Newbie: nashville landing patterns


#1

Hi. Indulge a newbie planespotting enthusiast. By new, I mean really new…as in tonight.

Because of low clouds & drizzle, I seem to be able to more easily watch/hear/feel planes on their descent into Nashville’s airport. (I live about 10 miles from BNA.) I’m positively hooked now. Some of the planes have been so low that I can very easily id the airlines from the paint jobs & wonder if the pilots can see me staring out my window .

So I found this site & have been watching the BNA tracker & almost can determine which planes I’m watching in real time, out my window, based on what I’m seeing online.

All that caused me to wonder why I’ve not noticed this before. I mean, I’ve heard planes descending before but not this low, so I guess it’s related to the weather. Does the “ceiling” affect the altitude for really low approaches?

I’m curious about landing/take off paths now. But I imagine airports keep those pretty secret these days, huh? It makes sense, but before I found this site, I was googling for flight patterns in & around BNA.

Thanks! I think I’ve discovered a new hobby – at least when the weather cooperates.


#2

Altitude and direction of flight (over your house) would have more to do with the wind then the WX. Aircraft takeoff and land into the wind. Lower weather would require them to fly an instrument approach which would dictate direction and altitude at set distances from the field.

Current KBNA weather:
170353Z 16020G27KT 10SM OVC027 16/11 A2972. In plane :wink: English is; time 12am winds out of the south east at 20kts gusting to 27, 10 miles visability, skys overcast at 2700’ temp 16C dew point 11 and altimeter 29’79".

SO… My guess is that they are landing on 20L and 20R and that you live within about 10 north east of the field. If so, it would be somewhat routine that they fly over your house at about 2500-3000 above the ground.

A quick peak of the traffic coming into KBNA right know showed 3 aircraft coming in over the area I discribed.

At that altitude I would think you could figure out paint jobs. Anyway, why tonight and not other nights? I could be the lower cloud desk is causing some of the noise to be reflected back down to the ground, making the aircraft appear louder then normal?


#3

Welcome to the wonderful obsession of aviation enthusiasm!

Flight paths are no secret - they’re published so that all pilots (and experienced enthusiasts) know the procedures for the airports that they fly in and out of.

CLICK HERE to see BNA’s airport page. There you will find various “STARs” (Standard Terminal Arrivals) which tell pilots specifically how approach the airport from their cruise portion of the flight. Then you’ll see the IAPs (Instrument Approach Procedures) which tell pilots exactly how to approach the specific runway assigned for landing. And then there are the SIDs (Standard Instrument Departures) which gives specific information about how to depart the airport on takeoff.

Looks like BNA has 3 runways running NE/SW, and only one runway running NW/SE. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you live northwest of the airport…? Planes are using the one runway heading southeast tonight. They probably don’t use that runway very frequently, only when crosswinds on the other runways make it necessary. Is it a bit windy out there tonight? That is probably why they seem to be much closer to you tonight - they usually use the other runways for landing. There could be other reasons for using the other runway, but usually it’s the winds that determine the direction of takeoffs and landings.

Hope this helps…

Why would they land to the Southwest if the wind is blowing from the Southeast? That makes for a direct crosswind component.

Current BNA ATIS:

TIS

  • BNA ATIS INFO L 0453Z. 16021G29KT 8SM -RA OVC023 15/12 A2968 (TWO NINER SIX EIGHT). VOR/DME RY 13 APCH IN USE. DEPG RY 13. SIMUL DEPS IN PROG. CONTACT GROUND CONTROL 121.9 FOR CLEARANCE. NOTAMS… . TWY L CLSD BTN TWY L8 AND TWY H . TWY L CLSD BTN TWY L7 AND TWY T5. RWY 31 GS OTS. Bird Activity in Vicinity of Airport. …ADVS you have INFO L.

#4

Winds from 160 and landing on 20L or 20R is only a 40 degree component. Hardly a “direct” crosswind. Runway 13 is slightly better, 30 degrees, but only 10 degrees different from the 20’s and the lighting on 20L and 20R is better than 13.


#5

That’s what I’m thinking; not to mention that all the flight tracks showed approaches into the 20’s. And the GS for 13 was/is NOTAMed OTS.

40 x-wind v. 30 at 25kts (averaging out the gust) is only a difference of 3 kts of component. Using this calculator 14kts v 17 kts. Either way that’s a small crosswind IMHO. 25kts+ I need to wake up and really pay attention.

If I were flying my XL in from the north I would choose 20R make a left turn off and taxi to Mercury Aviation.

BTW A great reference tool for finding approaches into airports is
http://www.airnav.com

EDIT: From what I see the ILS 13 is no longer. I seem to remember there being one, but maybe not.


#6

Another great reference for approaches and, if I’m not mistaken, tracking aircraft, is this site


#7

Boy this is a knowledgeable bunch, & I have a lot to learn from all the links shared. Thank you to all for the info. I know it’s boring to tell newbies basic info like I asked, so I appreciate very much your patience.

All of your deductions about me living NW of BNA are on target. The weather has improved today, so I bet I have less visible/audible air traffic tonight. Just as I was getting hooked!

The winds were gusty & seemed to be varying in direction last night, so I guess that had as much to do w/the route & altitude of so many planes.

Again, thanks. I’ll be peeking in to your discussions & following links to learn more about this newfound hobby. Take care.


#8

For your new found hobby, you might want to consider buying an Aviation Band Radio Reciever. That way you can not only watch, but listen to the aircraft in your area.

You can probably find a reasonably priced reciever at the Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
sportys.com/takeoff/

Once you have a reciever, you can find the frequencies and a wealth of other information concerning the airports in your area from the following website.
www.airnav.com

Good luck spotting, and welcome to the aviation community.


#9

You can listen to Live Air Traffic Control on the aptly-named website, www.liveatc.net … and besides, it’s free, you don’t have to buy an aviation band radio.

KBNA doesn’t have a feed yet, but it’s very interesting to listen to traffic at other busy airports. (go on the weather channel or something and look for some nasty weather. Listeing to pilots and controllers working around storms is always fun…unless you’re one of them!)


#10

[quote=“damiross”]

No doubt, I like Airnav b/c I can get so much more info; such as FBO’s and user comments. FA is getting there, but for now Airnav still holds the lead.


#11

[quote=“leardvr”]

All depends on what you want. You’d mentioned approaches so I pointed out that FlightAware has them.


#12

FA has some of the same info, but I’m more a fan of the Airnav user interface.

They are very different sites, though.


#13

If you live northwest of Nashville you are probably hearing traiffic for Runway 13/31,as stated earlier it is the only northwest/southeast runway.This runway is the preferred Runway by Military Jets they do have quite a few Navy and Air Force trainers in and out of Nashville,not to mention their own ANG unit that flies the C-130H.