How to Dulles (IAD)

How to Dulles

Please note that not all of what you read here will apply to Infinite Flight. Thanks!

Introduction to the Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport is the major international airport in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. It has four runways and is one of a few airports visible from the ISS! Dulles is located in Dulles, Virginia, due south of Ashton and west of Reston. The airport is named after former US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. The airport originally had the IATA of DIA and the ICAO of KDIA, but due to the similarity of the nearby DCA/KDCA, it was changed to IAD/KIAD to prevent issues on Potomac Approach and Center frequencies. In this how to, I’ll explain how to realistically operate at Dulles Airport!

The Airport Itself

(chart via Dulles Airport)

There are four runways at Dulles, 1R/19L, 1C/19C, 1L/19R, and 12/30. The main concourse buildings are located between 1R/19L and 1C/19C, north of the remote ramp and south of the main terminal which only has four gates. The cargo ramp is on the north side of the airport next to 19C, with a small private jet apron north of that and United Airlines maintenance hangars north of that. Next to 19L, there is a much larger private jet apron where Sun Country charters are often seen.

Understanding Size Restrictions

Well… there aren’t any lol

But there are some taxiway restrictions for the 747-8 and A380 (and presumably the AN-225 if they ever un-cancel the flight here).

747-8 Taxiway Restrictions

The 747-8 cannot taxi on the following taxiways:

  • E1 (restricted to aircraft with a wingspan greater than 79 feet)
  • E2
  • E3
  • EE
  • A between A1 and A5 (restricted to aircraft with a wingspan greater than 118 feet)

The 747 is allowed a maximum of 17kts taxi on

  • J
  • Z
  • Y

747-8 can taxi on the following taxiways, however the taxiway next to it is limited to aircraft with a 200 foot wingspan or less when the 747-8 is taxiing.

  • C
  • D

A380 Taxiway Restrictions

The A380 is not permitted on the following taxiways:

  • A
  • A1
  • A2
  • A4
  • A5
  • B
  • D
  • E between Z and K
  • E1
  • E2
  • E3
  • EE
  • J between GA ramp and F
  • J1 between GA ramp and K
  • J2 between GA ramp and K
  • J3
  • J4
  • K3
  • K6
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • S
  • Y between Y9 and runway 30 | between Y1 and Z
  • Y1 between Y and Z
  • Y2
  • Y3
  • Y4
  • Y6
  • Y9
  • Y11 between runway 1C and Z
  • Z between Q and runway 30 | between runway 19C and C | between D and E
  • Z7

Just adhere to those restrictions (the 380 is pretty lengthy, pay close attention and plan your taxi prior to landing) and you should be good!


The DC SFRA is an indefinite TFR that spans 30 miles in all directions around the DCA VOR. It is from surface to 17,999 feet and applies to all aircraft, without exception.

These are the rules of the DC SFRA:

  • Squawking 1200 is illegal within the DC SFRA
  • VFR flight in the DC SFRA must be filed as an special IFR SFRA flight plan with one of the DC SFRA Gates included in it, for example, an outbound filing for VFR from Manassas to the west would be KHEF FLUKY. Outbound and inbound VFR flights are filed separately. You must remain on your IFR squawk assigned by ATC at all times in the SFRA. You will squawk 1200 upon leaving the SFRA, but must obtain an ATC squawk and clearance into the SFRA before reentering.
  • All aircraft flying into the SFRA must have FAA clearance before entering, clearance is usually given during the filing of a flight plan into the SFRA from another airport. This goes for both commercial and general aviation flights

More on the DC SFRA can be found here:

About the Runways

Dulles has an interesting usage of the runways. This being that Runway 30 is almost never not used. If it isn’t in use, then the 19s or 1s are in use. Even if winds are a direct tailwind, 30 is still often used. There are also dual operations where 30 is used but private jets are accepted into landing 12 if there are no aircraft in line. Chances are, if the tailwind starts to exceed some aircraft’s maximum tailwind speed, Runway 30 will be taken off of use and the 1s or 19s will be used for departures instead. Visual approaches are given unless said otherwise on request, or if the visibility is too low for a safe approach.


Runway 1R

This is the most popular runway for flights from the east or north. All aircraft can take it, and if winds are directly promoting this runway, it is used for departures to the north, east, south, and sometimes west alongside 1C and 30. Currently the ILS is down and the runway is only doing visual approaches. Runway can handle all aircraft.

Runway 1R ILS or LOC

Runway 1R ILS CAT II - III

Runway 1R RNAV (RNP) Z

Runway 1R RNAV (GPS) Y

Runway 1C

Flights from the south and west use this runway, and it can handle up to a 747-8.

Runway 1C ILS or LOC/DME


Runway 1C RNAV (RNP) Z

Runway 1C RNAV (GPS) Y

Runway 1L

This runway is used if there is too much arriving traffic from the west to keep in a steady flow at safe distance on 1C and 1R. Use only if it is dire. Aircraft also can make a sharp change to this runway from 1C if they are at least 1.5 miles from the runway. It can handle all aircraft. Runway is not used for departures due to the excruciatingly long taxi time.

