Displaced Person

Posted May 2020

I've been based out of the same airport for about 35 years.  I flew my Cessna 150 out of Auburn, WA (S50) for three years, N500F from there for another seven, a Stinson for two, and Moonraker ever since.

One gets kind of used to an airport in that time.  The prevailing winds out of here are from the north, so ~90% of the time, I was taking off and landing on Runway 34....to the north.

And now, in their grand and glorious wisdom, the city has decided to lengthen the runway...about 250 feet at both ends.

About two months ago, they blocked off about 500 feet of the north end of the runway while they worked on the north extension.  Didn't affect me much...all it meant is that I had "only" 2800 feet for takeoff instead of 3300.  Had to use the displaced threshold they marked, but I land to the south so rarely that it hardly affected me.

But they got the work at the north end finished up...and have started at the south end (approach end for 34).  They've closed the end of the runway and marked a displaced threshold about ~600 feet from the (former) end of the runway.

Geeze, that makes a difference.

After flying out of Auburn for 35 years, mostly landing to the north, one picks up a lot of subliminal clues.  With the displaced threshold, these are all out the window!

My initial fear was that I'd forget the closed second of runway and land between the barriers.  Not an issue...I'm hyper-sensitive to the junk on the (former) end of the runway.

The real problem?  My long-time instincts are fighting with the displaced reality.  "I'm too high!"  "No, remember, you have to land ~600 feet further down than you normally do!"

It was messing me up, yesterday.  Even the takeoffs were messing me up..."I should be off the ground by now!"  "No, you started a tenth of a mile further down the runway!"

This is weird.  Really weird.

They're supposed to be done by the end of June...at which point I'll probably be sailing over the new section of runway to touch down where I'm used to.

Ron Wanttaja

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