Thursday, May 8, 2008

Don't Cross That Runway!

So it's back to work again after a nice but way too short vacation.

The next two trips on my schedule were a pair of identical three day trips spread over an eleven day period. Day one included a five leg day. Day two was just a west coast turnaround and day three would be three legs. Not too terrible.

The five leg day included a visit to Denver International. This view from the downwind leg shows how spread out the airport is. Their longest runway is 16,000 ft long. I can't think of any longer commercial runways in this country.

Southwest Airlines has a number of unusual paint schemes in their fleet. Here's one of them at DEN.

Speaking of runways...The FAA has an experimental runway status light system in place on one of the runways at DFW airport.
There are Takeoff Hold Lights that automatically illuminate to warn takeoff or landing traffic if an aircraft or ground vehicle inadvertently enters that runway after their takeoff or landing clearance is received. Also there are Runway Entrance Lights at the crossing taxiways that automatically illuminate when traffic takes off or lands on that runway.
The red lights down the middle are Runway Hold Lights. Takeoff is not allowed when these lights are illuminated. Traffic could be crossing downfield.
The red lights here are the Runway Entrance Lights. You are not supposed to cross this runway when these lights are illuminated. Very bad things could happen if you were to taxi onto this runway when any of the red lights are on.

The system has been a great success so far. I hope it gets adopted nationwide.

Along the same lines...Here's a shot of El Paso airport from 36,000 ft. It's the one on the left. It shows the proximity of Biggs Army Airfield to El Paso International. It has almost the exact same layout. Many a pilot has lined up to land at the wrong airport and then realized their mistake. And some of them have even continued their approach and landed at the wrong airport! A bad day for sure.

Anyhow, the rest of my two trips went without too many hitches. We flew into Los Angeles a couple of times that week. There's always a bunch of good photos to be had there.

The descent from the east takes you through Banning Pass near Palm Springs. Mt San Jacinto can bee seen on the left. The clouds that move in from the coast almost always dissipate right near the pass. This day was a perfect example.

Here's a Continental 757-300 launching from runway 25R.

Also a United 747-400 about to lift off the same runway.

Finally an Eva 777-300 just airborne for Taipei.

So where did the word runway come from anyhow? I know that it's a term used to describe the path that a pilot takes to makes his or her takeoff run (That's obvious). But I wonder how it originated? Maybe someone can chime in.

More to come soon.....

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


MarkH said...

Have you ever flown with Al Secord, the former NHL hockey player who is now a pilot at AA?
Great Blog!

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi MarkH,

Yes, I've flow with Al several times. Great guy. We both have a general aviation background. He owns a Super Cub that he keeps in Canada.


Teller said...

I have quite a few entries from KELP in the logbook; fortunately none from the air base next door, not that it isn't a little tempting when it's the first thing you see coming over the hills to the west. Banning Pass is one of my favorites, too. The mountain wave in that area is incredible. The scenery is pretty nice too!

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Teller,

Yeah, I hope I never make the mistake of landing at the wrong airport. I've even heard of pilots mistaking Juarez airport(a few miles south) for El Paso. Now that would be a really bad day!!