KBOS Operations Guide

I’ve always been a little fascinated by the crazy runway layout at KBOS. IMO this place should get more attention from IF pilots and ATC as it’s a wicked airport.

Basic rules for realism:

  • No takeoffs from 32 and no landings on 14. There are noise restrictions, and IRL there is a high-rise hotel at the end of 14 partly to block aircraft from operating in that direction (this should really be added to the 3D scenery in IF)
  • Jets are not allowed to take off from 4L or land on 22R. I believe this is also due to noise restrictions.
  • No landings on 9. IRL the approach path would go over downtown Boston and pass dangerously close to high-rise buildings.

As with most big airports, you should follow the SIDs and STARs as much as possible. The following four operating configurations are used IRL.

Northwest Winds (most common - 37%)


In these conditions most operations will be from 33L and 27. ATC tends to pick one of these for departures and the other for arrivals, which keeps the ground traffic flows pretty simple, but you potentially need to give lots of hold short and LUAW instructions since each departing aircraft needs to clear conflicts when it crosses the arriving runway, and then again when cleared for takeoff.

With a 27 departure you need to turn left to avoid buzzing the skyscrapers downtown. See WYLYY5 SID.

32 initially looks useful for incoming traffic, but it does not have an ILS so it is limited to visual operations, it’s only 5,000 feet in length, and god help you if you need to go around with that big tower at the end of the runway.

Southwest Winds (28%)


In these conditions ATC tends to do a simple parallel runway operation, sending departures to 22R and arrivals to 22L. 22R has no ILS and can’t accommodate jet landings so its usefulness for inbound traffic is limited. 27 might be used for arrivals in place of 22L, but in practice this seems less common.

Northeast Winds (18%)


During the daytime ATC can do the opposite parallel operation to the above, sending departures to 4R and arrivals to 4L. At night it is more common to send departures to 9 so that they don’t fly over the residential area north of the airport. 9 departures can LUAW while aircraft pass on 4R, which keeps things efficient. Note that jets can land on 4L, they just can’t take off there. However the lack of an ILS on 4L will make 4R more popular.

Southeast Winds (least common - 17%)


In these conditions you can use the tiny runway 15L for light aircraft arrivals, but it is visual only and really isn’t suitable for anything bigger than a C208. With light traffic you can simply run all operations on 15R; with heavier traffic it makes sense to move departures to 14 (smaller aircraft - this runway is shorter) and 9 (larger aircraft).

The diagrams above come from “How Boston Logan Operates | Massport

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I never knew that Boston had 7 runways, now that i saw runway 15L i always thought that was a taxi way Lol

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I know, 15L is so small it’s often forgotten

Nice topic! I believe this should go in the Ground School category though.

That would exsplaine why 😂

I have nothing to say. Bravo 🎉 nailed it. From KBOS & can attest all of this is true

A very Boston description indeed!

Thanks for this guide.

Whenever I taxi there I always have to be wary of all the runway crossings as there are so many runways going different directions!

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