Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Runway Closure

This picture was taken at PNE: Northeast Philadelphia Airport. This is a view across the ramp (airplane parking lot) to the approach end of one of the runways. You can be pretty sure we landed on the OTHER runway!
Here is how the airport is displayed on the official airport diagram.

I took the picture standing on the southern portion of the airport, looking at runway 33. This runway was currently closed, and construction crews had placed a HUGE lighted "X" on the end of the runway - so there is no confusion: DO NOT LAND HERE!!
According to the Airmen's Information Manual: Closed or Temporarily Closed Runway and Taxiway Markings
d. Marking and Lighting of Permanently Closed Runways and Taxiways. For runways and taxiways which are permanently closed, the lighting circuits will be disconnected. The runway threshold, runway designation, and touchdown markings are obliterated and yellow crosses are placed at each end of the runway and at 1,000 foot intervals. (See FIG 2-3-22.)


e. Temporarily Closed Runways and Taxiways. To provide a visual indication to pilots that a runway is temporarily closed, crosses are placed on the runway only at each end of the runway. The crosses are yellow in color. (See FIG 2-3-22.)
1. A raised lighted yellow cross may be placed on each runway end in lieu of the markings described in subparagraph e,Temporarily Closed Runways and Taxiways, to indicate the runway is closed.

2. A visual indication may not be present depending on the reason for the closure, duration of the closure, airfield configuration and the existence and the hours of operation of an airport traffic control tower. Pilots should check NOTAMs and the Automated Terminal Information System (ATIS) for local runway and taxiway closure information. http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/Chap2/aim0203.html.
The NOTAM for this situation would read something like this (PNE's runway is now open - so I'm using Cleveland's NOtice To AirMen, or NOTAM): A1678/07 (CLE 07/206) - RUNWAY CLOSED RWY 06R/24L CLOSED 20 JUL 03:00 2007 UNTIL 18 OCT 09:00 2007.
If a pilot doesn't check the NOTAMs or listen to the ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service)...
a continuous broadcast of recorded noncontrol information in busier terminal (i.e. airport) areas. ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as weather information, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by the pilots, such as important NOTAMs. Pilots usually listen to an available ATIS broadcast before contacting the local control tower, in order to reduce the controllers' workload and relieve frequency congestion.
...then the pilot would fly past this big "X" onto a runway with possible construction vehicles and ongoing repairs or painting being done. This is what we pilots would call "a bad day."

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