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brucek

The real SFO - all four runways active at once?

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I flew into SFO a few weeks ago, and while waiting to board the return flight, I was amazed by the fact they were using all four runways at once. It's one thing to see this at LAX, where the runways are parrellel and seperated by several thousand feet, but at SFO, the runways are right next to each other and all four intersect at the center of the airfield. All four runways were used by heavies - landing on 28 R/L, and departing on 1 R/L. Both takeoffs and landings were syncronized, two planes would touch down on 28 R/L at the same time, and two would take off on 1 R/L at the same time. It was like watching the activity on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf. Is this normal? Since the 28 and 1 runaways are perpendicular, I guess someone must always be dealing with crosswinds. It seems dangerous.John

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Yes sir, I've seen this operation at SFO for many, many years. Most of the time the winds are from the west, making the take-offs from rwys 1 with a cross wind. The pilots are pros and they can deal with it. As a GA pilot, I think it's easier to take-off with a cross wind than landing with a cross wind, even though we've been trained to land in cross winds. Hope this helps.

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Obviously, the weather has to be very good to permit simultaneous operations at SFO. The reason that SFO becomes such a bottleneck in IFR weather is that the parallel runways are too close together to allow simultaneous ILS approaches. That's also one reason that newer airports, like DFW and Denver Int'l, are so spread out. They were designed from scratch to allow simultaneous ILS approaches to multiple runways.Dan

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Typically, Take off's are on 1L and 1R unless you are a heavy 747 or 777, they take off from the 29's. 767's take off from 1R. On a typical day, all landings are done on the 29's.

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SFO almost always departs the 01's and lands the 28's. During the bad weather, the 19's are active for landing aircrafts and departing aircrafts and the 10's become the active for departing heavies. On very rare occasions will they use the 01's for arrivals, but I have seen it done.. in fact many times this year. What a treat!BTW, I have seen 747's and 777's depart off of 01 many of times, it is amazing how they can get off the ground...This all coming from somebody who lives less than 1/2 a mile behind runways 01L/01R... so I pretty much know whats going on =)------------------------------------Jeff M.

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Sounds like you live in or near Milbrae, eh? Bought my first car there! I think I got a great deal...I say I think, because the roar of the jets taking off on the 01's would drown out the negotiations with the salesperson :)"BTW, I have seen 747's and 777's depart off of 01 many of times, it is amazing how they can get off the ground..."My first 747 flight was off of 01, but I notice the long hauls, like a flight I had to take to Narita once, usually depart 28 even if everything else is departing the 01's. I used to fly out of SFO at least once a week on biz trips--did that for several years until I moved to AZ. I think out of all those trips, I'd taken off on the 28's a handful of times. But I have landed on the 19's during inclement weather. Never a "1" approach, I'm sorry to say.My first trip into SFO was on PSA back in '66.... My longest trip out of SFO--my Narita flight back in '92.... My most special trip was back in '94....I left out of SFO, and returned almost two months later having met abroad the woman who became my wife. SFO was the same airport which welcomed her permanently to the U.S.... I enjoy flying into and out of SFO in FS2002 to this day. One of my favorite routes is between Sky Harbor and SFO--you get a bit of everything on that flight. I think the FS2002 approach to SFO is spectacular. I love to nail a landing, then go into replay, look off to the side, and watch 28R come seemingly out of the bay to greet me. I'm happy to see this thread here.... Brings back lots of memories, both simming and otherwise....-John

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I used to fly out of San Carlos (KSQL), and loved crossing the bay below the parallel approaches to 28 L/R. I once embarked on a cross country, went to call Oakland FSS to open a flight plan and mistakenly got SFO Tower- the guys were nice and told me what to tune on the radio.Now flying out of Jeffco in Colorado.Bruce.

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Hey John,Yep, I live in Millbrae! You're right, the 747s on long hauls use the 28s. The 01's approach is so awesome. Back when they still had the viewing parking lot open (the one RIGHT behind 01L/01R), I'd RUSH down to the parking lot, only to be greeted by CARS and CARS and more CARS. It was quite a big "event"... people with cameras and scanners. And the 747s landing almosted clipped you with their gear. It was so awesome. But now they have closed it... leaving us with nothing.--> Bruce, I currently fly out of San Carlos and it is trully amazing to fly over the bay at 1300 and to look up at a 747 flying right over your head into SFO. Flying into Hayward, it is even MORE fun to see the jets going into OAK. Go south a little bit and you get the big guys coming into SJC. This is such a great place to fly =)See ya!----------------------------------------------------------Jeff M.

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Hi John,I used to love SQL, I do miss the B.A. Do they still have the Bay Meadows departure (remain east of 101 until crossing 92, from memory)? I can recall soloing there. The controller asked me on my third go round if I could provide S turns for an IFR arrival. I replied "Unable" (although I had done them before with my CFI). After landing, in my relative naievity, I expected to be chewed out by the controller. My CFI, who had been up in the cab, praised me for making a decision and being assertive enough to challenge ATC with it. :)I used to live up near Canada College, and loved flying in over my condo, and obtaining a clearance to cross 30/12 at or above above 1,000 ft. (Class Bravo floor was 1,500 ft). When I passed over at 1,000 ft and at 70 knots, I was really hyped at planning that descent correctly!It's good to hear from you,Bruce.

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Hey Bruce!Yep, the Bay Meadows departure is still in use! The Bay Meadows, Belmont Sleugh and Redwood Shores are the three departures. The arrival procedures have changed about 200 feet... they now have us cross the field at or above 1,200. I also just recently soloed there (about 1 1/2 months ago). The landing on runway 12 is one I always love to use. It so cool to come in over the Oracle buildings. The controllers are also among the friendliest!-------------------------------------Jeff M.

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Hi Jeff,Yes- I recall the 12 approach, on those rare days that the wind favored that direction. I may have been crossing the field at or above 1,200' too, so that may not have changed (it's been 10 years since I flew there :) ). For someone starting out in a Class Delta airport, I agree that the controllers are very friendly and helpful. Jeffco (where I now fly out of) is larger but not so busy- but a larger variety of aircraft (bus jets), plus parallel approaches (although offset). Only 1 has an ILS (29R).My old CFI (Bob Reed) still flies out of there, we still keep on touch. I'm now into my instrument rating.Bruce.

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