Photographs and graphics that follow depict areas of possible confusion at Tucson International Airport
(KTUS) where pilots may takeoff, land, and/or cross a surface other than that assigned, resulting in pilot
deviations and runway incursions.
The FAASafety Team (FAASTeam) is committed to improving safety through education and outreach
efforts. The FAASTeam works with local safety volunteers and subject matter experts, as well asAir
Traffic Controllers,Airport Managers, and other stakeholders to disseminate information on local
airports. Through these efforts, we aim to reduce runway incursions and improve safety at airports, for
Tina Buskirk and Ernie Copeland
FAASTeam Program Managers
Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office
FAASTeam Representatives, Tucson,Arizona
FAASafety Team | Safer Skies Through Education
Potential for Wrong Runway Landings at Tucson International (KTUS)
There have been wrong-runway landings at Tucson International Airport (KTUS), especially when the
parallel runways are in use. Many pilots have mistaken RWY 29R for RWY 29L. The approach end of
runway 29L is 706’ left, and 2,588’ further in on the airfield, from the approach end of runway 29R. In
addition, RWY 29L is 75’ wide, compared to the wider RWY 29R at 150’. Also, be aware that Taxiway
Alpha is parallel to RWY 29R and may be mistaken for a runway. Taxiway Alpha is clearly marked in
yellow paint “TAXI” as seen from the approach end of 29R. This marking is located on Taxiway Alpha
near the A17 taxiway that enters the end of runway 29R.
Pilots are urged to thoroughly plan for their arrival at KTUS in advance. Review the current airport
diagram, and the photos that depict the runway system at KTUS.
What is a Runway Incursion? https://www.faa.gov/airports/runway_safety/news/runway_incursions/
Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the
protected area of a surface designated for the landing and departure of aircraft.
What is a Surface Incident?
A surface incident is an unauthorized or unapproved movement within the designated movement area
(excluding runway incursions) or an occurrence in that same area associated with the operation of an
aircraft that affects or could affect the safety of flight.
Pilot Deviations result from pilot actions that deviate from assigned headings and altitudes, instrument
procedures, or when pilots penetrate controlled airspace or airspace subject to Temporary Flight
Restrictions (TFRs) without ATC clearance. Ground deviations include taxiing, taking off or landing
without clearance or deviations from assigned taxi route or failing to hold short of an assigned clearance
Wrong Surface Landing Incidents: Notice Number--NOTC7400
“Be on the lookout for “Expectation Bias” If approaching a familiar airport, ATC might clear you for a
different approach or landing runway. Be careful not to fall back on your past experiences. Verify!”
Hot Spots - Verify currency of charts. https://www.faa.gov/airports/runway_safety/hotspots/hotspots_list/
- HS 1 RWY 29R may be mistaken for RWY 29L.
- HS 2 Pilots instructed to hold short of RWY 11L–29R or RWY 11R–29Lsometimes cross the approach area of these runways without authorization. This is a Pilot Deviation.
Airport Diagram - Verify currency of all charts. Enter KTUS, scroll down for airport diagram.
Airport Charts, Terminal Charts includingApproach Plates. Verify currency of all charts. Enter KTUS.
Chart Supplement (formerly calledAirport Facility Directory). Verify chart supplement currency. Enter
KTUS, click on Airport/NavAid Listing. To view the legend, click on Chart Supplement Legend (PDF)
and scroll down. https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/dafd/search/
Sectional Charts - Verify chart currency.
Airspace - KTUS is within Class C airspace.
Aeronautical Information Manual and Pilot/Controller Glossary -
Radio Communications Class CAirspace - ReferenceAeronautical Information Manual
“Arrival or Through Flight Entry Requirements. Two-way radio communication must be established with the
ATC facility providingATC services prior to entry and thereafter maintain those communications while in Class
C airspace. Pilots of arriving aircraft should contact the Class C airspaceATC facility on the publicized
frequency and provide their position, altitude, radar beacon code, destination, and request Class C service.
Radio contact should be initiated far enough from the Class C airspace boundary to preclude entering Class C
airspace before two-way radio communications are established.”
