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Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 2:38 am

I have the good fortune of seeing the 3 major bay area (SF) airports everyday as I live in SF, drive down 101 past SFO, over the San Mateo bridge which allows me to catch a glimpse of OAK, and from where I work I can catch SJC a/c. Today I noticed that a/c arriving at all 3 airports were coming in from the north/north east and departing south/south west; usually it is the opposite. This is my first year living out here so perhaps they reverse the flight patterns due to weather??? (This happens to be the first day of the "rainy season"). Just curious...Thanks.
 
c72
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 5:34 am

Yup, it's because of the weather.
 
redngold
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 9:23 am

Aircraft should optimally depart and land into the wind. So it's most likely a wind shift. Sometimes bad weather along the approach, and rarely bad weather off the departure end, will also necessitate a change.
Here at KCLE, during lake effect snow we see aircraft arriving on Runway 28 and departing Runway 24L at Taxiway W. The winds would dictate landing on Runway 24L departing Runway 24C, but the pilots would not be able to see the field due to the heavy snow. Instead they land on Runway 28 with much more visual clearance.

redngold
Up, up and away!
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 9:39 am

Normal runway configurations out there are...

SFO arriving 28L and 28R, departing 01R and 01L;
OAK arriving and departing 29;
SJC arriving and departing 30L.

Most airline jets can take a wet runway max tailwind of only 10 knots, thus when the winds come out of the S or SE in advance of a low pressure system approaching the coast, things swing around. OAK and SJC goe to 11 and 12R, respectively, but SFO could be on alot of different configuraions. The most common for landing is 19L, and departures off 10R and 10L, but I've also seen them use 28L and 28R for departures--it just depends on the wind direction and speed.

Weirdest configuration I ever saw at SFO was when they had winds from 010 at 20 gusting to 30. They had arrivals on the ILS to 28R/L with a circle-to-land on 01R/L, and departures were off 28L/R.

Anything off the stadard configuration at SFO equals big-time ATC delays, since the airport can handle the same volume of traffic...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
timz
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Unusual Patterns Rarer?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:36 pm

I used to think you could expect those circle-to-land-1R approaches once or twice a year, but far as I know it hasn't happened much at all in recent years. And I haven't seen runway 10 arrivals in years either. (I remember one day they were landing the 10s on a clear day-- as I recall at least some of the arrivals from the east were cleared visual to the Golden Gate Bridge, depart the Bridge heading so-and-so.) But departures off the 19s still happen once in a while.
 
timz
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SFO 1R Landings

Fri Nov 08, 2002 1:33 pm

To show you how rare runway 1 landings are at SFO: I was once listening as a United 747SP (from HKG, maybe) first called approach coming in off the Pacific. They gave him a vector for a straight-in to 1R-- then corrected themselves maybe 30 seconds later, saying he should expect to circle to land. I assume a straight-in would be out of the question, with terrain 1800 ft above runway elevation at 5.1-5.2 nm from the threshold?
 
ILOVEA340
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 3:32 pm

I did one of the reversed takeoff's on 28L in 2000 in a CO 738 heading for EWR.
 
Guest

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Fri Nov 08, 2002 3:51 pm

We have had arrivals on the 1's at SFO a couple of times so far this year. Most recent was just a few weeks ago in October. While most flights did the normal approach for 28 and then circle to land on the 1's, for the first time ever I did see a few straight in approaches to 1R. In over 30 years of hanging out at SFO, it was the first time I had ever seen straight-in approaches to the 1's


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Richard Silagi
 
kaitakfan
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sat Nov 09, 2002 2:28 am

Just the other night I was on United 150 Heavy (777) to ORD departing around 11:30PM. Runways in use were 28's. by the time I left they switched the runways. we went out 10R, United 863 Heavy to Sydney went out on 10L. I was rather surprized to go out that direction! I have only done it once before.
 
johnboy
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sat Nov 09, 2002 6:52 am

A couple of winters ago I flew into OAK during a wind/rainstorm, via WN. It was a hellish rollercoaster of a landing, but we did swing out over the ocean, right over the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and I could clearly see the markings of Naval Air Station Alameda before we landed FROM the north.

As much as I hated it, the guy next to me was a wreck--he kept on asking me (voice cracking) if I thought we were going to "make it."

Hope he meant land the plane safely though, come to think of it.

One particularly bad weather day last winter, a SF Chronicle story listed flight paths for all three Bay Area airports, and then marked what those paths would be in bad weather.

Very interesting to see what all those amazing people ATC'ers have to deal with.
 
Canarsie VOR
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sat Nov 09, 2002 3:29 pm

They had arrivals on the ILS to 28R/L with a circle-to-land on 01R/L

What does this mean? Do they make the approach onto 28 and then literally circle around to line up for Rwy 1?

Please explain this procedure. Thanks.
 
Guest

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sun Nov 10, 2002 1:30 am

Canarsie VOR, yes that is exactly what they do. The fly the approach as normal to the 28's and once inside the outer marker, they make a left turn to a modified downwind the 1R/1L and then base before turning a short final inside a mile of the end of the runway. The is no instrument approach to the 1's and there is not even a published standard visual approach. The approach is will usually look something like this:



 
atcboy73
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sun Nov 10, 2002 3:10 am

WOW, looks like an approach into some old airport in Asia, mountians and all.
 
Avilitigator
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2000 12:29 pm

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sun Nov 10, 2002 10:33 am

Wow, I'm missing all the action at SFO. Thanks for posting the approach, Richard. I just moved from Redwood City to Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, so I won't be able to hit any of the SFO gatherings for a few years. Lots of spotting at SPN though (Continental, JAL, Northwest, puddle jumpers), and I can rent 172s to tour the islands.
 
Guest

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sun Nov 10, 2002 10:58 am

Saipan?????? Oh my! Speaking of Saipan, you guys just a Japan Air System A300 (JA8465) ferry through there the other day. Right now it is sitting at SJC! It is heading to Smyrna TN. We think it is going to the scrap heap. It flew HND-Saipan-MAJ (Majuro, Marshall Islands)-HNL-SJC.
 
Guest

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Sun Nov 10, 2002 12:12 pm

And here is a shot of the JAS A300 caught on ACM's webcam:



 
Canarsie VOR
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Wed Nov 13, 2002 2:59 am

Flygga,

Thanks for posting the approach path to RWY 1. I had no idea this was possible (considering the fog factor and all).
 
Guest

RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Wed Nov 13, 2002 3:19 am

That approach is strictly a visual approach. The wind conditions that cause it are rare, when the do occur, they are usually accompanied by crystal blue, cloudless skies and unlimited visibility.

 
Avilitigator
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Wed Nov 13, 2002 7:57 am

Richard,

Thanks for the info about the JAS flight. I missed that one, sorry to say. But I'm off to Guam on Continental Micronesia tonight for a two-day conference so maybe I'll see some good aircraft along the way.

I remember when I first saw a plane landing on RWY 1. I was driving south on 101 and all of a sudden I saw a United 737 barrel right above me. I'll never forget that sight. Other drivers around me slowed down b/c they seemed surprised too.
 
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PW100
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RE: Why Different SFO Approaches / Takeoffs?

Thu Nov 14, 2002 2:13 am

WOW...that's a really interesting approach indeed. Does the 747 also do this visual approach... base leg is at two miles final or so...

PW100
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"

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