Sometimes the pilot says in his / her announcement before departure, “We will be taking off on runway 15” or “we will be taking off on runway 24 left”. What does that mean ?
Question asked by Dina.
First, we will look at runway numbering protocol. Runways are numbered based on their orientation, in degrees clockwise relative to Magnetic North. Magnetic North is the location that a compass needle points to. A runway that is oriented 100 degrees clockwise from Magnetic North is designated as Runway 10. The last zero is always omitted. Runway 15 is oriented 150 degrees, relative to Magnetic North. Some airports have multiple runways oriented in the same direction. The individual runways would be designated as L (left), C (centre) , or R (right). Runway 24L (two four left) is oriented 240 degrees from Magnetic North and is the left one in a group of airport runways.
Airplanes normally take off and land into the wind, or headwind. The headwind component can be subtracted from airplane’s speed over ground, therefore an airplane will become airborne or touch down at a lower speed relative to ground. Lower speed is safer.
A bit more about Captain Dan:
Captain Dan Baz enrolled in Flight School at the age of 16.
He has completed studies in Aircraft Engineering and Master of Business Administration. He has been at the controls of many different types of aircraft, from single engine Cessnas to large intercontinental jets on global routes.
Over the last four decades he has flown thousands of hours up in the blue sky.
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