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6 Answers

Runway “S” Designation

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I'd appreciate if anyone can help answer what the "S" runway designation means.

The runway designations of: L (left), R (right), C (center), T (true) and W (water), are all understood. However, this "S" designation has got me stumped.

Dusting off the AIM on runway markings and designations yielded no info.

Specifically, this designation is used for the turf-gravel runway 04Sā€“22S at IYS (PAWS) airport.

I'm thinking the "S" may mean a seasonal snow runway, as the chart supplement references, "RWY 04Sā€“22S ski/tundra tire equipped acft"... although it's unclear if this runway is explicitly closed for use during summer.

IYS (PAWS) Links:



Chart Supplement [PDF]



Thanks in advance for any help on clarifying this.


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6 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    Mark Kolber on Feb 04, 2018

    Skis. The snow get packed and is dedicated to aircraft with skis.

    Lest anyone think I knew that, I didn’t. I checked with a friend, a CFI in Alaska.

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  2. KDS on Feb 04, 2018

    Good job Mark. I didn’t know the answer. I searched for the answer and couldn’t find it. Then once you provided the answer I went back with that new found information and searched for the reference and still couldn’t find it.

    If you get a chance to ask you buddy for a reference, I’ll be able to sleep better knowing the whole answer.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Feb 05, 2018

    I’ll see what I can find. But one clue is the remarks in the Chart Supplement: ” Rwy 04Sā€“22S for ski/tundra tire equipped acft.”

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  4. KDS on Feb 05, 2018


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  5. Mark Kolber on Feb 11, 2018

    KDS, I don’t have an answer. Best I can determine, aside from the use restrictions in the CS, the use of the S is a local thing.

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  6. Kevin Wright on Feb 14, 2018

    There are a number of airports in Alaska with parallel gravel runways that are designed for bush planes. Gravel is preferred for tundra tires and or tailwheel. In the winter they are left to snow over and sometimes groomed for ski operations. These runways are open year round. There does not seem to be consistency on the S designation. PAWS, PASX, and PAAQ all have the S. Others that operate similarly include PAMR, PABV, PAFA but without the S designation on the gravel runway. Locally it’s common to hear people refer to the “ski strip” on CTAF regardless of the season.
    I also could not find a good explanation in the FAA literature. This is local knowledge.

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