Some Interesting Facts About Airport Runways
One of the most prominent features of the airport is the runway. This is a road at the airport where airplanes take off or land. But this road differs from any other road that you find around the city. For example, inlaid in the asphalt or cement are grooves that prevent hydroplaning when the aircraft lands or takes off during rainy weather.
Another thing you may notice when you are looking at the airport from above is a number and letter painted on each runway. This combination indicates the geographical location of a particular strip. Pilots determine this by adding a zero after the last number. Thus, Runway 09E means that this strip has an orientation of 90 degrees and is pointing east. If the facility has parallel runways, the left one has an L added to the number and an R to the right one. In addition, airplanes use the runway only in one direction, the side pointed into the wind. This is done so that planes can generate enough lift to take off the ground.
Finally, runways have a variety of lights to guide the pilots when landing at night. The most amazing of this is the Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI). Radio waves from the aircraft are sent to the VASI, which helps determine the glide slope of the airplane. If two of VASI's lights are red and two are white, the aircraft is in a perfect glide slope. Four reds lights indicate the plane will touch the ground short of the runway, having a shallow glide path. Four white lights tell pilots that the aircraft has a too-high glide path and will pass the runway without touching down.
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