Exiting the runway at KSAN

Hello all,

After a session controlling KSAN (San Diego) on Expert this morning, I just wanted to give some pointers for how to move around that constricted field, particularly when it comes to exiting runway 27.

As you can see from this chart, the terminal areas are right up at the 09 end of the runway, and there is only a single parallel taxiway:

To further complicate matters, several gates at the ends of the terminal concourses push back directly onto that parallel taxiway, and the constricted space in the alleys means that some of the gates further down them also require larger aircraft to push out onto the parallel taxiway.

When there is traffic pushing back or moving in those gate areas at the end of the runway, having an aircraft exit on B6, B7 or B8 and then try to head west to the terminal is highly likely to cause a situation where two planes come face to face with nowhere for either to go. However, this can be avoided by understanding that there needs to be an anti-clockwise flow around the field, with landing aircraft aiming to come off at B9 or B10 so as to be behind any outbound planes taxiing east to the 27 threshold.

Your controller may give you a “Continue Straight Ahead” progressive taxi instruction while on the runway, and then a further “When able turn left, contact Ground on the taxiway” command when you have reached a point that your exit from the runway will not cause a problem in the ramp area. Please follow these instructions if issued to you (i.e. keep moving down the runway until told to exit), but even if not given such an instruction, please have a look at the field as you are on final and/or slowing on the runway. If there’s nothing on short final behind you then there is no need to exit the runway rapidly, so be aware that it may cause the controller more of a headache if you do.

If the controller does tell you to expedite your exit from the runway then do so, but again, bear in mind that this does not necessarily mean slowing to 30kts immediately and then turning at the next exit. You can deactivate the brakes on landing, and keep a fair pace up (80-100kts or so) until you reach the western end of the runway where your exit may cause fewer issues without it causing a go around.

Finally, and just because I had to deal with this a lot this morning, please remember that you have not exited the runway until you have crossed the hold line. Do not stop on the runway side of it, as this means you are still on the active runway and the controller is not able to allow anyone waiting to depart and may have to instruct anyone on short final to go around. See this recent topic for more information:


This is helpful for both the pilots and controllers. Thank you for highlighting this.


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