Flying - - CONTENTS - By Rob Mark

Mor­ris­town, Ten­nessee, SDF to Run­way 5

Men­tion Mor­ris­town to an ac­tive pi­lot, and they’ll prob­a­bly be quick to pin­point it as a busy New Jersey air­port 20 or so miles west of down­town Man­hat­tan. This month’s Chart Wise, how­ever, fo­cuses on an­other Mor­ris­town, pop­u­la­tion 29,000, this one in Ten­nessee, a half-hour north­east of Knoxville.

For read­ers won­der­ing what kind of ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity a small-town air­port like Mor­ris­town’s Moore-Mur­rell (MOR) might of­fer, speak­ing in avi­a­tion acro­nym-ese, the an­swer is SDF, or sim­pli­fied di­rec­tional fa­cil­ity. SDFs are dis­ap­pear­ing around the United States, like many other ground-based ap­proach fa­cil­i­ties, but of course, that doesn’t mean you might not run across one in your trav­els.

An SDF is a lo­cal­izer-based ap­proach that gen­er­ates a sig­nal width fixed at ei­ther 6 de­grees or 12 de­grees as nec­es­sary to pro­vide max­i­mum fly­a­bil­ity and op­ti­mal course qual­ity. With a course much wider than the tra­di­tional lo­cal­izer at­tached to a full ILS sys­tem, SDF ap­proach guid­ance might not be as pre­cise. Inside the cock­pit, how­ever, the ILS nee­dle will re­act just like a stan­dard lo­cal­izer with left­right for­ward sens­ing.

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