Stories about a shift in the Earth’s magnetic north pole are usually topics for the Science Channel, or a great way to score bonus points in an otherwise boring conversation – but now the phenomenon has actually forced an airport to close one of its runways so they can repaint its designation.
Tampa airport Runway 18R/36L will be called 19R/1L after it reopens on January 13. Later this month, the other runways at Tampa airport will undergo the same transformation.
The magnetic north pole has been shifting towards Russia at 40 miles a year for the past decade due to changes in the core of our planet. In 2009, National Geographic posted a study on the effects of these changes which is really worth reading if you’d like to learn more about what goes on inside Earth.
As you can see in the map above, the runway is currently designated 18R, and the map is valid till January 13, after which time all pilots flying into Tampa will need to update their kitbag.
The FAA lists the runway closures in a NOTAM (NOtice To AirMen) on their site:
!TPA 01/011 (KTPA A0011/11) TPA SVC RWY 18R RVR OTS TIL 1101132100
Pretty meaningless to you and I – but if you are really bored, you can browse these notices for yourself on the FAA site. And if this kind of stuff really interests you, you’ll love the articles by our resident pilot, Kent Wien!