The Narrow Field Landing

747 landing on a 50 foot wide runwayEvery pilot learns to perform short-field landings. Indeed, we take pride in demonstrating the skill with which we extract maximum performance from our aircraft.

But a ‘narrow field’ landing? Who ever heard of that? And in a Boeing 747? There’s something you don’t see every day.

Yet that was the task facing the flight crew of this South African Airways 747-200 when they delivered it to the SAA Museum at Rand Airport in South Africa.

The runway at Rand is only 50 feet wide, and the 747 has an outer-to-outer main gear tire width of 41.33 ft. That gave the pilot just four feet of room on either side! Combine this with a Vref landing speed of 115 knots, a comparatively short runway distance of 4898 feet, and you have the making of an e-ticket ride.

It’s sadly ironic that more than a few single-engine GA pilots would consider this field mildly challenging even in an airplane with a five foot wheel base.

  2 comments for “The Narrow Field Landing

  1. Glass, Chuck
    November 1, 2004 at 2:59 am

    Thanks for sending me these photographs. I just had to find out more information about it. – later

  2. tharsim
    October 27, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    That’s why, the centerline land, it’s so important!

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