Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Construction update

The last piece of the southern arm of the old Tom Bradley International Terminal was demolished earlier this month. Once the structure was gone, the underlying concrete was also removed. It will be replaced with new concrete that will form the ramp for the gates on the east side of the new TBIT, in the C-10 alley:

Here's another shot, from just a couple of days ago:

Meanwhile, on the west side of the TBIT, construction of the new Taxiway T is well underway. Here's a shot of our TBIT westside screen:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pop quiz explained

Just so we're all together here, I'll start with a recap of the pop quiz photo (above). We have a beautifully-centered shot of one of the many antennas that adorn the control tower. Lurking in the background is Terminal Two, and beyond it the north runway complex (24 left & right). On Taxiway E is a short line of aircraft on their way out for departure: a pair of A380s, with an A320 sandwiched between.

Although several of you commented about how it could be gotten out from behind the Singapore A380, the A320 is actually a red herring. To address your points, though: Yes, the A320 could access the runway via E-8 if the local (tower) controller chose to go that route; we do it all the time. It's to our advantage to do this, as it keeps the A320 out of the wake turbulence as well as keeping the A320 from having to wait for the runway inspection that will follow the A380's departure. To answer the question that I know some of you are asking: Yes, each A380 departure off Runway 24 Left (or 6 Right) requires a runway inspection -- Even if the very next departure is another A380. The reason is that the A380s regularly destroy runway signs with their jet blast, and the debris fouls the runway. And to address the second point raised in the comments: Yes, the A320 can turn at D-8, but the first A380 must have turned the corner onto Taxiway V. There really wouldn't be any advantage to that, however, unless the A320 was then run around the approach end of 24 Left (via E-7) to access the runway from the north side -- or to use Runway 24 Right. A lot of effort to accomplish, and it will require coordination with the ground controller. The only scenario I can easily conceive that would call for this would be if the first A380 reached the runway without being ready for departure, but the pilot thinks that it will be ready soon. Remember that once the A380 reaches the position where we see Singapore in the above shot, the only place for the airplane to go is onto the runway, even if it is unable to take off. I've personally had this happen, and at the time the only way out was for the A380 to take the runway and taxi all the way down to exit at Taxiway AA. Since then, Taxiway Z has been approved for an A380 to exit the runway, but even so it requires a long taxi down the runway to get there. Of course, the other reason the A320 might turn at D-8 would be because it was an inbound aircraft on the way to its gate. If that was the case, though, in most circumstances it wouldn't have been put behind the A380 in the first place. But I digress . . .

The issue at hand is the pair of A380s. Specifically, the new requirement that an A380 on Taxiway E must be east of Taxiway D-9 if another A380 is using Runway 24 Left for departure. This is because the runway and taxiway are sufficiently close together that there isn't much wingtip clearance if two A380s pass wingtip-to-wingtip. The logic is that it is safer for the two A380s to pass at the low-speed part of the takeoff roll. This makes sense when you consider that if the departing A380 strayed off the runway centerline, it will be moving at a slower speed and is likely to have a smaller deviation toward the other A380. At higher speeds, a deviation of the same time duration will involve a greater distance, and a corresponding greater likelihood of striking the other A380. What this means is that the Singapore A380 may not commence its takeoff roll until the Air France A380 has made it past Taxiway D-9. In the shot above, Air France is in the intersection of E and D-9. Here is how things looked when Singapore actually rolled:

In your comments, some of you referenced an earlier post in which I included a diagram of A380 restrictions. Here is the current one for the north side of the airport:

And here is the corresponding diagram for the south side of the field:

It's hard to see on the diagram, but we also have a similar restriction on the south side of the airport. An A380 on Taxiway A must be east of Taxiway A-3 if another A380 is taking off on Runway 25 Left. 

If we are east traffic, then the A380 zones are at the other ends: An A380 on E must be west of BB in order for another A380 to depart on Runway 6 Right, and an A380 on A must be west of T if another A380 is rolling on 7 Right.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shot of the day: Pop quiz

This shot is one of a series that I took for our training department. It illustrates the latest complication added to our airport restrictions. Any guesses, anyone?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shot of the day: World Cup

The World Cup passed through Los Angeles last week, on its way to Brazil. Sorry about the quality of the photo: if you think this shot is less than optimum, you should see the others!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another new arrival: Saudia

We're expecting to add service from several new carriers at LAX this year, and the second of them (Norwegian being the first) appeared last week. Saudia, the flag carrier for Saudi Arabia, has begun direct service to/from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - the only direct service between Los Angeles and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. LAX is also Saudia's only destination on the west coast. There will be three flights a week in brand new B777-300s. The flights take fourteen to fifteen hours, and will operate out of the TBIT.