A runway is defined as a rectangular strip designated and prepared for the take-off and landing of aircraft. Depending on the size of the airport, a runway can vary is size. A private plane will require a shorter runway than a commercial airliner.

These areas can be referred to by several names. Some of these names include:

  • Landing strip
  • Airstrip
  • Taxiway
  • Tarmac

Names and Numbers

Runways are named using a numeric system of 01 to 36. Generally, the number used is the magnetic azimuth of the runway’s direction in decadegrees. For example, a runway numbered with 18 points south 180 degrees, and a runway labelled 27 points west 270 degrees. When an aircraft takes off from runway 18, they would be taking off at 180 degrees south.

While referring to a runway by name, aircraft controllers, commercial and private plane operators will indicate the runway by stating each digit in the name separately. Runway zero six is runway 06 and so on.

Differing Distances

Each runway can differ from the next. Some are as small as 800 feet long while others can reach a length of 18,000 feet. When discussing the length of a runway, controllers and operators will use the following terms:

  • TODA – Take-off distance available
  • TORA – Take=off run available
  • ASDA – Accelerate-stop distance available
  • LDA – Landing distance available
  • EMDA – Emergency distance available

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