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What is runway heading?

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What is runway heading?

Old 6th Jan 2004, 17:18
  #21 (permalink)  
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You mean if I'm instructed to fly "rwy heading" (where PANS-OPS is applicable) I'm actually supposed to fly rwy TRACK?

Do you have a reference to where in PANS-OPS this can be found?
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 17:39
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This question is about ATC R/T Terminology. PANS-OPS doesn't deal with that, nor I suspect, do TERPS.

In UK, as I mentioned before, CAP413 removes all doubt. I think for once we got it right!
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 18:59
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PANS ATM (Doc 4444) has the following in chapter 12 of typical phraseologies: TURN OR CLIMB INSTRUCTIONS AFTER TAKE-OFF:

... heading to be followed: CONTINUE RUNWAY HEADING (instructions)

... when a specific track is to be followed: TRACK EXTENDED CENTRE LINE (instructions)
Which seems pretty clear to me.
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Old 7th Jan 2004, 05:40
  #24 (permalink)  
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It seems to me that the UK authorities confused the issue further! An instruction to "fly staright ahead" does not tell em whether or not to fly heading or track...two very different things.

If they want you to fly runway heading then you fly the SPECIFIC heading, and the let the wind do what it may.

If the ask for a TRACK then you fly a path, over the ground, whicj means correcting for wind.
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Old 7th Jan 2004, 10:18
  #25 (permalink)  

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Dan Winterland... talking to colleagues in Japan, Taiwan and Korea recently, I learned that both Japan and Taiwan are changing over to Pans Ops and that Korea uses both criteria. I guess that simplifies things a lot, huh?
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Old 7th Jan 2004, 18:51
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Trader see my post of 5 Jan. "Straight ahead" means Track in UK. No confusion whatever.
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Old 9th Jan 2004, 00:29
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When Flying Heading...

Crótalo says:
"... what ELSE might present a hazard?
"...Oh yeah -- OTHER AIRCRAFT departing on closely-spaced parallel runways?! Do you suppose two aircraft colliding might produce fatal results?"

So what are you saying?....that a crosswind would affect only one of the two parallel departing airplanes and not the other..?
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Old 9th Jan 2004, 23:47
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Keep it polite and professional please, folks.
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Old 10th Jan 2004, 20:40
  #29 (permalink)  
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I agree with ANVAK.

In Oz, if one is assigned a 'heading', you fly that heading without taking into account wind drift. An assigned heading is usually given by ATC if the aircraft is cleared on a RADAR SID. The assigned heading is usually maintained until the MVA is reached and vectors provided.

An assigned heading is not usually given if the clearance includes a procedural (as opposed to RADAR) SID. In this case the LNAV of the procedural SID must be followed (which requires compensation for wind drift).


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Old 10th Jan 2004, 21:38
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Just joking!

I would agree it means keep the aircraft over the extended runway centreline. That way you're in a position to accurately follow a SID. Also not considered yet is noise abatement which is taken into account when designing SIDs. I don't suppose the BAA or other airport owner would respond to a serious noise complaint by saying:

"Yes we are sorry you got woken up by the sound of jet engines Mr Nimby, but you see the plane got blown over your house by the wind so you really shouldn't be bothering us as it's not our fault!"

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Old 11th Jan 2004, 23:18
  #31 (permalink)  
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I have just reread my Jepp notes. Rwy Heading is just that. "No allowance for drift shall be made." And, yes my notes are current!
Old 12th Jan 2004, 07:04
  #32 (permalink)  
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Sorry, my brain cell hurts!

Heading = Track + Drift

Runway Heading = Runway QDM + 0 deg (since when did a lump of concrete anchored to mother Earth ever experience the effects of wind?)

ERGO, 'Maintain runway heading' = 'Fly the runway centreline'.

Or am I being thick and obtuse (as usual?)
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 08:07
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For the life of me I can not understand what is so complicated about this.

HEADING = that's the bit you read at the top of your HSI or some similar device. When told to fly a certain heading, whether by ATC or some written instruction, you manipulate control surfaces on the aircraft until said heading appears at the 12:00 position of your heading indicator.....HSI, RMI, Compass, Ouija Board, whatever.

Track = a heading that acounts for external forces i.e.wind, in order to maintain a specific track across the face of the planet.

Let me ask a question. If some of you are receiving radar vectors and are told to "turn right to 240" do you have 240 as an indicated heading or are you doing mental gymnastics or consulting your FMS in order to find a heading that will give you a TRACK of 240? Hopefully you are turning to a HEADING of 240. It's the same thing with maintain runway heading. How about if you are decending into the terminal area and told "maintain present heading". As you descend it's a fair bet that the winds are going to change somewhat. Do you maintain the heading that you had when you were given that instuction from ATC or do you continually maneuver the aircraft to maintain a track? Again, hopefully you are still on the same heading. It's the same thing as "maintain runway heading".

