About Tabletop Runways
Tabletop runways are typically built on hilly or highlands. These airports are being built with trenches or valleys before and after the length of the runway. Or you could say that the tabletop runway is on hills and plateaus and flanked by deep canyons, making it a difficult question in bad weather.
Accurate landing is therefore very important. Tabletops are very tricky and are a challenge even for the best pilots. A slight delay in these circumstances can lead to a fatal accident. “If visibility is poor and there is a tailwind, it will be difficult to land at a tabletop airport,” said a pilot for national airline Air India. According to Air India’s chief pilot, “For tabletop runways, automation may not be useful. The illusion of an eye is that the runway appears to be close, but also appears far away. , buffer area is not much.
India Tabletop Airport
India At least five airports have tabletop runways: Mangaroa Kerala Kojikode in Karnataka, Renpui Himachal Pradesh in Mizoram, and Pakuon in Shimla Sikkim Pradesh. Safety concerns were first raised in 2010 after the Mangalo Air India Express crashed, killing about 160 people on board. The 2010 report warns of operations at such “critical airfields.” Certain airfields are classified as DGCA Critical, and flight crews require special qualifications to operate. Factors that classify an airfield as critical are terrain, runway length, the predominance of bad weather, etc.
Why is the Tabletop runway dangerous?
First of all, the design of such a runway is dangerous at the beginning and end. Great training for pilots to land is required. It can be dangerous regardless of the weather or time. Another reason may be the way the runways lined the horizon and ridges to create the drop-hiding optical illusion. If the pilot has no experience at the airport, there is a chance that he will mistakenly overshoot the remaining length of the runway. Aircraft landing on these runways should be particularly careful to make sure they hit the correct mark not too small and not too early to land. Did you know that the Court of Investigation after the Mangal Crash recommends urgently establishing an independent Indian Civil Aviation Safety Board (ICASB) for the rapid growth of domestic aviation?
Himachal Pradesh Tabletop Airport
Himachal Pradesh is the most preferred and visited tourist destination in India. And most people travel by flight to the state. But not many people are aware that the Tabletop airport in Shimla is one of the riskiest airports in India.
Shimla airport needs timely expansion, as suggested by aviation experts. On average, 12 to 15 flights arrive at the Tabletop airport in Shimla on monthly basis. Also, the Heli taxi service is operated regularly from the place. The state officials have raised an issue with the airport authority over the expansion of Jubbarhatti, which is 22 km away from Shimla for safe landing operations of the flights.
The runway at the airport is 1200 meters long, and its expansion is facing abnormal delays owing to the private land and forest area. However, for a runaway extension, the minimum required length is more than 1500 meters, which enables more than a 40 seater aircraft to operate as per the safety norms.
According to aviation experts, landing a flight in Shimla is challenging because of the gorges surrounding the runway. The airstrip in Kullu town also runs parallel to the Beas river. Though Shimla airport has adopted many safety measures, still there needs to be an expansion of the airport to mitigate the risk of slipping aircraft.
Shimla airport needs an expansion on a priority basis for the safety of people. The Himachal state government is planning a new airport in the Mandi district, which will help to boost the tourism of Shimla. The civil aviation minister also gave principle approval for the construction.