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a landing and taking-off area for aircraft, usually with permanent buildings



(in Russian, aerodrom), a complex of structures, equipment, and land area with airspace intended for the takeoff, landing, accommodation, and servicing of aircraft.

Airfields are divided into two basic groups—civilian and military. According to their service function, airfields are categorized as airport airfields, which provide accommodation for and regular flights of transport aviation along air routes, and special-purpose airfields for factory, instructional, sport and club, agricultural, forestry (fire fighting), and ambulance aviation, as well as composite and other types. According to the type of usage, airfields may be permanent (equipped for regular service) or temporary. Military airfields are divided, according to the extent of the equipment and the kind of usage, into major, reserve, and dummy airfields; and according to their purpose, into army, training, route, and special airfields. Airfields are also classified according to the type of aircraft operating from them, the dimensions of the area, the load capacity of the airfield pavement, and other characteristics. The two main parts of an airfield are the airfield area proper (flight zone) and the airspace adjoining it, or terminal airspace.

The flight zone is the principal part of an airfield. It is made up of a flight field, shoulder and overrun strips, and approaches. The flight field is the portion of an airfield on which there are one or more runways, taxiways, and parking areas for aircraft. A runway is a specially prepared and equipped part of the ground which provides for the takeoff and landing of aircraft in either of two opposite directions. The majority of airfields in the USSR are built with a single runway; this provides for fairly high traffic intensity. Some Soviet and foreign airfields have several runways placed parallel or at an angle to one another. The length of a runway, depending on the class of the airfield, may be between 1,000 and 5,000 m; the width, from 200 to 360 m. The longest runways are generally positioned in the direction of the prevailing winds and are used more intensively; they are called the main runways, and the others are called secondary. The predominant feature of the runway is the operating area, including the paved takeoff and landing strip and the radio and light signaling apparatus, which ensure 24-hour and year-round aeronautical operation. Adjoining the runways are the overrun strips, which are areas used to prevent the danger of an accident when an aircraft overruns the limits of the airstrip during a premature landing or aborted takeoff. Shoulder strips are provided beside the runways for the movement of aircraft along the ground in case of possible deviations outside the limits of the operating area during ground runs. The taxiways are tracks for taxiing and towing aircraft that interconnect the separate airfield elements and the service area. Taxiways are divided into principal (main and connecting) and secondary types.

The most important element of an airfield is the approaches—the airspace adjoining the ends of the runway in the directions of aircraft takeoff and landing. In order to ensure accuracy in aircraft instrument landing approaches, radio range systems (course, glide path, marker, and others) are utilized.

The final stage of aircraft landings is accomplished with the help of high intensity lights. These are set on the extensions of the runway axis at a distance of about 1,000 m from the ends. There are five or six lighted crossbars (separated from each other by 150 m) across the line of approach lights. Located along the runway (with a spacing of 7.5 to 15 m) are axial lights. For aircraft landings under particularly complicated meteorological conditions, lights are set up in the touchdown areas (in Russian, a “light mat”) at the ends of the runways.

Air traffic is controlled by means of radar monitoring, air communications, and ground communications.


Izyskanie i proektirovanie aerodromov. Edited by V. F. Bobkov. Moscow, 1963.
Stroitel’stvo aerodromov, Moscow, 1968.



(civil engineering)
The area of an airport for the takeoff and landing of airplanes.


Any area on which aircraft may land, take off, park, and be serviced. It includes buildings and installations to support flying and maintenance operations. Also known as an airport, airstrip, or aerodrome. On aeronautical charts, airfields are depicted as in the illustration.
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