Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UPDATE: 21 December 2011

Happy Holidays!
Recent Kodiak Airport EIS project updates have been used to alert you to
meetings or let you know what progress has been made since previous
communications.  I think we are now sufficiently advanced with our project
planning and alternatives development to start using these updates to
provide more in-depth information, especially concerning topics or issues
of widespread interest.  We have plenty of material with which to work, but
don’t hesitate to let me know if you have suggestions for future updates.
FAA fielded a number of questions concerning runway use during our Runway
Safety Area EIS meetings in November.  For example, while most people are
generally aware of the types of aircraft flying in and out of that airport,
especially the commercial aircraft, there was widespread interest in
learning which runways are the busiest and why.  This project update should
answer some of those questions.
Let me start by reviewing runway characteristics and some of the key
factors influencing runway use at Kodiak Airport.  I’ve attached a figure
that will help you to follow the different runway references.
As you know, Kodiak has three runways.
   Runway 07/25 is the longest runway at 7,542 feet and is the most often
   used, especially for commercial and military aircraft. This is the
   runway used when landing from, or taking off to, the east.
   Runway 18/36 is 5,013 feet long and used by both commercial and military
   aircraft.  Even though Runway 18/36 is shorter than Runway 11/29, the
   north-south alignment and generally favorable terrain beyond the runway
   ends allow it to be used by larger aircraft.
   Runway 11/29 is 5,399 feet in total length and, because of the
   mountainous terrain inland of this runway, is normally used only by
   smaller general aviation aircraft.  FAA is not considering expansion of
   the Runway 11/29 Runway Safety Areas because they already meet standards
   for the smaller general aviation aircraft that are the primary users of
   that runway.  Larger aircraft do use this runway, but not often enough
   to warrant development of larger safety areas.
Runway length is certainly a factor in the process of deciding which runway
to use for an operation (i.e. a takeoff or landing), but not the only one.
Terrain is an important consideration relative to Kodiak Airport; for
example, Barometer Mountain limits approaches from, or departures to, the
west on Runway 07/25.
Aircraft characteristics are also a key factor in runway use.  Generally
speaking, the larger (in terms of weight and wing-span) and faster (in
terms of landing or takeoff speeds) aircraft need more runway.  Finally,
wind direction is a critical element of the decision-making process for
each operation.  It is easier and safer for aircraft to land or takeoff
into the wind.  Other considerations may include the types of navigational
aids for a particular runway, such as landing lights or approach slope
indicators, or the availability of special approach procedures.
So, knowing the runway lengths and something about the other elements that
influence operational decisions, what does the data tell us about runway
utilization at Kodiak Airport?
Air traffic control tower staff estimated that about half of the aircraft
activity takes place on Runway 07/25.  Of the remaining operations, the
north-south Runway 18/36 gets slightly more use (~28% of operations) than
does the northwest-southeast trending Runway 11/29 (~22% of operations).
Again, though, these numbers reflect all fixed-wing aircraft, large or
small, and include military, commercial and general aviation (but not
helicopter operations).
It is equally instructive to consider runway use in terms of the types of
operation and the individual aircraft types. We’ve compiled information
supplied by Alaska Airlines, Era Aviation, and the Coast Guard concerning
the larger aircraft they fly into Kodiak:
   · Alaska Airlines (Boeing 737-400 aircraft):
         o 99% of takeoffs are conducted on Runway 07; 90% of landings are
            conducted on Runway 25.
         o 10% of landings are conducted on Runway 36; less than 1% of
            operations take place on Runway 18, and Runway 11/29.
   · Era Aviation (Dash-8 Turboprop aircraft):
         o 80% of takeoffs are conducted on Runway 07; 75% of landings are
            conducted on Runway 25.
         o Approximately 17% of takeoffs and landings are conducted on
            Runway 36; most of the remainder of their operations (about 5%)
            is on Runway 18.  Rarely, and primarily due to wind conditions,
            the Dash-8 will use Runway 11/29.
   · Coast Guard (C-130 cargo aircraft):
         o Approximately 80% of annual operations take place on Runway
         o Runway 36 is used for about 15% of operations, and Runway 18
            for another 5%.
The data for these three operators can’t be directly compared because of
differences in how each of them estimated runway usage for their own
aircraft.  However, it is obvious that Runway 07/25 not only accommodates
about as many annual operations as the other two runways combined, but more
than ¾ of the “large” aircraft operations take place on it as well. Indeed,
because of its length and a “precision” instrument approach to Runway end
25 for landings from the east, Runway 07/25 is the most used runway at
Kodiak Airport.  Runway 18/36 serves to accommodate aircraft operations
when the winds are not favorable for takeoffs or landings on Runway 07/25.
I hope this information helps explain the differences in runway use at
Kodiak Airport.  We should have other opportunities to answer some of your
questions from the meetings in future updates.  By the way, we’ve loaded
all the previous project updates from 2011 on the website at
Again, thank you for continuing to stay involved in this project.  Please
don’t hesitate to call (271-5453) or write ( if you
have questions, comments or concerns.
Leslie Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division