Today, we’re beginning an occasional photo series here on RDU Cruising Altitude called The Fives. Every few weeks, we’ll show you a series of five things or places that can be found at RDU if you know where to look, or perhaps, have the right credentialing to reach. This week, we’ll start with five cool structures at RDU. Special thanks to RDU Operations Officer Keenan Ormond for helping me reach these places.
Remote Transmitter/Receiver Site. At first glance, this cluster of rather imposing antennae surrounding a small shack looks like they may be helpful in the search for life elsewhere. But, rest assured, they do have a rather worldly purpose. This is part of a communications system that aids in pilot-to-tower radio traffic.
Light Lane. Located near Park & Ride 4, this row of towers isn’t a backup broadcast location for area radio stations. This area, nicknamed the light lane, is home to high intensity approach lights which help guide pilots into perfect alignment when preparing to land.
Runway 18-36. Speaking of runways, we hope your pilot never says they’re preparing to land on RDU’s Runway 18-36 as there would certainly be a problem. This vast expanse of deteriorated concrete is all that remains of the airport’s first runway back in RDU’s earliest days.
VORTAC. RDU’s coolest looking structure also has a pretty impressive name. Known as the “Bowling Pin” this is part of a worldwide series of ground beacons that allow aircraft to hone in on fixed positions on the ground to ensure they stay on course. While GPS has largely taken over that role, these remain as a back-up.
What would you like to see in future editions of The Fives? Let me know in the comments below.