Runway 1L ILS or LOC/DME

Runway 1L ILS CAT II - III

Runway 30 RNAV (GPS) Y

Runway 30

This runway is only used for departures and that is why it has no approach procedures. About 5-15 years ago they had vectored visual approaches for a short final turn, similar to that of DCA, however sharper and further from the runway. Do not use this runway for approaches. It is the primary departure runway, if the winds are a tailwind below 12 kts, it is used. If not, the runway is closed, with the extremely rare exception of private jet approaches to runway 12.

Departures from the runway make either an immediate turn to the south, usually while still over the runway, or an immediate turn to the north on a 320 heading to 3000 then a 360 heading until about KJYO, then direct RIGNZ or JERES.

Runway 19R

This runway is used if there is too much arriving traffic from the west to keep in a steady flow at safe distance on 19C and 19L. Use only if it is dire. It can handle all aircraft. Runway is not used for departures due to the excruciatingly long taxi time.

Runway 19R ILS or LOC/DME

Runway 19R ILS CAT II - III

Runway 19R RNAV (GPS)

Runway 19C

This runway can handle all types of traffic and takes arrivals from the south when business is slow, arrivals from the north, arrivals from the west, and some European arrivals.

Runway 19C ILS or LOC/DME

Runway 19C ILS CAT II - III

Runway 19C RNAV (RNP) Z

Runway 19C RNAV (GPS) Y

Runway 19L

Runway 19L is the primary runway for arrivals from the south, north, and east. It can handle all aircraft.

Runway 19L ILS or LOC

Runway 19L ILS SA CAT II

Runway 19L RNAV (RNP) Z

Runway 19L RNAV (GPS) Y

Runway 12

Last and most certainly least | runway 12 slander |, we have Runway 12. This is the least used runway at Dulles seeing 1 or 2 arrivals per year and zero departures per year. Even though it is used, just don’t use it unless you are in a C750 and it is a perfect headwind and there is no other departing traffic. Even in that situation, try not to use runway 12, go to the 19s or 1s.

Runway 12 ILS or LOC/DME

Runway 12 RNAV (GPS)

Runway 12 VOR/DME

Exiting the Runway and Taxiing

Blue is the 19 side and red is the 1 side

Runway 19R/1L

Runway 19C/1C

Runway 19L/1R

Runway 30

Here we have taxi routes for Runway 30. Aircraft take Z Y11 to runway 30 most of the time but sometimes take E1 F Y11, E2 F Y11, or J F Y11. E1 and E2 are strictly for ERJs, CRJs, and private jets.

Taxiing to 19L/1R and 19C/1C

Aircraft generally take the outer taxiway, like J to 1R/19L and Z to 1C/19C. Private jets often take an intersection departure from 1R from either K5 or K7, but usually K7. All other aircraft take full length.


United Airlines dominates all of the southern concourse/terminal building. Both Terminal C and D are strictly for United. Terminal A’s east side has a commuter area that is also specific to United Express CRJs (and formerly Dash 8s).

Terminal A sees Porter along with many of the Star Alliance members, as well as Emirates, British Airways, and Air France.
Terminal B sees all other domestic and international carriers that fly to Dulles.

The southern ramp usually sees military charters and rare cargo flights, such as the AN-124 and Silk Air 747-8.

The northernmost cargo apron also sees military charters, sports team charters, cargo charters, and repatriation charters.

STARs and SIDs


  • CAVLR4
  • GIBBZ4
  • HYPER8
  • LEGGO6
  • MAPEL3


  • BUNZZ3
  • CLTCH3
  • JCOBY4
  • JDUBB4
  • JERES2
  • MCRAY2
  • RNLDI4
  • WOOLY1

Notice that some STARs and one SID are missing. That is because the missing ones are not used. I have no clue why they were made. Let me know below if you would like to see the addition of charts for these STARs and SIDs.

Final Word

I hope that the pilots and all ATC, whether TS or IFATC, take these into account when flying to and/or from Dulles, and when flying to Dulles. Thank you!

All charts that I used here (except the first) were from , though you can find many other free PDF charts at Airnav, FlightAware, and other places! I used this website because it was the only one I could find with free PNG charts. I usually use Navigraph, but sharing charts from a subscription (Navigraph is $75/year) is prohibited.

This is the sequel topic to my original How to DCA and was inspired heavily by that as well.


This is a beautiful tutorial and very informational, earned a bookmark from me I’ll definitely use this when I fly into Dulles.

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I started working on this a few weeks ago and somehow the timing worked with that of the FNF lol


I mean this is a huge post, and it’s like a mini book lol. Really great and I’ll for sure use this for tomorrow.

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Shorter than the DCA tutorial but that’s because Dulles isn’t as special as DCA lol


Definitely will use this when coming in and out of dulles tommorow aswell as your dca guide. Thanks for theses !

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You’re welcome!

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Will defiantly use these! Thanks for putting off time to make this.

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Awesome timing, perfect for the FNF! Currently inbound to IAD flying an Air Tahiti Nui 787-9 from Tahiti and was trying to figure out which terminal I’m going to 🙃

Thank you!

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I would park in the remote apron on the south side for that

Just added this last part to the Runway 30 information. Probably the most important piece of information about the runway other than it should almost always be used.

Nice topic name!!!

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Very nice Tutorial @dca.iad.aviation !

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Thank you! As the FNF continues, I highly recommend both IFATC and pilots read through this

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Very interesting read, very nice!

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