An Airport Is Adjusting Runways Because the North Magnetic Pole Is Shifting

Illustration for article titled An Airport Is Adjusting Runways Because the North Magnetic Pole Is Shifting

Did you know that the north magnetic pole is shifting at a rate of 40 miles per year? Most don't because it doesn't affect their lives. Unfortunately for Tampa International Airport it does! They're in the process of adjusting their runways.

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It's not a major change (re-naming runways to account for the shift of Earth's magnetic north pole in accordance to FAA regulation), but it's enough to have the airport close certain runways for a period of time. All runways will eventually have to be closed too, to fix the shifting issue. Flying with more delays, yes!

But all I can think about when I hear magnets and airports and airplanes is, well, Lost. So if this changing of the runways can prevent a Lost-type event from happening (and the ensuing blue balls of false hope and disappointment), then by all means! [Tampa Bay Online via Pop Sci]

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DISCUSSION

For anyone who was wondering why that affects what a runway is called it's because runways are named after their magnetic heading, minus the last digit. So basically, if you're looking directly down a runway and have a magnetic heading of 120º, that approach of the runway is called runway 12. If you were at the opposite side looking down the same runway, you'd obviously have a magnetic heading of 300º, being the opposite direction, making that approach of the same runway called runway 30. So by the magnetic pole shifting, it's causing these headings to change slightly, creating the need for updated names to keep in FAA regulation.

Anyway, I didn't know that until a few years ago, so thought I'd share!