Thursday, February 13, 2014

Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK) Maryland

Airport runway numbering system

Please allow me to clarify a misstatement in the recent news story headlined “Commission considers changes to runway expansion plan” in the Tuesday, Feb. 11, Frederick News-Post. “Runways 5 and 23” are actually one runway. It is called “Runway 5/23” because it is aligned in a northeast/southwest direction. Or, more exactly, it faces 051 degrees and 231 degrees on the magnetic compass.

Further, only one of these two runways is used at any given time. Airplanes do not use one for takeoff and one for landing. Airplanes typically take off and land into the wind, so if Runway 23 is being used for takeoff, it would also be used for landing.

The prevailing wind direction for most of the year is from the southwest, hence Runway 23 is the most commonly used runway at Frederick Municipal Airport. In the winter months, rather strong winds from the northwest are a common occurrence. Thus, Runway 30 is frequently the runway that is most aligned with the wind in the winter.



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