Airport Approach Surface

What is an Airport’s Approach Surface?


Each runway has several imaginary surfaces, one being called an Approach Surface that exists primarily to prevent existing or proposed manmade objects, objects of natural growth or terrain from extending upward into navigable airspace.


A basic definition of an Airport’s Approach Surface for a Precision Instrument Runway is an imaginary surface that is the same width as the Primary Surface which begins at the Primary Surface end and extends upward and outward from the Primary Surface end and is centered along an extended runway centerline.


The slope of this Approach Surface is 50:1 for the inner 10,000 feet and 40:1 for an additional 40,000 feet.  The Approach Surface width is that of the Primary Surface at the beginning and increases uniformly to a width of 16,000 feet at a distance of 50,000 feet from the end of the Primary Surface.


Approach Surfaces for a Non-Precision Instrument Approach, a Non-Precision Approach, a Visual Approach and an Area Navigation Approach vary in width, slope and distance from the above basic Approach Surface for a Precision Instrument Runway definition, which is the most restrictive of an Airport’s Approach Surfaces.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will frequently issue a Notice of Presumed Hazard or a Determination of Hazard in response to an FAA Form 7460-1 filing for any proposed structure that penetrates the Airport’s Approach Surfaces. 


Once a sponsor has received an unfavorable determination based upon the penetration of an Airport’s Approach Surface, it would be prudent to engage an aviation consultant who has extensive expertise in developing innovative and workable solutions that will either allow them to develop their structure as planned or that will mitigate the FAA’s issues resulting in a favorable determination.


Williams Aviation Consultants Inc. has been very successful in receiving a favorable determination from the FAA for our clients that had previously received a Notice of Presumed Hazard or a Determination of Hazard.


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