BWI Air Traffic Patterns to Shift Monday

Runway work, ongoing since June, culminates in 60-day closure starting Aug. 20.

Starting Monday, Elkridge can expect more planes overhead. 

One of the two major thoroughfares for commercial planes at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) will be closed for 60 days starting Monday, Aug. 20, for reconstructive work around the runway, according to a statement from the airport.

With Runway 10-28 closed, air traffic patterns may change, said Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for BWI. He said Elkridge was in the area impacted by the shift.

“In the northwest regions, like Elkridge and Catonsville, residents in those communities will see an increase in operations compared to usual conditions,” said Dean.

According to Dean, 70 percent of traffic will be going over Elkridge and communities northwest of the airport during the runway closure.

Since 2011, the airport has been working to bring the runways into compliance with federal safety regulations it must meet by 2015, according to a statement from BWI.

Specifically, the work includes reconstruction of runways, taxiways, deicing pads and hold pad pavement; airfield navigational aid installation, relocation and upgrades; and other runway safety improvements, according to the statement.

Work began on Runway 10-28 in June, including installing new lighting in the pavement. During that time, the while the runway was closed on nights and weekends.

"Welcome to the Elkridge Air show," wrote one Elkridge Patch reader on an .

"I thought I was experiencing an earthquake!!" added another reader.

Dean of BWI said that the planes do not change the elevation at which they fly; it is just the route that will change. 

If you'd like to file a noise complaint, make note of the date, time and location, then call BWI's noise hotline at 410-859-7021.

