CBR: Change in runway direction usage?

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Colin 2905

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For as long as I've bothered to take notice (which was late 2010), flights in and out of Canberra have almost always approached from the south and taken off to the north. On the odd occasion when it's been the opposite case it appears to me to have been weather related usually. However, over the past couple of weeks I've noticed a lot more take offs to the south, even when the weather seems to be clear all round.

Anyone know why? I'm not complaining at all. On the contrary, I get a bit of a kick out of it and sometimes find myself doing a bit of plane spotting from my back deck, or if I'm inside, trying to guess the aircraft type by the engine noise before checking on the FR24 app. :D
 

OzEire

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I would say that my flights to and from CBR are >70% of the time to or from Runway 35. As you have suggested the wind direction will determine which runway (direction) is "in use" for any given arrival or departure.

This time of year Canberra's prevailing winds may shift (as winter approaches) causing a change in the predominant direction of aircraft movements.

Although pilots may accept a crosswind, or even a slight downwind (wind behind the aircraft), they will normally take a headwind wherever possible as it is safer. But in very light wind a pilot may request a different runway as it may be more efficient to take off in the intened direction of travel, avoid a long taxi journey, etc. but ATC needs to balance this against the flow of traffic (other flights, etc.)
 

GoneMissed

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To add to OzFire's response,I believe both Melbourne (RWY 16) and Sydney (RWY 16L & 16R) have been predominately on Southerly ops over the past few days.
 

Skyring

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As a long time watcher of CBR - five years a night cabbie and a lot of time waiting in the cabyard, looking out for the lights of the next plane, quite apart from most of my big trips beginning and ending here - both directions are used, though most frequently south to north.

It could be that even a frequent flyer here will experience only south-north movements and consequently any north-south activity will come as a personal surprise, but there's enough of both that neither is remarkable. Looking at Flightradar24, I see QF822 MEL-CBR positioning for a landing from the north. I wouldn't say that there's much wind about at the moment.
 
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GoneMissed

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Looking at Flightradar24, I see QF822 MEL-CBR positioning for a landing from the north. I wouldn't say that there's much wind about at the moment.

Just checked, ATIS reports wind 170/8 - straight down runway 17. As OzFire said, aeroplanes will always take off and land into the wind so the runway in use is a no brainer.

By way of comparison, Sydney at the moment is operating on 16L and 16R and reporting wind 210/15-25 - so there is crosswind for arriving and departing aircraft. Sydney will always stick to parralel runway ops for as long as possible as the arrival rate is essentially halved when they have to use runway 07/25. Also results in taxi delays, so aircraft waiting in a large queue to depart. Only when the wind is too strong across the parralel north/south runways will they swap to the single east/west runway.

Melbourne at the moment are landing aeroplanes on Runway 16 and departing off Runway 27, wind is reported 170/12. Similiar to Sydney, if the crosswind for departing aircraft on runway 27 becomes too strong they will have to change to 16 for arrivals and departures - not as efficient in terms of capacity and arrival rates.

Sorry for the long winded reponse, this is part of what I do for a living so thought I'd chime in if anyone is interested.
 

Strategic Aviation

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Canberra Airport hits out at 'disgraceful', 'grubby' safety claims - The Canberra Times article included comments/claims about CBR runway ops:-

Building-generated turbulence could severely limit the performance of aircraft, and the ability to control them at Canberra, it says.

"In the most severe of cases, an aircraft may be seriously damaged on landing, or run off the side of the runway," AusALPA safety and technical officer Marcus Diamond said.

Turbulence caused by nearby development affected one runway, RW 35, in strong westerly and north-westerly winds, Mr Diamond said.

Canberra Airport said it rejected suggestions that the airport was unsafe.

"Numerous studies over the past 20 years and our safety record have reinforced that assertion," a spokeswoman said.

Wind expert reports showed it complied with national safeguarding guideline requirements, she said.


And not runway related - SingaporeAir flew too close to mountains near Canberra last month - Plane Talking
 

jb747

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Whilst Canberra is well off the list of places I operate to, the construction of buildings near runways is an issue. The fact that it hasn't yet been implicated in an incident is neither here nor there...presumably many of the buildings that are problematic weren't there 20 years ago. The effect of late, lateral, wind shifts tends to destabilise the approach in roll. I have hit the full lateral stop during an approach in Sydney (16R), from building effect turbulence. Sadly the people who run airports in Australia have zero (or seem to anyway) aviation knowledge, so I expect they'll keep pushing the limits until there is an accident...which will be pilot error anyway.


Sadly I find Sandiland's articles to be far too sensationalist for someone who pretends to have some level of aviation expertise. The exact position doesn't matter all that much, as the minimum sector safe altitudes tend to cover quite large swathes of land, and are mostly conservative because of that. It still doesn't mean you can breach them.