On initial contact:
Who you are talking to
Who you are (full call sign)
Where you are
What you want to do
With (ATIS letter identifier)
Differentiating KTUS from Davis-MonthanAir Force Base (KDMA)
KTUS may be mistaken for Davis-MonthanAir Force Base (KDMA). KDMAis a large military base 4 nm
(4.6 sm) Northeast of KTUS. KDMAhas one runway, RWY 12-30. KTUS has runways RWY 11L-29R, RWY
11R-29L and RWY 03-21.
To help differentiate, observe that KTUS is between Interstate 10 (I-10) and Interstate 19 (I-19), and confirm
correct airport via pilotage, NavAids, GPS,Air Traffic Control, and all available resources. At night, the
rotating beacon at KDMA will be a three part sequence through white-white-green. The rotating beacon for
KTUS, at night, uses the civilian two part sequence of white-green. Some airports turn on their rotating
beacons during the day when weather conditions fall below Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
Please note that KTUS runways are identified as RWY 11L-29R, RWY 11R-29L. This helps avoid confusion
with the runway at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
- When lined up for KTUS RWY 11Land 11R, you will note, the magnetic heading is 124.9°
- When lined up for KTUS RWY 29R and 29L, the magnetic heading is 304.9° RWY 03-21 magnetic heading is 034.9° and 214.9°, respectively, making the runways perpendicular thereby the greatest crosswind, using the preferred runway, is 45°.
KTUS plans to change RWY 11L-29R and RWY 11R-29L to RWY 12L /30R and RWY 12R/30L
respectively, in coming years, to be in line with magnetic north.
Flight Service Station "Better Briefings, Safer Flights"
EasyActivate™, EasyClose™ and Close Reminder services will automatically be turned on for all registered
users of www.1800wxbrief.com
PIREPS: "Pilot Weather Reports (PIREPs): Pay It Forward"
NTSB Recommends Ways to Increase Use, Effectiveness of Pilot Weather Reports
National Weather Service Tucson
Review Airport Operations
More suggestions to include in your flight planning:
- Make note of movement vs. non-movement areas.
- ATC Non-VisibilityAreas, areas whereAir Traffic Control cannot see you on the ground, are depicted on the airport diagram.
DensityAltitude reminder, check it. High elevation/altitude, Hot temperatures, and High Humidity are the
worst. High DensityAltitude = decreased/bad performance. KTUS runway lengths from the Chart Supplement
(formerly calledAirport Facility Directory), verify chart supplement currency, enter KTUS, click on
Airport/NavAid Listing https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/dafd/search
RWY 11L–29R: H 10996 X 150 (ASPH–GRVD) (ASPH)—Asphalt (GRVD)—Grooved
RWY 11R–29L: H 8408 X 75 (ASPH) (ASPH)—Asphalt
RWY 03–21: H 7000 X 150 (ASPH–GRVD) (ASPH)—Asphalt (GRVD)—Grooved
The mix of aircraft, speeds and operational requirements vary widely; exercise extreme caution. Wake
turbulence, jet blast, helicopter rotor wash, review, steer clear of it; exercise extreme caution.
Access to parking with tie downs, fuel, restrooms, water, pilot weather briefing resources, vending machines
for transient aircraft can be found at local Fixed Base Operators.
Click here and scroll down
Verify fees and fuel prices with commercial aviation apps and websites.
The GeneralAviation Executive Terminal at the base of the formerAir Traffic Control Tower is closed.
Apublic Pilot's Lounge, with airside accessibility is available 24/7, and is located at 1961 E. Flightline Drive.
However, public/transient parking is not available at this time. Public/transient parking with tie-downs is
planned to be available by June 2018.
When you land at TUS, you are on the airside of the airport:
“The Airside is the movement area of an airport, adjacent terrain and buildings or portions thereof, access to
which is controlled.” The airside at Tucson InternationalAirport/ KTUS is fenced, gated and entry is
restricted to those wearing badges issued by the airport under Transportation SecurityAdministration rules and
Please be aware of your movements. Inquire at the FBO about accessing your aircraft before you leave the
Should you require an escort back to your aircraft on the airside, and your FBO is not available to help you, or
if your aircraft is tied down at the TUS public / transient Pilot Facility located at 1961 E. Flightline Drive in
the future, and you need help getting back to the airside,
TucsonAirportAuthorityAirside Operations: (520) 573-8190
TucsonAirportAuthorityAirport Communications Center: (520) 573-8182.
Thank you for helping prevent pilot deviations and runway incursions.