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California Briefing / Los Angeles

FAA issues Airbus correction

February 13, 2009|Dan Weikel

The Federal Aviation Administration this week corrected information that agency officials provided to The Times for a Jan. 25 article about the special handling that Airbus A380s receive when the jumbo jets operate at Los Angeles International Airport.

Officials originally said that air traffic controllers are required to hold A380s 4,000 feet from the departure ends of runways in bad weather because the world's largest passenger plane might interfere with the airport's instrument landing system. The technology, which uses radio signals, guides aircraft into LAX during foggy or cloudy conditions.

The FAA now says that the aircraft does not interfere with the landing system, but air traffic controllers keep A380s away from the departure end of a runway in poor weather because of a safety issue raised by the height of the tail, which is almost eight stories high.

"This restriction is in place in case a pilot of an approaching aircraft is not able to see the runway and decides to abandon the approach from a relatively low altitude," FAA officials said. "The A380 taxi restriction provides the needed safety buffer between the landing aircraft and the tail of the A380."

-- Dan Weikel

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