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.
One drawback to traditional round taxiway lights is the difficulty pilots often face in determining the precise location of the edge of the taxiway surface using those lights. The technology behind blue taxiway lighting has changed little over the past 50 years, until a recent test of a new kind of lighting fixture began at Ohio’s Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) in February. This involves the new Pavement Edge Light Safety System (Pelss) from Lumin Aerospace.
All taxiways at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) once identified by a “Z” prefix have been eliminated as the City of Chicago continues toward the May 2, 2013 renaming of Runway 10-28. That runway will become 10L-28R in advance of this fall’s opening of the new Runway 10C-28C. ORD taxiways will now be identified with double letters such as “DD” or “GG.”
The FAA has announced a number of taxiway changes at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The changes, which became effective last week, rename taxiways “ZC” as “AA,” “ZD” as “L1,” “ZE” as “BB” and “ZF” as “CC.” Looking ahead, the FAA reminded users that on May 2 Runway 10-28 will be redesignated Runway 10L-28R as the City of Chicago prepares to open the airport’s new south Runway 10R-28L later this year.
Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM) in Maine is receiving a $25 million upgrade via the FAA’s Military Airport Program. Improvements include energy-efficient lighting systems for the single active runway (1R/19L), freshly painted markers and new signs to improve taxiing guidance for pilots. Construction has begun on 20 T hangars, and a segmented circle is also in the works. The airport has also acquired new snow removal equipment. Instrument approaches (ILS and GPS) and AWOS are now up and running. Meanwhile, some taxiways have been renamed to comply with current FAA standards.
The FAA updated instructions for taxi and ground movement operations effective Dec. 17, 2012. The new version of Order JO 7110.65, Paragraph 3-7-2 instructs both pilots and controllers that the entrance at the end of the runway need not be included in [ATC-issued] taxi instructions. For example, if the specific taxi route ends at a connecting taxiway with the same identifier (for example, Taxiway “A” connects with Taxiway “A1”) at the approach end of the runway, the connecting taxiway may be omitted from the clearance.
While the new Runway 18/36 at Collin County Regional Airport (KTKI) took longer to build than anyone would have liked–about seven years from first concept to the first takeoff–the new 7,002-foot-long by 150-foot-wide surface was badly needed to replace the original runway built in 1979.
The $52 million project in McKinney, Texas, consumed nearly 53,000 tons of concrete and was constructed just east of the original surface, which now serves as a parallel taxiway. The runway was the Texas Department of Transportation’s largest ever aviation construction project.
Pilots taxiing at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) are being asked to pay special attention as they approach Runway 13/31, especially during construction season when the runway is active more often than usual. A new airport notice, FLL 2012-09-12, says runway incursions have resulted from pilot inattention. “Aircraft southbound on Taxiway ‘Q’ are failing to hold short of RWY 13/31 when required by ATC. Aircraft taxiing to RWY 9L via Taxiway ‘P’ and Taxiway ‘E’ are failing to turn left at Taxiway ‘E’ and enter RWY 13/31 instead.”
San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) Runway 28 Left will be closed on weekends for runway and taxiway work through October 1. The work is expected to cut the airport’s normal arrival rate of 60 aircraft per hour almost in half between 10 p.m. Friday nights and 8 a.m. Mondays.