ATC directing me to land at closed runway

I was at SFO and the ATC directed me to land at a closed runway 19L. I landed at an open one 10R anyway in violation of ATC. I made sure there was no aircraft when I landed which I did. Did I make the right call at SFO?

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Absolutely not, you listen to ATC…


So why would he direct me to a closed run way when there are open ones? This is the first time it has ever happened to me.

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Absolutely, unequivocally no, you did not make the right call.

You land where ATC clears you to land.

Red does not mean Closed. The “open” runway is the runway ATC clears you for.


What does red mean then? Now I know.

As an example, for those of you obsessed with colors.

Let’s say the wind at EGLL is 180@5 knots. Typically, in IF, the 09s will be yellow and the 27s red. But do a little math. It’s a slight, 90 degree crosswind either way. IF just picks the 09s, but that doesn’t make them open.

What ATC is using is what’s open. End of story.


Thanks now I know I can use the red runways. I prefer crosswinds.

Red is a visual guide only. Any time the wind is over 5 knots, it will change colors to better point to a headwind.

However, you still need to look at the METAR. There’s a difference between 5 knots and 30. It’s just a visual aid. Nothing more.

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I was discussing active fields. In that instance, again, you use where ATC says to.

On a Unicom, if there is other traffic all using one direction, again, no, you cannot simply land against the flow of traffic.


I just did not know on here. I have seen people turn from the runways when they turned red. Now I will not mistake it again. Thank you for the help.


You always land on the runway ATC tells you to land on. If that means you crash and die, at least you die knowing you followed ATC’s instructions. Just because you run out of peanut butter doesn’t mean you make the PB&J with chocolate syrup… ;)

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Actually, if ATC is asking you to do something that you’re unable to do (such as if they are vectoring you into mountains), use the “Unable” command. That’s why it’s there in the first place :)


Yeah that is definitely true. I am just talking about in this scenario.

Absolutely true, but doesn’t apply to IF color coding.

[All of this is qualified by the knowledge that this was a TS controller…so…you know…]


Sorry for my ignorance, but was this on the training server? If it was, they make mistakes all the time, and sometimes you do have to use your common sense.

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Training Server most likely, I bet if it were on the Expert Server he’d be ghosted for sure.


Yes, training server.

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