London City Airport is a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) airport located in the east of London.
London City Airport’s runway designators ‘28’ and ‘10’ are the abbreviated magnetic runway headings of 280° and 100°. These headings are used to identify the direction in which the runway was being used.
As the earth slowly orbits in a circular path, the direction from a fixed object, like the airport’s runway, to magnetic north is constantly moving.
The direction of magnetic north decreases by approximately eight minutes of a degree every 12 months, therefore every seven and a half years it is altered by one degree. The amount of annual change depends on where in the world the fixed object is located.
In the UK, there is a directional change moving west which causes the runway heading to decrease. This means that the magnetic heading of the airport’s runway has moved by almost 10°since being established in 1987. Consequently London City Airport’s runway designation was changed to 270° and 090°, abbreviated as ’27’ and ‘09’.
A team of staff and contractors worked throughout the night to change the airport’s signage and paint markings. It's amazing how they manage to get all of this done overnight without any confusion or problems- the paperwork to change all the airport charts and the navigation charts can be mind-boggling.
It may be at least 50 years before the runway designation needs to change again at London City Airport.
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