Choose straight out or west if departing from runway 24L KLAX flying runway heading?

Take KLAX for an example:

The airspace are represented by black rings. As I’m taking off from runway 24L, does the red arrow signify ‘‘departing straight out’’ or ‘‘departing west’’? The blue arrow signifies ''departing north as the aircraft would takeoff and leave the airspace at the north. What about the yellow arrow? Since it’s not near north or near west would it matter if I said either of the two?

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I’m pretty sure it is both straight out and west. I could be wrong but I’m 95% sure.

It’s sort of ‘roughly’ thing, which ever direction you are heading more is the direction you announce.

Straight out departure means flying runway heading, so at 240 degrees for LAX, until the end of the cone. If you plan on deviating from runway heading straight after takeoff, you would say which direction. As @Mavic said, it doesn’t really matter if you say north or west.

However, as LAX and many other airports have parallel runways, you would want to do a straight out departure to not interfere with traffic taking off from other runways.

Well LAX is interesting. If you will be traveling east or west, you will depart straight out and turn south to fly over LAX as shown here:


If you are departing north or west, you will fly the detection of your destination without any SID Departure plan. Here is an example:


When you look at these pictures, you will see that the aircraft continued to be at heading 250 until he is at the end of the cone. This is only LAX and there are tons of different Departure plans for each individual airport.


North, East, South and West are dependent on your flight plan, if your departing LAX for Hawaii for instance there’s nothing wrong in saying West as that’s the direction of your flight. Straight out just signifies to others you’ll be maintaining runway heading to the end of the cone/airspace. Useful at parallel airports if someone else is departing at the same time.

However with live ATC you must remain runway heading if “straight out departures only” is active in the ATIS regardless of your flight plan.

In a nutshell, it’s there to make other pilots aware of your intentions.

Happy landings 👍


That’s actually a SID;)

So if I intent to fly runway heading till the end of the ILS cone and then turn right heading north once I leave the airspace or any other direction it’s not wrong to say ‘‘departing west’’ instead of ‘‘departing straight out’’ right?

Same goes for runway headings like 18, 36, 09 and 27 since they all point to south, north, east and west respectively…

I’m afraid IFATC will assume that when I choose ‘‘departing west’’ instead of ‘‘departing straight out’’ when taking off runway 24L KLAX they’ll think that I’m not flying runway heading as I said ‘‘departing west’’.

When saying you’re going to depart in a certain direction out of an airspace, you always say the direction your plane is going to depart the airspace. Not the direction you’re ultimately going to be heading.

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In this case you would say departing north. Although initially maintaining runway heading you ultimately leave the airspace heading north. Again, it’s just a courtesy to others around you

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That’s also logical. What about if I takeoff from runway 24L and fly runway heading, leave the airspace then make 180 degrees turn towards continental US, would that count as ‘‘departing east’’?

It’s all just the general direction of where you’re heading, not sure why this is confusing. You’re getting too much into specifics.

Even if you decide to stay in the airspace until its edge, then turn to your intended heading for your destination, you’re still requesting departure to the general direction of your destination.

If you’re flying from LAX to New York, for example. You are departing east from your origin, even if it means that you head west from the airport and ultimately turn to the east after or before leaving the airspace. If you’re going from LAX to Honolulu, departure to the west or even straight out is fine. LAX to San Diego, is south of you, even if it means you head west before turning south, and so on and so forth.

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Nathan, the departure direction you specify as a pilot is NOT the final direction of your destination airport, but the direction where you will be departing the airspace.

This is the reason @anon91707592 is raising this, and he has a point I think.

I believe @Chris_Hoover said it correctly:


So in summary:

If I intent to depart from 24L KLAX straight out, I’ll fly runway heading until I leave airspace.

If I intent to depart from 24L KLAX north, I’ll takeoff and turn right asap heading north and leave the airspace from there. Same goes for ‘‘departing south’’. Just turn left asap.

If I intent to depart from 24L KLAX west, I’ll takeoff and fly runway heading until I leave airspace. So ‘‘departing west’’ and ‘‘departing straight out’’ has no difference.

If I intent to depart from 24L KLAX east, I’ll takeoff and make 180 degrees turn while still within the airspace.


I agree with all of them.

However, be very careful with crossing (parallel) flight paths.
I believe it is good practice to taxi to the runway that makes sense for your departure direction. Using the 25’s at LAX do depart North is not the obvious thing to do.

My personal best practice: always depart straight out.
And when you say you depart straight out, then do depart straight out.

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I will ultimately be heading in the direction of my destination when I depart even while still in the airspace. Chris’ method and my method can both work.

I think we’ve overcomplicated this … ha

As a controller, I’m just asking for you to let me know where you are generally heading while in my airspace so i can know if you’re clear for a takeoff or if i need to have you wait for any reason.

If you are departing west, out of LAX, you could say either, if you say departing straight out its giving me the same idea as you saying you are departing west. Remember what airspace we control, it doesnt mean while you are just in the rings, but while you are in the altitude, so if you are traveling to new york, using charts… it would all depend on how you are going to leave my airspace, which is most likely going to be a west or south departure (unless you are very slowly climbing) - using @Plane-Train-TV’s great example of what a departure of LAX should look like if we are going off real-world procedure.

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