Flying Dirty over Sydney Backyards
Bankstown Airport History
The 1962 Claims
No Regional Bankstown Logo
Flying Dirty over Sydney's Backyards - carcinogenic unburned fuel

The Claim

Responding to claims that the 11C/29C runway has been extended in length since 1996, Airport Managers and aviation lobby groups have claimed in local media that the runway was 1460 meters long in 1961. This is immaterial in deciding the truth of answers to a question relating to what has happened "since 1996". As well as being immaterial, it is factually wrong. Here are the 1962 facts:

1962 Runway Length

The best evidence comes from the 1965 Aerial Photo, the first taken after 1962 by the NSW Surveyor General.

1965 runways

Photos: Copyright © New South Wales Surveyor-General's Department, published by permission.
  1. In 1961, there was only one runway in the East-West direction (roughly East-West, strictly compass bearing 110 deg). It's the topmost (northerly) runway in the aerial photo. It was designated 11/29, and there was only one other shorter runway (05/23) at Bankstown (over near the DeHavilland factory, with alignment pointing roughly North East to South East).

    In 1962, the original 11/29 became 11L/29R when a shorter parallel runway was added. The original unsealed 11/29 was eventually replaced by the sealed K2/K3/K4/K5 taxiway, and no longer exists as a runway. As 11L/29R, it had an apparent length of 1263 m (based on runway lettering position; the claimed 1460 m ridiculously needs to include the taxiway distance to the boundary fence as runway length, includes no runway end safety area, and probably doesn't allow proper clearance to obstacles, like the fences, nearby trees and houses.). A new 11L/29R was later constructed parallel to and south of the original unsealed 11L/29R (which became the K taxiway).

  2. The new runway for 1962 was the 11R/29L runway. It became 11C/29C when a third parallel runway was later added (to the south, now 11R/29L). The 1962 version of 11C/29C was only 790 m. Considerably less than today's 1415 m. This runway has never been longer than it now is, and it has never been 1460 m.

    The third runway in 1962 was the 1015 m 05/23 runway which no longer exists.

  3. The 1982 Master Plan gives the 11C/29C strip length as 1231 m and runway length as 1111 m. Isn't the 1962 claim garbage ?

When questioned as to the weight limit of the runway in 1962, BAL managers claimed it hadn't changed - it could handle WWII B17 Flying Fortress Bombers. This is yet more horse-*!@$ from BAL. The B17's maximum take-off weight was 26 tons, well under today's 50 to 63 ton limit (see council briefing for weight limit claims, or summary).

Flying dirty over Sydney Backyards

Permission to reproduce the aerial photographs must be sought from the copyright holder, NSW Surveyor General.

Last Revised , First Published, July 1998

Changes: vdeck mod

Visitor since Sat 21-Feb-2004.

A dirty money trail to Sydney's Second Airport