Oftentimes, you’ll see ATC supervisors and trainers alike stressing the usage of runways as efficiently and wisely as possible. With Expert server airports seeing large crowds at peak times, it is important to us and our controllers that every aircraft needing service are pushed in and out using all runways possible in order to minimize the inconvenience for those involved.
In today’s example, Sydney Kingsford airport in Aussie down under will be used to demonstrate such techniques. As many of you know, it has multiple runways with intersecting flight paths. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that they hinder operations way more than parallel runways could.
- Example: Controller A thinks that going the parallel route would work best. He sends all aircraft that spawns in to 34L, intending to send all of them out that way, while landing planes on 34R.
Doable? Sure. However, don’t fall so easily for that. Rather, if you observe runway efficiency, you can make YSSY’s layout fit to your terms and use it to your advantage. Here’s how.
- Send aircraft on the domestic side to Runway 25.
- Send the ones on the intl and cargo side to 34L.
Now, visualize this. Instead of one massive line building up on 34L, you have two shorter ones at the ends of intersecting runways. Arrivals are on 34R and occasionally on L, so they’re out of your way and arriving efficiently. In the gaps between departures on 25, simply cross somebody heading to 34L out that direction.
- Clear a plane from 25 for takeoff (assume he’s at the hold short line)
- LUAW a plane on 34L and have him wait.
- Clear 34L’s for takeoff once you’re sure prescribed separation will exist by the time 25’s departure clears the intersection.
- LUAW a plane on 25 as the prior one rolls.
- Clear him for takeoff once 34L is clear while LUAWing another for 34L.
This may not be the case for every situation, and perhaps the order will be flipped starting with 34L, but you get the gist of it.
It’s machine gun, guys. With this, you can go boom boom and fire people out quickly. You’re now working intersecting runways to your advantage, cutting taxi time significantly for a lot of planes and getting them out faster.
Think about it. If you sent every plane to 34L, including the ones on the domestic terminal side, those guys would have to not only cross 25, but L as well. With arrivals and departures operating on that runway, chances are they’ll be waiting to cross for a while. That costs you time. Precious time to squeeze as much ops as you can get out of a runway is wasted.
- Example: Plane B crosses 25 southside and waits to cross L from the right… Other plane lands and one LUAWs. Plane B is still waiting… could’ve departed by now on 25 with the gap between the arrival and departure on L. Still has to wait for the departure to go, depending on controller mood.
And, with that, you’ve made the flow of traffic at YSSY much quicker without handicapping yourself to parallel usage. In this case, using all three runways at the same time wisely greatly increased the capacity to handle more planes during peak times. It’s the little things that add up- even runways.
Of course, there are limits to how many planes an airport can handle in that configuration. All we ask is to simply use all of your resources and push that capacity to the top safely and efficiently before you have to start denying or holding people.
Below, I’ve attached Tyler’s intersection departure video, which is quite relevant to this post. Enjoy!