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Cheryl Claycomb August 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Did this start already, feels and sounds like more planes have flown over today than normal. Annoying.
Paul R August 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Cheryl, they have had the runway closed every weekend since the end of June (with the exception of the one week in July where it rained all weekend). It is scheduled to reopen at 2:00pm today (Sunday), and then the 60 day continuous closure is scheduled to begin at 7:00am tomorrow (Monday 8/20) morning. So we'll get a break in the noise this afternoon and evening before it starts back up tomorrow.
Kim Dixon August 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Well I don't see why they can't fly them over the industrial Parks instead of directly over Elkridge I guess they believe they will run us out like they did the folks in Hanover, and how they lied about turning the land over to nature. All those industrial buildings and parking lots looks real natural to me.
Frank in Elkridge August 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM
By the time planes are over Elkridge they are on final approach to the runway. They cannot zigzag over industrial parks on final approach - that would be extremely unsafe and very "disturbing" to passengers.
Kim Dixon August 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM
That why the approach could be changed so they don't have to zig zag. They really don't have to fly over residential neighborhoods at such a low altitude
Frank in Elkridge August 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM
You mean they should relocate the runway? You can't change the "final approach" to a runaway without moving the runway. Relocating a runaway could shut down the report for weeks if not months.
Paul R August 20, 2012 at 06:21 PM
BWI has been planning for a parallel east-west runway, south of 10-28, for years now. It's never been built because there hasn't been a need for it. If the new runway ever gets built, it would likely mean less noise in Elkridge during these kinds of projects. But that would be years down the road.
Paul Dent August 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Just looking at the pattern of takeoffs and landings today, it won't be planes on final approach Elkridge will have to worry about quite as much. Runway 15R/33L becomes the primary runway with 10/28 out of service. Runway 15R/33L is the runway that ends by Dorsey Road, where there's a nice observation park, but that's for another day. The important thing is that the predominate flow of traffic into BWI means landing from the south on 33L. This will not change with 10/28 being gone. However, this will mean that takeoffs will now head to the north over Elkridge. It looks like planes are taking off toward Elkridge and then turning to the west or south by the time they reach the intersection of 95 & 895. These planes would normally takeoff to the west outright on 10/28 over the industrial parks to the west of BWI. In any case, there's little chance of any approaches/patterns changing.
Paul R August 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Great info, and I'll just add that the wind direction typically determines the traffic pattern. In our area, the prevailing winds usually dictate taking off and landing to the north or northwest. However, when the winds shift around to the south or east, Elkridge will see planes landing on 15R. They'll come in on a straight line over Catonsville, Patapsco State Park, and the Levering Ave/Main St/Furnace Ave area of Elkridge. Unless you live in one of these areas, landings typically result in much less noise.
Melinda S August 24, 2012 at 10:59 PM
There's also been a huge increase in air traffic over Catonsville. We get a plane about every 5 minutes from 5 pm to about 11 pm, and by the time they fly over our house the landing gear is already down..very low, very loud. Argh. So much for late summer barbecues.
MrsMikeyT August 26, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I live in northern Gaithersburg *Laytonsville area) and we are getting a ton more traffic over our area, too. We have always had air traffic, it is just lower and louder than usual.
JMC August 26, 2012 at 04:22 AM
We are building a house in Elkridge and have been driving by to see the progress and were shocked to see the planes flying so low. When BWI is not repaving a runway, how often do planes land on runway 15R. I found a noise contour map online: http://maacommunityrelations.com/_media/client/anznoiseupdate/BWI_2007_ANZ_Tax_Map_Contour.pdf and from this map it doesn't look like they typically land on 15R. We observed the flight pattern before we purchased the lot and did not think we would be in the direct flight path.
djp952 August 26, 2012 at 05:56 AM
The current flight patterns are extremely atypical and won't last forever. I believe that the chart you found is generally accurate under normal circumstances. We've been here for more than a decade and it has never been even close to this level of noise/annoyance. My experience has been that we get the planes on landing during inclement weather only, otherwise it's not a big deal at all. I've been up at 5:30AM every day now thanks to this project and the noise, but we live next to a major airport here, it's going to happen from time to time. It's a shame we are being hit so hard for a couple months, but it's just for a couple months. If you have major reservations about noise/overcrowding/pollution/traffic, you definitely should not be building a home in Howard County, Maryland. This particular problem should solve itself, but rest assured that there is very little peace and quiet in Elkridge these days. Get good insulation on that house my friend :)
Paul R August 26, 2012 at 04:24 PM
What djp952 said is correct. I've been in Elkridge for 11 years and this is the first time we've had this much of an impact from a project at the airport. To give you some perspective, I believe the runways at BWI were last repaved 25 years ago, in 1987. So this is a once-in-a-generation event. That said.. if there's a strong wind directly out of the southeast, I've seen them use 15R for landings even with the other runway open. It doesn't happen often - maybe once every several weeks - but it does happen.
Paul R October 18, 2012 at 04:39 PM
For the benefit of anyone still following this.. I contacted MAA earlier this week asking about the status of the runway work. Runway 10-28 is scheduled to reopen November 1 at 5:00pm. That's about 2 weeks later than they originally announced. I'm not sure what caused the delay.
Andrea October 20, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Arrrgh!!!! I am from Catonsville and soooo ready for the work to be done. I get a plane directly over my home less than 2 minutes apart and LOW! Thanks for the updated information, Paul R.
Anonymous User November 02, 2012 at 04:17 PM
For those still following this, MAA is now reporting the reopen date for runway 10-28 as November 16th at 7 pm.
Anonymous User November 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Not sure how this website deals with email replies to new posts so I'm replying to your post in case that gives you a better chance of being notified. Hang in there, MAA now reports November 16th at 5 pm as the new runway 10-28 reopen date.
Anonymous User November 02, 2012 at 05:00 PM
At least 1% of aircraft per year land on 15R when all runways are open. Usually a few per day under normal conditions. When there is a wind from the east, which historically happens about 30% of the time, 15R's % of utilization for landing aircraft will increase significantly. Much more common, however, is for landing aircraft to use runway 33L or 10 or 28. The bigger noise concern for Elkridge residents is when aircraft depart from runway 33L, which they are doing about 70% of the time during this construction period. For your information and to assist your research, during normal operation, 33L sees about 1 departure per day; however, the MAA has reported that some years consisted of less than 200 total departures on 33L. If your new home site is in the path of landing aircraft on 15R then during normal runway operation the biggest noise concern for you other than the few aircraft that land there are westbound departures on 15R (during east wind conditions they depart east and loop in a left turn back around to the west) and medium sized westbound jets departing from the general aviation runway 33R, which happens during west wind conditions (70% per year), but since 33R sees much less traffic (general aviation only), it only accounts for about 1% of typical departures and most years see at least 10 days with 0 departures. However, the little passenger jets departing on this runway are often far louder than commercial aircraft. Hope that helps!
Henry Kazmierski December 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Why have flights increased again over Catonsville and elkridge


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