# What direction do airport runways face?

## What direction do airport runways face?

They blow away from the poles and curve east to west. Hence, most of the runways are Eastish-Westish (not exactly East-West). Runway directions are largely chosen both for geographic land features of the site of the airport as well as the average local wind directions.

Can you land on either side of runway?

Airport runways are 2-way. You can, in theory, land or take-off in either direction. Every runway has a number, which is its magnetic heading. So, a runway named 03 (030 degrees), has the other side named 21, (210 degrees), a 180 degree reciprocal.

### How is runway orientation decided?

All runways are numbered based on the magnetic azimuth (compass bearing) in which a runway is oriented. So if you’re on runway 9, then you’re heading east (90 degrees on a compass). Runway 36 means you’re moving north, and so on. Most runways can typically be used in either direction, depending on prevailing winds.

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Why do airport runways cross?

Crosswinds make landing more difficult. Thus airports will often have runways aligned at different angles and sometimes intersecting each other, because of the capricious wind directions. A very important reason is to provide an alternative runway to align with the wind.

## Why do airline pilots prefer to take off into the wind?

Pilots prefer to land and take off in headwind because it increases the lift. In headwind, a lower ground speed and a shorter run is needed for the plane to become airborne. Landing into the wind has the same advantages: It uses less runway, and ground speed is lower at touchdown.

What is a crab in aviation?

Crabbing involves turning the nose into the wind so that some component of the aircraft’s thrust is counteracting the crosswind, allowing the aircraft’s ground track to align with the runway. The opposite rudder is applied to prevent the aircraft from turning and maintain the ground track parallel to the runway.