What Do The Numbers on the Runways Mean?
The numbers signify the direction (heading) of the runway.
Runways are numbered with the first two numbers of their heading (using magnetic north), with runway 01 pointing almost north (36, signifying 360 degrees, points directly north), 09 pointing east, 18 pointing south, and 27 pointing west.
What happens if you have multiple runways in the same direction, which is very common at large airports? Then you add a letter, L for left, C for center, and R for right.
This global standard results in a uniform runway numbering system that gives the pilot a great deal of information in a concise, reliable, manner.
As a sidenote, if the runway can be used in both directions, it will have two different notations. For example, a perfect north-south runway that’s parallel to another runway could be 36-R for a plane landing from the south or 18-L for a plane landing from the north.
If you are interested, there is a more detailed explanation and additional comments in case you want to know it all …
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