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Ask the Pilot, with Captain Mike Bowers


Q: Why do some runways criss-cross each other?  How do intersecting runways affect takeoffs and landings?
A: Because we always want to take off and land into the wind, runways are aligned with the prevailing winds. Because wind patterns can change with varying weather conditions, most airports have additional runways aligned with different potential wind directions. Unless the airport has a large amount of area to use, the runways normally cross each other.  When wind conditions allow, air traffic controllers may coordinate the flow of traffic to enable the use of intersecting runways — of course, keeping airplanes safely separated.

Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? You can write to him at askthepilot@united.com

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