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LAX-SFO (RT): Flight Route Over The Ocean Or Land?  
User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 28
Posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6883 times:

I'm planning a trip between LAX and SFO (RT). After looking at a large globe, it looks as if the quickest route would be to fly over land, but is that what the airlines do between these cities? I keep remembering the Alaska Airlines MD-80 that crashed off the coast near LA. . .is flying over the Pacific the normal routing for "coastal flights?"

I just want to know what side of the airliner to sit on so I am able to get the most beautiful views of the coast.

Anything helps,
DIA


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10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUSAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6864 times:

About a year and a half ago, when I was visiting family back in California, I was flying from LA (where my sister lives) to SF (where my parents live).

Upon takeoff from LAX, we headed west over the Pacific, and then turned northwest. From what I can remember, the first 1/3-1/2 of the flight was over ocean, then we hit land about midway up the California coast. Then we went over land (I would say around San Luis Obispo or Monterey), over Santa Cruz, flew a bit west of the San Jose International Airport, and then flew straight into SFO.

I am not sure if this is the normal pattern for LAX-SFO flights - this was on an AA flight (with AS codeshare)... but I hope this information helps...


User currently offlineUSAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6843 times:

I forgot to add my return trip:

On the return from SFO-LAX, we took off in an easterly direction (using the 1L runway), then turned left, back towards the Pacific (getting a nice view of SFO as we were making the climbing turn). Then we headed south. Based on what I remember, we went out over the ocean, then made landfall around San Luis Obispo... got to see some oilwells and fields just before hitting the Los Angeles Basin.

Just before landing at LAX, we went back out over the ocean again, then turned east into LA, then made a 180 degree turn to the right and flew west for landing at LAX (which is next to the ocean).

The LAX-SFO flight was just before Christmas 2001 on AA, and the SFO-LAX flight was just after New Year's 2002 on UA.

I hope this information helps you with your flight planning.


User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6830 times:

Yes, that is interesting. It sounds as if you fly over land and ocean, about a 50/50 split.

Thanks for the details.

DIA



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User currently offlineOH-LGA From Denmark, joined Oct 1999, 1436 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6779 times:

It depends really...

Often times, my LAX flight goes out over the ocean (normal Bay departure), then makes landfall around Salinas, then follows down the Salinas Valley until we hit the Central Valley, then down the Central Valley until we hit the LA Basin, then we line up for arrival at LAX.

Usually departures to SFO take an ocean route, flying up along the ocean until Salinas (again), then descending over San Jose/Fremont and lining up for a 28L/28R arrival.

Kai



Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.
User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 5998 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6695 times:

Flights out of San Francisco fly the offshore 4 departure which takes you over the ocean to intercept a radial off of Pt. Reyes VOR, but thats only the first 10 min of flight. Then most flight goes roughly direct Morro Bay VOR which takes you inland. So actually the only time off shore is between San Francisco and Monterey Bay then again on the approach from the north into LAX you go over the water near Malibu before turning east on the downwind for LAX.
Flights out of LAX are the same. Over the water on departure till the right turn north is made. Then you are inland till reaching Monterey where you are over the bay till reaching Santa Cruz.
This is during normal operations and good weather, but to answer the question 90% of flight time is over land.Sorry I don't have my IFR charts to give you VOR's,STAR's and SID's. Next time!
ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6708 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6585 times:

This may be a bit out of date, but maybe not:

Draw a line from the Point Reyes VOR (at 38.07976, 122.86783) to the Big Sur VOR (at 36.18130, 121.64211). That's the PYE 135-degree radial, and it's what OAK-LAX and SFO-LAX flights first head for. They climb southward along it until Oakland Center clears them direct to Avenal (35.64698, 119.97861). Southward from Avenal the route is pretty well fixed: Avenal to Fillmore (34.35669, 119.97861) and then out the Fillmore R-148 (I think), which has an initial course of 163 degrees true. Over the water, a left turn to the Santa Monica VOR and depart SMO heading 070.

Not sure about northward, but I think they eventually head for San Marcus (34.50952, 119.77100) and the airway goes almost direct from there to Big Sur. They depart Big Sur tracking toward Oakland VOR (37.72592, 122.22359) and stay on that course until they reach San Francisco Bay.

Flights to LAX never use the Offshore departure, do they? I thought that was just for flights to SNA-LGB-SAN.


User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 5998 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6544 times:

Timz, I was on a Offshore 4 one time jumpseating out of SFO to LAX. ATC wise it was a weird morning, so they may have been up tO something. I was also just using that as a rough idea of the routing. I know they vary per airline as well.
ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6536 times:

As we speak, AAL 1958 LAX-SFO is on the following...

LAX.VTU3.RZS.J501.BSR.BSR2.SFO

(LAX, the Ventura 3 DP/SID, San Marcus transition, J501 to Big Sur, thence the Big Sur 2 arrival (STAR) into SFO)


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6528 times:

Forgot the southbound...

SFO.PORTE3.WAGES..AVE..FIM.SADDE6.LAX

(SFO, Porte3 SID/DP , WAGES transition, direct Fillmore, thence the Fillmore transition to the SADDE 6 arrival (STAR) to LAX)


Both UAL and AAL flights are on these northbound and southbound routes...


User currently offlineCschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1228 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6487 times:

The great thing about leaving SFO for LA is when taking off to the east they usually make a long turn to the left around the peninsula with a great view of the city from the left side of the plane. Fabulous at night.

For a really good view, try flying PDX to San Jose. Coming toward the Bay area they usually fly south over Marin, then west of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco with a fantastic view of the whole area. When leaving San Jose, the planes do several circles over the airport to gain altitude above the SFO traffic, before heading out. Also a great view at night.


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