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AUS Runway 17L/35R is no more

Illustration for article titled AUS Runway 17L/35R is no more
Photo: metavr.com

I haven’t been out to Austin-Bergstrom International to take pictures since April of last year, and now that I finally have a bit of time, there’s no point. Runway 17L/35R, which is next to the observation parking lot, is closed, and has been for months. And when it reopens at the end of October, it won’t be 17L/35R any more. It will be 18L/36R.

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I wrote a piece a few years ago about airport runways. The numbers of any runway correspond to the airstrip’s compass heading. But magnetic north wanders around a bit, and has moved significantly since the Earth cooled into it’s current shape. Every so often the pole moves enough that a runway has to be renumbered because the heading is no longer accurate. And now that will happen to the runways at Austin-Bergstrom International. The shorter of the two runways at the former SAC base will become 18L/36R, while the longer runway, originally built for B-52s, will become 18R/36L. With the change comes new signage for runways and taxiways, and new charts. Fortunately, this only happens every 50-60 years or so.

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A chart showing the old runway designation of 17 and 35
A chart showing the old runway designation of 17 and 35
Photo: City of Austin
An American Airlines Airbus A319 lands on the former runway 17L at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport
An American Airlines Airbus A319 lands on the former runway 17L at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport
Photo: Tim Shaffer

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