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Tim3167

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You're correct. Runway 7 is south of the taxiway bulldogger marked, but it's the same direction though, so still makes bulldogger's point.

But the approach path will usually not extend that far out. If runway 7 is active for landings, aircraft comming from the NE direction can make their leg and base approach turns over downtown. The same way takeoffs from the opposite end (runway 2-5) can have aircraft vector north over downtown. Keep in mind, these arent commericial aircraft that use wide approach vectors and get lined up on final miles out. These are general aviation aircraft and they turn on a dime comparatively. I mean you can do touch and goes on runway 7 bounded by Mills and Semoran! :)

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Not that I'm for the FAA maintaining its stranglehold on the downtown skyline, but you must also realize that the general aviation approach patterns that ORL sees are not exactly rigid. As someone else pointed out, planes are sometimes directed to "cut" in line, which may mean that a Cessna will enter the pattern for Runway 7 from the north, over downtown, and turn left into its finals while a Learjet is lined up 8nm out. Such a maneuver brings the Cessna very near to the downtown towers. No, it's not Hong Kong's Kai Tak or Meigs Field (which ironically are both closed now), but both of those airports adapted their approach and departure procedures to accomodate the "natural" landscape.

I think more than anything, it's the FAA and GOAA that are unwilling to spend money to revamp the airspace so that a few developers can add a couple of hundred feet to their proposed skyscrapers. It appears as if there is no height restriction set in stone by the City of Orlando or the FAA, but there is an understanding that any proposal over 400 feet will be heavily scrutinized and anything taller than SunTrust in the Central Business District has little to no chance of getting the FAA's no-hazard certificate, which is tends to be one of the final steps in the approval process.

Here is a map of the VOR/DME RWY 7 approach procedure for ORL, with tall hazards marked by cones with dots at their bases. Keep in mind all heights are AMSL (above mean sea level).

orl5xb.jpg

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Excellent point bic.

This is interesting too.. it seems the Comair training school in Sanford likes to use our downtown skyline as a little test for students. here's a snippet from a training help article:

It is unlikely that a VFR or IFR Comair student will ever be guilty of poor planning. A common trick among Comair instrument instructors is to land with an instrument student at Orlando Executive Airport and tempt the student to take off toward the city. Unless the student reads the fine print on the bottom of the terminal approach procedure, his aircraft could slam into a downtown building.

nice to know! :)

in any case, without a nod of approval from the FAA on a building's height, it's not going to get built for many reasons. not the least of which is that no insurance company in their right mind would insure a building deemed a height hazard by the FAA.

Edited by pip
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Au contraire. The FAA has set a building height limit of (I think) 400' because downtown is in the take-off & landing path of Herndon (Orlando Executive) Airport. An FAA lawsuit delayed construction of the Sun Bank building by one full year.

Really? Maybe you'd like to explain how we have multiple buildings over 400' then, with 1 more under construction. :whistling:

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Really? Maybe you'd like to explain how we have multiple buildings over 400' then, with 1 more under construction. :whistling:

Scroll up nine (that's 9... as in 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 just in case ya need a lil help with that part of it) posts and read my previous "mea culpa" post. And I hope you feel better afterwards.

BTW... going back to the post that started this whole "thing"... mrh3 posed the question why Kuhn didn't go another 10-15 floors above 357' with the Solaire. My reply was that it probably would've put it over the height limit. If you add (again, I'm just going to assume you can) 150' (15 floors) to 357', you'll come up with oh..... 507'. And I would bet dollars against doughnuts that 507' would surpass the FAA height restrictions. Just so you don't go running around all confused.

Edited by JFW657
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Really? Maybe you'd like to explain how we have multiple buildings over 400' then, with 1 more under construction. :whistling:

JFW already acknowledged he was off on that claim...

I believe I was mistaken in my assertion that there was a hard and fast height limit. After reading some other articles on the subject, it looks as though "neon9" has it right in that they probably go by several factors. Not only the buildings height, but by it's exact location as well. What may be approved on one block, it seems might get denied a few blocks in a another direction. I stand corrected.
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I believe the max height in Orlando is 441 and it has to be west of Orange Ave to meet that height.

If you remember the Orlando City Center (Putuzzi) wanted to hit 500, then 480, then 450, then 441. Ultimately lack of interest/funding prevented the development.

The FAA will not budge on that height limit and the city doesn't seem to care about such a limit either.

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The height of the 600-foot Pizzuti design wasn't the only item the FAA claimed they had issue with-- they were concerned that pilots would attempt to fly through it as a stunt.

Perhaps this height restriction urban legend discussion deserves its own sticky thread so that all known facts and myths about it can be found in one spot-- possibly even a FAQ included in the initial post. I'm sure this issue will be addressed by officials in the future as the city continues to grow, especially with a proposed project that has made headlines by stating it will be Orlando's tallest (Center Place). We will be discussing this topic for ages, so I think it makes sense to have all of the debates and information in one place instead of having it pop up in a random thread every couple of months.

