type. The T-6As use one, the T-1As use another and the T-38Cs use the longer of the runways.

As I said, most SAC bases only used one runway - I don't know if the parallel runways at the bases you noted came before, during, or after SAC was there. I went to UPT at Columbus in 1984 - the long, center runway was built in 1959 when SAC came there, and was just resurfaced last year - but I don't see anything that says the other runways were added at the same time. I believe they were added when the base shifted to ATC and the pilot training role. When I was there, the center runway was used for initial T-38 takeoffs and all instrument approaches, the "inner" runway (closest to the base/ramp) was for T-37 ops, and the "outer" runway for T-38 pattern work.
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kc135topboom
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:31 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 1):
In MITO (minimum interval take-off), what is limiting the number of aircraft to be launched? The runway capacity, or the taxiway capacity?

Most SAC bases had only one tanker and one bomber squadron, a total of about 20-24 aircraft. If the entire force was generated, the Alfa Alert Force bombers and tankers would launch first on the runaway at 12-15 second intervals, followed immediately by the Charlie and Delta force assigned airplanes. One SAC runway could easily launch all 24 aircraft in about 6 minutes from the time the first aircraft crossed the hold bar. There could be as many as 4-5 airplanes on the runway at one time while rolling for take-off.

Quoting moose135 (Reply 6):
Normal MITO spacing was 12 seconds between similar aircraft (B-52 to B-52, KC-135 to KC-135) and 15 seconds behind a dissimilar aircraft. Most bases only had a portion of their aircraft on Alert at any one time, so getting them all airborne in a short time wasn't a problem with one runway.

FB-111s launched a 6 second intervals, as they used the runway edge stripes alternately (this would actually put them 12 seconds behind the airplane in front of them), the first KC-135 behind them could also be at 6 seconds, but on the runway centerline
 
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Moose135
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:21 pm

Thanks for the insights into the FB, Boom. Did a handful of A/R missions with them, but the closest I got on the ground was the week we spent at Pease trying to drag some F-4s to Europe, so I was never aware of their Alert procedures.
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tommy1808
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:46 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
There could be as many as 4-5 airplanes on the runway at one time while rolling for take-off.

And since those air-bases would disappear about 15 minutes later for good, there really wasn´t any need for them to have more than one runway....

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fsnuffer
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:40 am

Multiple runways would also allow you to segregate dissimilar aircraft. At Mather, the heavys used 22L while the T-37s would use 22R for pattern work. At larger fighter bases, you have one runway for pattern work and the other for daily ops. I would imagine it would be a real pain to have to sequence in regular ops in between touch and go's.
 
sovietjet
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:34 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
You'll note a lot of those bases will pararell's are currently or where in their past training bases.

They got the traffic.

Not necessarily. They have traffic yes, but the reason is more for short periods of intense operations. For example Nellis has two runways but they don't have constant heavy traffic. But there are times when lots of planes need to get up while others are landing (like during Red Flag). Parallel runways help with that. MCAS Yuma has four runways but they also have a civilian side with a passenger terminal, a GA ramp, and cargo/testing ramps. Even so, it can probably be fine with just the 2 runways.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:00 am

Quoting moose135 (Reply 8):
moose135

The FBs also pulled satellite alert at KI Sawyer (SAW, 509th FB-111s) AFB and Kinchleloe AFB (CIU, 380th FB-111s) in the mid 1970s. They would have used the same Alert runway procedures at SAW and CIU as they did at PSM and PBG.
 
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:06 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
380th FB-111s

I did encampments at Plattsburgh with CAP in the early 70s.
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RE: Why Some Military Apts Have Parallel Runways?

Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:12 pm

I think the only SAC base that was originally planned with two parallel runways was Loring, even a proposed intersecting one, but that was scrapped at some point in the early days of the design. I beleve a few bases such as Griffiss and Loring built full length parallel taxiways that were stressed to handle emergency aircraft operations (both had overruns on the far-ends of the field).
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