from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Airfield ( English airfield ) is the generic term for different take-off and landing sites for aircraft .


German aviation law divides airfields into airports , landing sites and glider airfields in Section 6 (1) LuftVG . The airfield is to be understood as a generic term. According to Section 38 (1) LuftVZO, airports require "security by a building protection area in accordance with Section 12 LuftVG" according to the type and scope of the planned flight operations . The demarcation of the glider airfields from the other airfields is based on the type of aircraft authorized for use . Airfields are designated as landing sites for which a building protection area is not necessary to secure them and which are not only used as glider airfields ( Section 49 (1) LuftVZO). The main difference between an airport and a landing field is the size and number of aircraft authorized for use.

The airfield infrastructure and properties are regulated in detail by the ICAO and depend on the intended use and range from huge flight operations areas with kilometers of runways at commercial airports to a grass or sand runway (in international air traffic: airstrip ) or a helicopter landing pad .

Airfields for civil flight operations are called civil airfields, while airfields approved for military flight operations are called military airfields . There are some airports with mixed civilian and military flight operations (eg. As Berlin-Tegel Airport , Cologne / Bonn airport , Leipzig / Halle Airport or primarily military airport Rostock-Laage and airfield Ingolstadt-Manching ).

Controlled and uncontrolled airfields

Uncontrolled airfield: Biberach an der Riss

Each airfield is either controlled (English towered ) or uncontrolled (English non-towered ) depending on the type of traffic handling . The vast majority of civil airfields are uncontrolled. Even regional airports with non-commercial traffic (for aircraft under 14 t maximum mass) can be uncontrolled.

Controlled airfields

Controlled places have a place control point and an activated control zone to manage their traffic volume . The incoming, outgoing and through-flying traffic is directed by the control center, usually an air traffic controller in the tower . Controlled airfields are, for example, large commercial airports, but also military airfields. The “controlled” status can be permanent (for example at international airports) or temporarily activated as required (this is usually the case at military airports).

Uncontrolled airfields

There is no central traffic control at uncontrolled areas; instead, each pilot is responsible for classifying himself into the area traffic and for maintaining safety distances. Flight controllers at the airfield provide information to the airfield traffic, but have no general steering authority. The size of uncontrolled places ranges from small airfields for air sports to regional airports .

Uncontrolled airfields with IFR traffic

If IFR traffic occasionally takes place at an uncontrolled airfield , a Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ) is defined in airspace G there , which obliges aircraft flying through to have radio contact with the airfield. Aerodrome Flight Information Service is available at these places .

Airfields in Germany

In Germany , airfields are subdivided according to LuftVZO (third section from Paragraph 38) into

The construction of airfields is subject to a formal approval process. Building protection areas can be defined depending on the type of airfield and flight operations . In these, the creation and modification of structures (buildings, but also antennas, wind turbines, etc.) is subject to special approval and additional restrictions (height restrictions, prescribed color markings and lighting ) can be imposed.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, aircraft and air sports equipment are generally not allowed to take off and land outside of approved airfields or sports airfields ( airfield obligation ).


Airports are large airfields, usually approved for operation with passenger and cargo aircraft. As a rule, they have the necessary infrastructure and are usually located within a control zone that is supervised by air traffic controllers from a corresponding air traffic control company. In Germany, a legal distinction is made between commercial airports (airport for general traffic) and special airports (airport for special purposes). Colloquially, a distinction is made between commercial airports and international commercial airports and regional airports. The recognition of an airfield as a commercial airport says nothing about its equipment and design under aviation law.

Special airports are not permitted for general air traffic. Before using a special airport, the approval of the operator must be obtained. Airports have a building protection area according to § 12 LuftVG. Building protection area means that building projects that penetrate the areas of the building protection area require a permit under aviation law in addition to the building permit. The German Air Traffic Control (DFS) has to issue an opinion on the obstacles that penetrate the areas of the construction protection area.

Landing sites

Flight control building of the uncontrolled airfield Bad Gandersheim

Landing sites are mainly used for general aviation . A distinction is made between airfields for commercial use and special airfields (with limited permits, e.g. for light aircraft or helicopters ).

If there is a high volume of traffic, landing sites with IFR flight operations have a control zone within which all flight and taxiing movements are subject to air traffic control ; in the case of only occasional IFR traffic, a RMZ is activated instead of the control zone in airspace G. In general, however, mainly VFR traffic takes place at landing sites .

Commercial airfields have a fixed operating obligation published in the Aviation Manual (Part AIP VFR), i.e. the times at which they must be open and approachable. Before using a special landing site, the operator's approval must usually be obtained (see also: Prior Permission Required ).

Landing sites should have a construction protection area according to § 17 LuftVG .

Glider airfield

Glider airfields may only be used by gliders without restrictions . Motor aircraft are only allowed to take off and land if they are stationed there or in possession of an outdoor take-off and landing permit for this flight.

Land for seaplanes and flying boats

There are only a few take-off and landing sites for seaplanes and flying boats in Germany. These are clearly defined areas of water on which seaplanes are allowed to take off and land. Sea flight is made more difficult in Germany insofar as it is only allowed to take off and land on this site (mandatory at the airport) and as a seaplane on the water is legally considered to be a boat , which requires the possession of a corresponding official certificate of competency for the operation of watercraft (e.g. requires a sports boat license ).

Other take-off and landing sites

The following types of take-off and landing sites are not legally considered in Germany as an airfield within the meaning of the LuftVG .

Area for air sports equipment

There are many areas for air sports equipment such as hang-glider launch sites , paraglider launch sites , and microlight sites in Germany because the airfield requirement also applies to air sports equipment.

Terrain for model airplanes

There are also areas that serve as launch sites for electric / combustion engine-powered, radio-controlled model aircraft. They often do not have permanent installations, but in some cases also have paved runways and safety fences for the spectators. The operation is subject to the Aviation Act (LuftVO), see § 16.

Front runner in Germany

First German airfield:

Largest airfields in the category

Airfields in Austria

In Austria one subdivides into

  • Airport and
  • Airfield

In Austria, the aviation law determines what is meant by an airport. If an airfield is public, is intended for international air traffic and has the appropriate facilities, it is an airport, otherwise it is to be described as an airfield. Austrian law does not recognize the terms special airport and building protection area.

Airfields in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the Federal Office for Civil Aviation distinguishes between:

  • National airport
  • Regional airport
  • civilly used military airfield
  • Airfield
  • Glider field
  • Winter airfield
  • Sea airfield
  • Heliport
  • Winter heliport

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Flugplatz  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heike Delbanco, The Change of Airports , 1998, p. 32
  2. ^ "Aerodromes" Volume 1 - Aerodrome Design and Operations - International Standards and Recommended Practices - Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation - Sixth Edition July 2013 engl. (PDF 336 pages 2.0 MB) Accessed June 23, 2016
  3. Overview map of Switzerland's aviation infrastructure, FOCA, 2008