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my god, the downtown skyline is childsplay compared to what ive seen when i lived in st maarten. we had 747-400s taking off in the direction of a 1000-1200 ft mountain (real vertical height since its an island). this mountain was directly in the flight path and less than a mile from the end of the runway (which was a rather short as well). the planes all had to pull up extremely fast and to the right. no accidents ever.

depending on the wind pattern, sometimes they came in on an approach the same way, although ive only seen them do it a few times.

now, if they can handle this on st maarten...... im sure the little general aviation aircraft can handle some 800 footers not even in the official flight path and way more than a mile away.

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well....geez let me think....a 700 footer or 3 stubby buildings........yeah, I think I'll take the 700' footer....

Don't mis-understand me though, I do appreciate the density and the street activity we've been seeing as of late.

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The difference between the mountain and a building is that if the plane hits the mountain only the people on the plane are dead. There is also the physics of the whole thing. A mountain pushes wind up, skyscrapers being at 90 degrees most the time can deflect wind in all sorts of directions.

There is an FAA height restriction, can build above it, but no one will insure the building, as the FAA deems it unsafe. The city has said that this does not bother them, and just showed a lack of interest in getting it studied.

The height info was in an Orlando Sentinel article dated Jan 31, 1997.

Edited by Magicfan95
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This is from Orlando Business Journal in 1998.

"Pizzuti Cos. unveil redesign for their proposed Orlando City Center. The centerpiece is a 27-story tower topped by a 110-foot-tall open cube. Previously rejected by the Federal Aviation Administration as a flight hazard, the cube now stands two stories shorter."

(I couldn't copy and paste Sentinel Article)

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Someone brought up how close airports are to 1000 ft. mountains as compared to our downtown.

ok, but we are not talking about 747-400s from orlando executive airport, the buildings that the faa deems unsafe is when they are only 450 ft, the downtown area is off the "direct" flight path, and most importantly..... downtown are is much further away than the 1000 ft mountain.

that being said...... even when considering physics (which is debatable), there are many many more risks in st maarten and it goes off without a hitch every day.

secondly, if a passenger jet hits a mountain..... hundreds die. if the average plane from orlando exec hits a building.... not many die if at all on the ground since they are tiny planes (maybe 1-6 in the plane die). the worst case scenario would be a 737 business jet hitting downtown, but that would never happen because the faa would never let them do the little cutting in the landing line maneuver. the jet will never come close to downtown.

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Shardoon, it does not matter, big planes do land at the exectuive airport from time to time, and as long as that happens there will be no 450+ buildings downtown.

The FAA has given a height limit for Orlando. I am going to trust their judgement, as they are the experts in the whole flight thing over people who want it repealed so we can have higher buildings.

The city has been asked to do their own study and they have declined to do so. Meaning, 450 is probably the max height for a very very long time in downtown Orlando.

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Shardoon, it does not matter, big planes do land at the exectuive airport from time to time, and as long as that happens there will be no 450+ buildings downtown.

The FAA has given a height limit for Orlando. I am going to trust their judgement, as they are the experts in the whole flight thing over people who want it repealed so we can have higher buildings.

The city has been asked to do their own study and they have declined to do so. Meaning, 450 is probably the max height for a very very long time in downtown Orlando.

i understand your point in that the city has no drive to do the study.

but one last point, even if big planes (biggest is a 737 in recent times) land at orlando executive...... they will not go anywhere over downtown. we established that small planes sometimes jump in front of jets in the landing pattern by cutting over downtown. at the same time, we established that jets cannot do this manuever........ so your point about a big jet hitting a building is moot.

yes, i do think there should be a sticky on this.

Edited by shardoon
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Shardoon,

It doesn't matter if the patterns don't bring it directly over downtown, the fact that the FAA, which is not trying to supress the development of Downtown Orlando, is saying that so long as there is an airport that does except big planes (even if one never lands there) that close to downtown there will be restrictions on height of building.

It not just a plane hitting a building, its a building causing windsheer, it's a noise problem reflection off of buildings, and it also is a radar problem from the (outside) possbility of a radar misreading off one of the buildings.

The FAA is only doing it's job. It is the reason why Orlando did not have any tall buildings for years.

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knowing this topic needs in own thread...i cant resist...

Having worked as a consultant for the FAA for many years, one thing i've learned is very clear. They are very slow and cautious in making changes to rules and procedures. It's just its nature because their primary purpose and reason for existence is safety in the air. Can the height limits be changed? of course. And controllers will be able to deal with it and keep the airspace safe. I've been impressed for years by controllers ability to direct traffic under any circumstance, its quite amazing to watch. But changing height limits will effect controllers flexibility in vectoring aircraft, and if they have a choice, as they currently do, they have no motive to change current rules. A mountain near an approach and departure pattern is not exactly something they can regulate, so they deal with it.

But i think it will eventually be adjusted some day. Economics drives all and will dictate when, as everything else. Believe me, when there is an obvious economic benefit for the city and the airport, this topic will be seriously discussed. we're just not there yet.

Edited by pip
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