Airport Aeronautical

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Visual charts depict civil, military, and some private, landplane, helicopter, and seaplane airports. Hard-surfaced runways of 1500 to 8000 feet are enclosed within a circle depicting runway orientation. All recognizable runways, including some that might be closed, are shown for visual identification. Hard-surfaced runways greater than 8000 feet do not conveniently fit in a circle; the circle is omitted, but runway orientation is preserved. Airports with other than hard-surfaced runways, such as dirt, sod, gravel, and the like, are depicted as open circles. Airports served by an FAA control tower (CT) or non-federal control tower (NFCT) are shown in blue; all other airports are in magenta, which is a purplish red color. Tick marks around the basic airport symbol indicate the availability of fuel and that the airport is tended during normal working hours. Pilots should keep in mind that types of fuel and specific hours attended are contained in the Airport/Facility Directory, with changes or nonavailability of services mentioned in NOTAMs.

Restricted, private, and abandoned airports are shown for emergency or landmark purposes only. Pilots wishing to use restricted or private landing facilities must obtain permission from that airport authority. A check of your insurance policy might also be in order. Some insurance policies restrict landings to public airports, except in emergencies. Airports are labeled unverified when available for public use, but warranting more than ordinary precautions due to lack of current information on field conditions, or available information indicates peculiar operating limitations. Selected ultralight flight parks appear only on sectional charts as an “F” within the airport circle.

Figure 11-10 decodes standard airport information. The circled letter “R” preceding the airport name indicates the availability of airport surveillance radar, and the airport location identifier follows the airport name: R Oakland (OAK). With airspace reclassification, Class D airspace replaced the control zone and airport traffic area. This all but eliminated the need for special airport traffic areas defined by FAR 93. Special airport traffic areas are indicated on the chart by the airport name placed within a box, for example, Anchorage. Two still exist in Alaska at Anchorage and Ketchikan. Specific requirements are contained in the Alaska Supplement, Regulatory Notices.

FSS indicates a flight service station on the field, and RFSS indicates a remote flight service station. These facilities might provide a local airport advisory at selected airports. The decision whether AFSSs will provide local airport advisories is still in question. Only the primary tower local control frequency appears. A star following the local control frequency indicates a part-time tower. Supplemental and additional frequencies, such as approach, secondary local control and ground frequencies, and tower hours of operation are contained on the end panels or margin of the chart and in the Airport/Facility Directory. Automatic terminal information service (ATIS), where available, is always shown. Supplemental frequencies, such as an aeronautical advisory station (UNICOM) or VFR advisory service, might be listed. The letter “C” within a circle indicates the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF): not shown on WACs. This frequency is usually the tower frequency at airports with part-time towers. Airport elevation is always in feet above mean sea level and never abbreviated, 285 feet MSL.

Runway length is the length of the longest active runway, including displaced threshold and excluding overruns. Runway length is shown to the nearest 100 feet, using 70 as the division point; a runway 8070 feet long is charted as “81,” and a runway 8069 feet long is charted as “80.” In the example, the longest runway is 7200 feet.

Airport lighting, indicated by the letter “L,” operates sunset to sunrise, unless preceded by an asterisk, which indicates limitations exist. All lighting codes refer to runway lights. The lighted runway might not be the longest or lighted full length. Pilots must refer to the Airport/Facility Directory for specific limitations, such as pilotcontrolled lighting. Other remarks are added as required, such as airport of entry. When information is not available, the respective character is replaced by a dash.

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