Air traffic controllers are using advanced procedures to space aircraft closer together on takeoff and landing at major U.S. airports, making early progress toward a major goal of the NextGen ATC modernization effort: increasing airspace capacity.
Knox County Commissioners in Maine voted June 11 to claim eminent domain access to three properties located northwest of Knox County Regional Airport (KRKD) to cut down nearby trees. The trees have grown into protected runway airspace along the extended runway centerline of Runway 13. This is not the first time trees have posed a problem. A Learjet 45 on a nighttime approach to Saratoga Springs Airport in July 2008 struck trees growing near the runway centerline.
Construction on the first section (north end) of the main runway at Van Nuys Airport is expected to be completed this month. The $20 million renovation project, which began in February, aims to rehabilitate and modernize the 8,000-foot Runway 16R/34L to meet current FAA design standards.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is to close both runways over a period of almost three months next year in a major refurbishment program that will lead to the diversion of scheduled passenger flights, as well as all Emirates SkyCargo aircraft, to the new Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). The work at one of the world’s busiest intercontinental hubs is due to take 80 days and will start on May 1 next year.
Signature Flight Support (Booth 364) is again handling all helicopter traffic in and out of Gatwick Airport after the helicopter aiming point (HAP) re-opened earlier this month. The development means that business and commercial aviation operators will again be able to land at Gatwick without a formal runway landing slot (they will need only an HAP slot, so ATC has prior notification) and without having to taxi on the runway.
Pilots and controllers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Memphis International (MEM) and Houston Intercontinental (HOU) may soon take part in operational testing of a new reduced-separation standard between aircraft departing on parallel runways during crosswind conditions. For the wake turbulence mitigation for departures (WTMD) procedure one of the aircraft must weigh more than 300,000 pounds (categorized as “heavy”) and weather conditions must remain at least basic VFR with a 1,000-foot ceiling and three statute miles visibility.
Signature Flight Support has resumed handling of all helicopter traffic into London Gatwick Airport, coinciding with the reopening of the helicopter aiming point (HAP) on May 3. The opening of the HAP after a 12-year hiatus allows operators once again to land helicopters at Gatwick without having to taxi on the runway. The new HAP is located at the end of Taxiway Uniform on the airport’s west side. Slots are still required for landing, and the HAP is for daylight use only when visibility is better than 1,500 meters.
Local changes in magnetic variation demanded that Runway 9L/27R at Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) be renumbered 10L/28R. On May 3, the airport also began a number of other construction projects that will continue through September next year, including the permanent decommissioning of the airport’s crosswind Runway 13/31 as well as significant new taxiway construction in advance of the opening of a new Runway 10R/28L. For the next 17 months, FLL’s only operational runway will be 10L/28R.
An Aeromexico Boeing 767 bound for Mexico City was substantially damaged when it suffered a tailstrike during takeoff from Runway 36L at Spain’s Madrid Barajas Airport on April 16. An Air Europa A330 using the same runway for takeoff about 20 minutes after the Boeing experienced a nosewheel tire blowout after running over a piece of debris from the 767. Both aircraft circled for some time to dump fuel and then returned for uneventful landings at Madrid.
The runway edge lights on four of the seven active runways at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) went dark on April 11 in the middle of an evening traffic rush. The runways affected were 22 Right, 32 Right and both 27 Left and Right, causing air traffic delays and flight cancellations. Some lights went out completely while others flickered for nearly an hour. A spokesman for the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation said the cause of the outage is unknown.