Pyke: Which neighborhoods will be in flight path of new O'Hare runway?
This week, thanks to a curious reader, we're learning about a twist to Runway 10-Right/28-Left, which is opening Thursday at O'Hare International Airport.
Reader Alex Marks wanted to know whether "the flight pattern of the planes landing on the new south runway" will worsen the din from jets in his Bloomingdale neighborhood.
Good question, but to answer it I'll need a protractor and a map.
That's because the Federal Aviation Authority will require aircraft landing at 10-Right/28-Left to approach from an angle, an unusual tactic at O'Hare that is used at other airports.
It's known as an offset, and it's necessary because 10R/28L falls slightly short of the required space between it and the nearest runway (10-Center/28-Center). The FAA had talked about the possibility of an offset months ago, but the Chicago Department of Aviation just recently released details.
Pilots are being instructed to approach the runway from a 2.5-degree angle to the south, then straighten out within five to 10 miles of landing.
If you drew a line west from 10R/28L it would extend past Fenton High School and Bensenville village hall to Bloomingdale.
But pinpointing which neighborhoods the new path will afflict or spare is not something officials are prepared to predict.
In tandem with the offset, pilots will follow a special "precision runway monitor" (PRM) approach aimed at preventing any midair collisions or near-misses. It boils down to an air traffic controller operating a separate radio frequency and issuing warnings if one airplane is drifting too close to another or if a go-round is necessary.
As background, 10-Center/28-Center's commissioning in October 2013 signaled the city's seismic shift to a parallel runway system with an east/west flow.
While the switch provided relief for some communities, it opened a new noise front elsewhere in pockets of Chicago and the suburbs.
"The inbound jet aircraft noise to O'Hare is unrelenting," wrote Wayne's Jeff Tomaszewski, who's wondering what to do.
Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has promised a more equal distribution of noise in 2021 when six parallel runways are complete. Until then the new runway will be used mainly for arrivals from the west and operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.
Currently, 30 percent of O'Hare is in "east flow," in which jets land from the west and depart to the east.
The new runway should handle about 125 flights landing from the west (11.8 percent of total O'Hare arrivals) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the FAA projects.
Few departures are expected on 10-Right/28-Left.
You should know
• The south runway isn't expected to be landing large widebody aircraft such as Boeing 777s or Airbus A330s.
• Expect a painful 20-minute taxi to terminals.
Got an opinion about O'Hare's new runway? Of course you do. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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