Friday, October 5, 2012

Taxiway tour

I got the opportunity to take a ride with one of the airport ops guys recently, so today I'll take you down to ground level. We'll start in the middle of the airport, just west of the TBIT, on Taxiway Sierra, shown in red on the airport diagram:

Looking north along the centerline; that's the old TWA maintenance hangar on the left, and the north end of the remodeled TBIT (including new gate 134) on the right. That thing in the distance is a large lighted "X" used to show that the taxiway is closed.
This is what it looks like up close

Seen at night
Sierra, looking to the south

As I've mentioned before, Taxiway Sierra is closed. And here's why:

One of the recent earthquakes broke a water main that runs beneath the taxiway. It was several hours before the gushing water was turned off. In the meantime, the compacted earth base supporting the taxiway was severely eroded, making it structurally unsound.

The airport is currently excavating to determine the extent of the damage.

A section of the removed pipe, with my foot to illustrate the size.

Some more views of Sierra:

The north end of the TBIT, with a Cathay Pacific B777 at gate 134.

Since Sierra is going to be closed for a considerable time, the airport has designated several temporary parking spots on the southern end; here demonstrated by an Allegiant MD-80.

There are more parking slots along Taxiway Romeo (shown in blue on the diagram above), seen here from the southern end. That's the American maintenance hangar on the right.

A pair of Qantas A380s on the ramp, waiting for their evening departures

Seen in a couple of the earlier photos are these ultra low profile barriers:

To help you see the size of these things, that's a standard Monster can between the lights

Mentioned in comments posted to a September entry, these are one of the ways the airport uses to block off closed taxiways. In an (apparently now deleted) post on another blog, a B757 captain told the story of how these are very difficult to see until you're nearly on top of them. That's understandable, considering that they're only 10" high.


  1. I haven't even gone over this post yet....but I love it......
    So Thanks for taking the time, to show us Geeks.......up close and personal............
    Big Smile...:)))))))