You can go below MSA if on an approach or STAR that nominates minimum leg heights, which means positioning will be quite exact, as opposed to somewhere in a sector. Radar vectors also allow for descent below MSA, as long as you ensure the controller is actually providing terrain clearance. For instance, downwind from Santa Monica for the LAX 06 approaches, the minimum height is nominated as roughly 5,000'. ATC will actually clear you down to 2,600'...
 

GoneMissed

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G'day jb747,

What do you drive mate? Username suggests the Queen but mentioning KLAX leans toward A380.

EDIT: Don't mind me, forgot Qantas still operate the 747 to KLAX ex YBBN.
 

OzEire

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G'day jb747,

What do you drive mate? Username suggests the Queen but mentioning KLAX leans toward A380.

EDIT: Don't mind me, forgot Qantas still operate the 747 to KLAX ex YBBN.

Hi GoneMissed, check the thread Ask The Pilot in Community Resources / Your Questions. JB747 is a regular contributor and it's a great read to boot!
 

Strategic Aviation

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Whilst Canberra is well off the list of places I operate to, the construction of buildings near runways is an issue. The fact that it hasn't yet been implicated in an incident is neither here nor there...presumably many of the buildings that are problematic weren't there 20 years ago. The effect of late, lateral, wind shifts tends to destabilise the approach in roll. I have hit the full lateral stop during an approach in Sydney (16R), from building effect turbulence. Sadly the people who run airports in Australia have zero (or seem to anyway) aviation knowledge, so I expect they'll keep pushing the limits until there is an accident...which will be pilot error anyway.

Thanks for your comments jb747, food for thought on an issue most of us probably aren't aware of.

Sadly I find Sandiland's articles to be far too sensationalist for someone who pretends to have some level of aviation expertise. The exact position doesn't matter all that much, as the minimum sector safe altitudes tend to cover quite large swathes of land, and are mostly conservative because of that. It still doesn't mean you can breach them.

You can go below MSA if on an approach or STAR that nominates minimum leg heights, which means positioning will be quite exact, as opposed to somewhere in a sector. Radar vectors also allow for descent below MSA, as long as you ensure the controller is actually providing terrain clearance. For instance, downwind from Santa Monica for the LAX 06 approaches, the minimum height is nominated as roughly 5,000'. ATC will actually clear you down to 2,600'...

Based on the limited information, does this incident appear to be much ado about nothing or is it something that might raise an eyebrow? And although the exact position doesn't matter all that much, is the ATSB's purported lack of accuracy not a concern?
 

Melburnian1

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Whilst Canberra is well off the list of places I operate to, the construction of buildings near runways is an issue...Sadly the people who run airports in Australia have zero (or seem to anyway) aviation knowledge, so I expect they'll keep pushing the limits until there is an accident...which will be pilot error anyway...

Didn't you or another AFF contributor also criticise the location of Melbourne's third runway as being both in the wrong direction for prevailing winds and also too close to buildings at one end?

Lyell Strambl is CEO of Melbourne Airport and was previously in charge of QFd, but the decision about the runway positioning was made in the master plan that was probably developed before he came on board.

The issue of buildings close to runways has only come into focus recently because of the tragic accident at MEB that saw multiple fatalities. Normally 99.9 per cent of passengers would not give it a single thought.

It is worrying when aviators criticise these structures because those who fly aircraft can take a considered, holistic view.
 

harvyk

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I have to admit I hadn't paid much attention to the direction the planes where taking off until I saw this thread. I work near the airport, and I took note that there was no wind* where I was yesterday and yet they where still taking off to the south.

* - Yes I'm not right next to the runway, so I am perhaps not the best judge of aviation weather out there.

Whilst Canberra is well off the list of places I operate to, the construction of buildings near runways is an issue. The fact that it hasn't yet been implicated in an incident is neither here nor there...presumably many of the buildings that are problematic weren't there 20 years ago. The effect of late, lateral, wind shifts tends to destabilise the approach in roll. I have hit the full lateral stop during an approach in Sydney (16R), from building effect turbulence. Sadly the people who run airports in Australia have zero (or seem to anyway) aviation knowledge, so I expect they'll keep pushing the limits until there is an accident...which will be pilot error anyway.


As the article points out, yes there are buildings near to the airport, but there is nothing at either end of either runway. Would the buildings around CBR airport really pose more danger than an airport terminal? (Yes it's ignoring the Risk Vs Reward factors you get with a terminal building).
 

Boris spatsky

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Runway 35 has a very steep departure gradient of 6.6%. With cloud around, on a hot day at heavy weights, some aircraft are performance limited off 35 (due to regulations around departure performance) so it is not uncommon for some aircraft to require 17 to depart (ATRs mainly).
 
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