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OCR for page 14
6. A Pilot's Perspective of the Airport general Key Po i nt Pilots are the most important users of an airport; therefore, it is important to understand their perspective primarily as it relates to the adequacy of the airport's infrastructure and how its layout and systems contribute to their flying experience. These systems include the runway(s), runway approach procedures in poor visibility conditions, air traffic control and communications systems, and other support systems for the pilot. D i s cu s s i on The Airport The Runway The airway system and airports can be particularly confusing for non-pilots, but a policy maker should know that the rules of the sky are integrally linked to the design criteria for airports and the specific categories of aircraft they serve. Once a particular aircraft type or class is documented as "routinely" using an airport (more than 500 annual combined aircraft takeoffs and landings) then that aircraft or family of aircraft represents the "critical design aircraft" for airport development -- specifically the runway and airfield geometry. Pilots understand the performance characteristics of their aircraft and will review the runway's length, width, and pavement strength to ensure their flight operations will be safe. Common terminology that pilots and air traffic controllers use relative to runways are "preferred" and "primary" runways. The primary runway is normally the one that is longest and/or has the best navigational aid capability. The preferred runway is often the primary runway but might be another runway based on the pilot's location on the airfield and wind conditions. Airport management works with the FAA to monitor airport activity and periodically updates the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) to meet the demand. The required runway length is a typical topic of discussion tied directly to the critical design FINANCIAL aircraft. The following graphic depicts the relative runway length requirements for takeoff of specific aircraft, ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 feet. Commercial Jet - B747 Commercial Jet - B757 Large Corporate - GV Medium Corporate Jet - Hawker 800 Small Corporate Jet - Citation II Turboprop - King Air rules Light Twin - Beech Baron Single Eng. - Cessna 14

OCR for page 14
Runway Approach Capability During Poor Visibility GENERAL Pilots cannot land on runways during poor visibility conditions unless they are appropriately licensed and the runway has an instrument approach procedure. These procedures are published by the FAA and achieved with the help of navigational equipment such as a localizer, full instrument landing system, or satellite based procedures. Air Traffic Control and Pilot Communications Runway Runway Approach DuringPoor Approach During Poor Visibility Visibility Some airports have an air traffic control tower (ATCT) where ATCT staff communicates with pilots to ensure aircraft are properly separated when taking off or landing. When there is THE AIRPORT no ATCT or it is closed, pilots use a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency to communicate with one another. Airport staff also advise pilots of unusual conditions such as closed taxiways or runways by issuing Notices to Airmen. A Pilot 's Perspec tive on Airpor t Safety Airport staff, engineers, and planners can help provide a safe environment for pilots by having good airfield signage and marking that meets FAA standards, by eliminating confusing or complex geometry on the airfield, and providing takeoff and landing paths free of obstructions. Examples of complex geometry that can create runway incursions are when several taxiways and one or more runways meet at one intersection. Air Tra c Control and Pilot Communications Air Tra c Control and Pilot Communications FINANCIAL App l i c at i o n Talk to pilots that use your airport to find out their views about how safe and efficient your airport is and what improvements may be needed. Learn more about a pilot's view from the Aeronautical Information Manual: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/ATPubs/AIM/aim.pdf. RULES 15