Some information about airports.

airports classification & characteristics

Some information about airports.

a) Airports Classification

The classification of the airports is based on the characteristics of the "critical aircraft". The critical aircraft is the airplane with the highest requirements that can use the airport. In accordance with its own characteristics to each airport is assigned a code number and a code letter. The code number refers to the airplane reference field lenght; in the reference field lenght the stop way and the clear way are included aswell. The code letter refers to the critical airplane's wing span and the distance that it's between the external extremities of the wheels of its main landing gear. An aerodrome's reference code may be 1A, 2B, 3C, 4D, 4E, 4F.

b) Airport's Characteristics

An airport consists of a movement area and a manoeuvring area. The movement area consists of parking spaces (gates, ramps) and manoeuvring area; the manoeuvring area consists of taxi ways and runways. Regarding the runway is worth to mention that its longitudinal slope must not be above 1% for runways code number 3 and 4, and not above 2% for a runway that is code number 1 or 2, while the transversal slope must not be above 1.5% for a runway that is code letter C, D, E, F and not above 2% for runways code letter A or B. Moreover, regarding runways, is worth to say that there are instrument runways and non instrument runways; the instrument runways are divided in precision runways and non precision runways; moreover, depending on the ILS system (Instrument Landing System) available, a precision runway can be of one of the following categories: 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C.

Runways and stop ways are positioned within so called runway strips, which have the purpose to reduce the damage to the aircraft in case this one would run out of the runway. The stop way is a bidimensional area of the same width of the runway, placed at both extremities of the runway in order to make available a longer distance for stopping to aircraft which fail to take off. The clear way is a threedimensional zone, clear of obstacles, placed at runway's extremity, above the stopway, in order to ease the take off. The clearway's width must not be under 75 meters from the runway's center line.
Regarding the so called declared distances of a runway, we have the LDA (Landing Distance Available) same as TORA (Take Off Run Available) which are distances of the runway without the stop way and the clear way, TODA (Take Off Distance Available) which is the distance of the runway plus the clearway, and the ASDA (Accelerate Stop Distance Available) which consists of runway's distance plus the stopway.
The distance of the hold short from the center line of the runway varies in accordance with the type of runway: for non instrument runways code number one the holding position is placed at 30 meters, for runways code number two is situated at 40 meters while for runways code number three and four the hold short is placed at 75 meters; for non precision instrument runways code number one and two the hold short is at 40 meters, while for those which are code number three and four is at 75 meters; for precision runways of the first category code number 1 and 2 the holding position is at 60 meters while for runways code number 3 and 4 is at 90 meters; for precision runways of the second category and of the third category the holding position is situated at 90 meters.

By Claudio Adriano Dobre, © 2005

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