Pyke: Which neighborhoods will be in flight path of new O'Hare runway?

  • A new runway is landing at O'Hare this week, and with it, new flight patterns. What suburban neighborhoods will be afflicted by jet noise remains uncertain, federal officials say.

      A new runway is landing at O'Hare this week, and with it, new flight patterns. What suburban neighborhoods will be afflicted by jet noise remains uncertain, federal officials say. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, August 2015

Updated 10/12/2015 12:22 PM

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.

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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

Your voice

Walter Miller of Roselle wrote in to say "yes" for a minimum of two crew members on freight trains carrying crude oil.

"Electronic technology has gotten good, but not so good yet to recognize pending issues like track misalignment (and) obstacles on the track," he writes. "Nothing is like human eyes, ears and reaction to unforeseen conditions. A minimum of two people (is needed) for the following reasons: bathroom breaks, stress (or) monotony breaks to be more refreshed."

And reader Scott McCullagh of Batavia had this to say about the scandal over Volkswagen rigging diesel models to pass emission tests. "I own a beautiful, 2013 VW Passat SEL 360," he wrote.

"It is glacier blue with a tan leather/microfiber interior. This hubbub about diesel models should not affect those of us who are delighted with our vehicles. This was an egregious error in judgment, not an indictment of German engineering."


You ignored the battery warnings and now your smartphone is about to pay the price. Fortunately, you can now charge without charge at four Metra stations. The railroad has completed installation of charging stations at the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Millennium, Van Buren Street and LaSalle Street stations. Another charging station will be finished at the ticketing area in Union Station within a few months. Smartphones, tablets and laptops can be powered up for free. Metra also will offer free Wi-Fi in station waiting areas within 45 days.

Gridlock alert

• The Tri-State Tollway bridge over North Avenue/Lake Street in Melrose Park gets some TLC this month, which means lane closures overnight and at off-peak hours this Saturday and Sunday.

• Sugar Grove drivers headed for Dugan Road need a Plan B. IDOT will close the south leg of the intersection at Route 30 Friday through November to work on intersection improvements.

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