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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shift in magnetic north requires runway relabeling

Scientists say the Earth's magnetic north pole is moving, so officials at Tampa International Airport are relabeling its main runway to reflect the change.
Airport officials closed the runway until Jan. 13 to repaint numeric designators and change taxiway signs.
The runway has been labeled on aviation charts as 18R/36L, indicating its location along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south. It will become 19R/1L.
The change was required by the Federal Aviation Administration to account for a gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic pole at nearly 40 miles a year toward Russia. It's being caused by magnetic changes in the planet's core.
(That's the whole article, at least as it appeared in the Miami Herald)


  1. NAUTICAL LOG is amazed to learn that these are Magnetic headings we had always presumed they were True headings. If so why not?
    Good Watch.

  2. I don't know. Like many things, probably tradition. And, if you've lost GPS and all of your other electronics and all you have to land the plane by is your magnetic compass, that's a lousy time to be calculating variation and deviation. But, that's just a guess.

  3. If you are landing a plane would you not be on the glide path and be on VFR? But as most likely shows I am NOT a plane pilot. Being just an "ancient mariner" ship navigator and I would already know my compass error for the area I am navigating in. Now I am even more uneasy about flying!!
    Good Watch.