On Wed, 8 Sep 2004 22:01:29 -0400
David Megginson <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On Wed, 8 Sep 2004 18:35:07 -0400, Chris Metzler
> <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>> 5.  I don't know anything about how these signs are handled outside
>> the U.S.  If you do, let me know.
> I'd be interested in knowing more about how these signs are handled
> inside the US.  I've flown my Warrior to several US airports --
> Massena (KMSS), Caldwell (KCDW), Philadelphia (KPHL), Boston/Norwood
> (KOWD), Republic (KFRG), and Plattsburgh (KPLB) -- and I do not
> remember ever seeing signs like you describe, though I might have
> missed them in the clutter at KPHL.  I suspect that these might be a
> special case for a tiny handful of airports, not a common feature.

I'd be stunned if they weren't at KPHL.  I've never flown into/out of
there, so I cannot say.  And, sadly, I'm only hoping to be a pilot
in the future, so I definitely can't speak to small airports --
which, of course, are most of the airports out there.  But they're
a fixture at larger airports here; when I land in an airliner, I
always look out the window for these signs to see how much of the
runway the pilot uses.

FAR Part 139, the U.S. regs for airport design, do not require the
signs.  However, on the FAA's website, an FAQ list written in 1992
indicated that they were considering doing so for all airports that
are served by air carriers flying jets:

} 41. It is our understanding that a change is going to be made to
} FAR Part 139 to require runway distance remaining signs on runways
} served by air carrier turbojet aircraft. Paragraph 23 of
} AC 150/5340-18C states that these signs should be designed so that
} they are illuminated whenever the runway lights are illuminated.
} The standards for these signs contained in AC 150/5340-44E only
} provides for lighted signs. Is it intended to require these signs
} be lighted on unlighted runways?
} A definitive answer cannot be provided until the rulemaking referred
} to in the question is completed. At this time the FAA is on record
} that it will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to Part 139
} which would require runway distance remaining signs. The details of
} this NPRM have not been finalized. It is unlikely that the NPRM would
} require lighted signs on an unlighted runway. Once the NPRM is issued,
} any comments received in response to it will be evaluated and
} considered in developing the final rule. 

So this just says that they were considering it; did they decide not
to?  The copy of the new version of FAR Part 139 that made it into
the Federal Register includes the comments it received upon its
initial submission, and those include:

} Comment:  One commenter, ALPA, recommends the FAA expedite the
} rulemaking for distance remaining signs (signs that are installed
} every 1,000 feet along the runway to advise pilots how much of the
} runway remains).  Specifically, ALPA suggests that the FAA publish
} a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking so requirements for
} distance remaining signs could be included in this final rule.
} FAA Response:  The FAA disagrees.  As noted in the proposal (65 FR
} 38641), this rulemaking intentionally does not address distance
} remaining signs.  This matter was referred to the ARAC.  At its
} meeting on June 21, 2001, the ARAC accepted the working group's
} majority report on distance remaining signs.  The majority report
} recommended that no regulation change was needed to require distance
} remaining signs as the vast majority of airport operators have already
} installed such signs on their air carrier runways.

So this seems to indicate that they're not required, but are present
on the "vast majority" of runways used by air carriers (which is,
of course, a small fraction of all the runways in the country).


Chris Metzler                   [EMAIL PROTECTED]
                (remove "snip-me." to email)

"As a child I understood how to give; I have forgotten this grace since I
have become civilized." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

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