Thursday, August 3, 2017

Runway Improvement project at KLBE

I just wanted to give details about the upcoming improvement project on Runway 23-5 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
As some already have heard, the runway will be closed from September 12th - 20th. The project will entail milling 1" off the entire runway, repaving with a 2" layer and painting the runway markings and resetting the runway lighting system.

The runway will be renumbered 24/6. Why? Here is the explanation in a nutshell:

  • NOAA, NOS, and NGS (see below) provide the magnetic variation information, and publish it every five years. They work with a bunch of different offices, and different branches of the military as they make adjustments. When a determination is made that a runway number should be changed, they coordinate with several other groups (such as AeroNav Products, OSG-FPT, the applicable Airport Traffic Service Area Office, and the Airports Division), to choose the actual number used, based on "careful consideration and evaluation of a number of factors" and then to make the actual changes in charting, runway markings and signs, etc.
  • They are supposed to change it when it is more than three degrees off from what it is should to be. AC 150/5340-1L - Standards for Airport Markings contains the official runway designator rules (paraphrased): If the actual magnetic course of the runway ends in 5, it can use either number, otherwise you round to the closest runway number (there are some variations for special cases like parallel runways and such, but this covers most runways). So in your example, 145 is still valid as runway 14, and they wouldn't need to change it until it exceeds 148 deg. In your case, the annual rate of change for Farmingdale airport (as of 2010) is 0.0 deg East, so I don't see that happening for awhile. 
After careful consideration, it was decided that closing the runway to do the work would be better in the long run. Closing the runway and performing work each night, then opening back up for day operations, would take longer and not be as efficient. The construction company will be working non-stop on the project. Weather permitting, it is possible that the project "could" be completed sooner than the 20th but there is no guarantee. It is wise to plan accordingly if you are anticipating a trip in your airplane during that period of time. 

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