Updated to include maps of VOR and ILS approaches
(Sept. 28, 2004, updated Sept. 29) -- Some ELB residents south of the 405 freeway may have noticed large commercial aircraft approaching LB Airport on somewhat different paths than usual. We received an email from a reader who noticed a large jet approaching over Palo Verde Ave. near Atherton St...and we personally saw one seemingly paralleling Willow St. east of Bellflower Blvd.
LB Airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson says some temporary variations are taking place that should end in about a week.
The recent main runway resurfacing caused some minor changes in the runway surface elevation...and although they're relatively slight (in the range of a few inches to a foot in one place), the Airport's precise ILS ("Instrument Landing System") must now be recalibrated.
Until that's completed (by October 6, if things go as planned), some large aircraft approaching LB Airport's main diagonal runway 30/12 are using a VOR system (Very High Frequency Omni Range), a radio navigation system that has a slightly different ground track, said Christine Edwards, Special Projects Officer for the City of LB. Some American Airlines and America West flights use the VOR system.
Other aircraft, including those operated by JetBlue, carry a new GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) device that lets them basically mirror the standard 30/12 approach.
[update] LB Airport has provided LBReport.com with maps comparing the usual ILS approach with the temporary VOR approach. To view the maps (the temporary VOR approach is the second map), click ILS and VOR LGB approach paths. [end update]
The FAA is scheduled to bring a specially equipped aircraft to LB Airport on or about October 6 to flight test the newly calibrated ILS system. Assuming it checks out OK, ILS operations will resume and approaches will return to normal, Ms. Edwards said.
Ms. Edwards added that the main runway rehab has gone well. Most of the paving is done and electrical work is going smoothly, she said.