I might mention that my significant other is one of those folks on the other side of the mike.......you know one of those that might say something like "maintain present heading" and she agrees with my view.
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 08:12
  #34 (permalink)  
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A perfect summary 604guy
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 15:32
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Being as how the original question related to "runway heading", rather than a heading on a radar vector, I must disagree with you 604guy. If given an instruction to maintain runway heading, I always assume that ATC wants me going the same way as the extended centreline of the runway. Now, to my feeble and saki-soaked brain, the extended centreline is a track, so I must correct for drift, in order to track out along that path.

This is most certainly NOT the same thing as flying a heading when ATC so directs, as in radar vectoring. Seems like we'll just have to agree to differ but, as I know the protection afforded to an aircraft after take-off is conventionally based around the extended centreline, I've always figured that I'm safer there than wandering (ooops... drifting) to one side or the other.

I also figure that, on the (rare) occasions when I get it exactly right during final approach, I'm actually tracking along the extended runway centreline. I may be unique here but, in a cross-wind, I prefer to stay aligned with the runway than to allow the aircraft to drift to one side of the other of the threshold.
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 20:07
  #36 (permalink)  
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I take 'heading' to mean just that. Maintain the longitudinal axis aligned with that number. That's how the term is defined. Doesn't matter what phrase was used to derive the relevent number - radar instruction, procedure design, runway alignment or whatever.

If TRACK is what is intended then I'd expect that term to be used. Or a functionally equivalent eg 'direction' ie maintain a specific path over the ground.

I certainly DON'T expect instructions to start using an already well defined term to mean some other - and different - well defined term.

Last edited by Tinstaafl; 12th Jan 2004 at 20:26.
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Old 29th Jan 2004, 10:01
  #37 (permalink)  

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It really is incredible that this old chestnut still appears in aviation circles. As quoted by Voidhawk with reference to Doc 4444, and by 604guy, Tinstaafl, and many others with reference to common sense, the definitions of Heading and Track were carved in stone decades ago. I think Dan W was slightly misleading in his post as it did not actually clarify the definition of Heading in Pans-Ops.

Doc 8168 (PANS-OPS), the modern equivalent of stone, defines it thus (1-1) :-

Heading. The direction in which the longitudinal axis of the aircraft is pointed, usually expressed in degrees from North (true, magnetic, compass or grid).

Track. The projection on the earth's surface of the path of an aircraft, the direction of which path at any point is usually expressed in degrees from North (true, magnetic or grid).

While PANS-ATM and PANS-OPS cover different aspects of the business, these ICAO docs are co-ordinated where definitions are concerned and virtually every nation is a signatory to them.

The Americans seem to have no problem with this, nor do most other nations. The UK has officially dropped "runway heading", as per bookworm's post, because of the apparent confusion involved; amply illustrated on this thread. By issuing Heading instructions, controllers know that all within their tactical plan will be affected equally by wind effect.

The notion posted by many here that Heading on suitable occasions actually means Track is laughable. If it sounds wrong to you, query it. If, as muppet experienced, you get a bollocking for correctly following an incorrect instruction, or the instruction would compromise obstacle or noise-abate paths, file an ASR/MOR (or whatever your system) after you land. It works wonders and will usually improve something.
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Old 29th Jan 2004, 18:37
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Sorry if I misled you, but I didn't think a definition of heading was necessary. I had assumed most pilots could grasp the concept of a heading!

I was alluding to the fact that procedures are written to different criteria. Those departure procedures written under PANSOPS assume runway track will be maintained. Under TERPS, you maintain runway heading - in otherwords, no correction for drift.

This difference came to discussion last week when I did my line check out of Taipei. (Taiwan uses TERPS). Sure enough, the Jepp SID word description of the procedure mentioned heading, wheras a SID from a PANSOPS plate mentioned track.

This difference is not always understood. In the 744, you don't have to understand it. The FMC/FD knew where you were and gave you the command to fly the approprite reference. This applys to the MAP as well as the SID.

However, if a controller tells me to 'maintain runway heading', I for one would select heading and treat it as a radar heading until otherwise instructed. If he said 'maintain runway track', I would correct it for drift. I assume he/she knows what they're talking about and follow accordingly.

Personally, I think it's quite simple - but then again, I like simple things.
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Old 29th Jan 2004, 19:05
  #39 (permalink)  
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The phrase 'maintain rwy heading' may have been withdrawn from official ATC use, but I believe that the TWR controller uses it to send an aircraft down the extended centerline. I correct for drift if when given that instuction.

I agree that 'after departure continue staight ahead' or some such is much better phraseology.
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Old 29th Jan 2004, 19:10
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Just to add to the confusion in Japan the regs are quite specific in that if asked to fly runway heading they want you to fly runway number times 10 ie runway 34 departure would mean a heading of 340 even if the runway direction is 332 degres.
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