Airport Runway Pattern

With the many different airport layouts, is there a standard when it comes to which runways to use and for what purpose?

KLAX is pretty straight forward where you have two runways on each side of the airport. Typically I see the outer ones used for landings and inner ones used for takeoff. I think many other airports are modeled this way too, DFW comes to mind.

I have been practicing on KONT because it has two parallel runways. One is slightly longer than the others. Normally I would use one for takeoff and one for landing but since planes can spawn on either side of the airport I usually just go with that side.

I know as a controller it is up to us on what we want to do and sometimes we make it harder than it should be. But I was curious what others do in these sorts of cases? I’m just trying to learn :)

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Explain the question again please

Sorry about that.

If I have parallel runways with the airport on both sides (meaning planes can spawn there). Is it better to dedicate one for takeoff and one for landings, or should we just let the planes takeoff on either runway based on what side of the airport they are on and manage the inbound traffic? Basically making both runways available for takeoff and landings?


Very good topic. I too am interested in what other controllers use besides wind direction to determine departures/arrivals. Personally, I love airports with 3 parallel runways. (Seatac). All traffic is spawned on one side so that runway is used to depart. One in the middle for arrivals, and the outside can be used for patternwork. I usually separate patternwork completely until full stop is requested then they are sequenced with other arrivals.
Another airport I enjoy is KMIA. Only requirement is a separate ground controller is recommended. It can get busy quickly with all the crossings.

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It kinda all depends on the airport in my opinion. Like at KONT I use the smaller runway for GA’s and the longer one for jets and heavys Same for KPSP. But when I control KSFO I use 09 L and R for departures and 28 L and R for landings. As that’s what I have seen when I’ve traveled their. I’d also like to see what everyone else does.

In a situation like you describe where spawning is on both sides, I will start out just picking a runway for departures and use other for arrivals. You will normally have more of one than the other. If traffic gets backed up awaiting takeoff I will use both to clear traffic and vice versa. I always think about what is more frustrating, waiting on the ground basically doing nothing or flying in the air and doing a go around. I would rather be flying than sitting grounded.

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Me personally I would use the larger runway with the ILS for landing and the runway near the main terminals for take off only

I look up the real world procedures. With parallel runways, there’s an important thing to remember; if they aren’t a minimum of 1000m apart, you can’t run simultaneous landings with commercial aircraft on final at the same time. (There may be some specific circumstances where this differs etc, not 100% certain on every single airport).

YSSY are 1000m apart, they run simultaneous ‘independent visual approaches’ or ‘ILS approaches’ on both. Basically, they use them both for take and landing all at the same time.

LAX is able to do it by running the 24s and 25s almost as separate airports. 24L and 24R are right next to each other, so you can’t have two planes on final on each next to each other, so they use one for departures and one for arrivals. Then they can do the same with the 25s on the opposite side of the airport as 25L and 24R are more than 1000m apart.

Another thing to remember is generally the longer runway of the two would be used for takeoff, and the shorter for arrivals.

Personally I find it more efficient in IF to run a seperate takeoff and departure runway where possible.

I saw a video though on YouTube that a guy posted his plane and another plane both on final and they are landing on the parallel runways eg. 24L and 24R

It’s certainly easier as a controller to simply dedicate one runway for departures and one for arrivals, and as @mitchelljames pointed out, you have to do this where the parallel runways are close together (for realism’s sake at least).
I was ATC at EGLL for a while last night and split take offs and landings between both runways. Not essential but it makes for more of a challenge to keep an eye on everything, and does expedite take offs as not everyone has to queue for one runway when another perfectly good (and almost empty) one may be available.

Have controlled EGLL on a couple of times ( in playground) and tend to use 09R or 27R for take off and 09L or 27L for landings. Exception being for aircraft spawning from T4 or LHR Cargo which I always use the runway closest to them. Generally keeps the sequencing ok, but can be hard work!