KSFO using wrong runways

I was looking at KSFO ATIS earlier today and it showed landing runways 1L and 1R. This annoyed me a little because I fly out of KSFO a lot, and I’m quite familiar with it, and they never ever ever ever use runways 1R and 1L to land (Due to many factors including terrain). In extreme weather conditions, KSFO will use 10R and 10L to land or 19R and 19L to land, but these situations are rare, and KSFO almost always uses 28R and 28L to land all aircraft. I was wondering why the controller at KSFO decided to use 1R and 1L to land because the winds for 28B were okay. Just to confirm, I checked FlightRadar24 and KSFO is using 28L and 28R currently IRL. I was just wondering what are the criteria for choosing runways (besides wind because wind was okay for 28B), and if IFATC research their airports beforehand for realism purposes.

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That seems like something to bring up with your controller. If you remember who they are, please pm them

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Thanks for the info, but I didn’t catch the name of the controller. I wasn’t actually at KSFO, I was in the vicinity, but I saw the D-ATIS on the airport’s information.

For the record, the 01s have been used for landings. But this is a very rare case, so I wouldn’t expect it to be happening right now.

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Yes, I found out it was been used, but incredibly rarely.

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The last controller was @Deacon_Williams – feel free to PM them for more information.


In Infinite Flight, I agree that Runways 1L and 1R should only be used for departures, as the coastal terrain is not suitable for arrivals and most pilots don’t know how to execute a circle-to-land maneuver to avoid said terrain.

In the real world, the only exception is when the Bay Area experiences rare northern winds, causing Runways 28L and 28R to be less desirable and forcing pilots to land on the 1s. This is not the case today.

Furthermore, in the very rare case that controllers do send arrivals to the 1s, they would not be using the 28s simultaneously, since the circle-to-land maneuver passes directly through the approach paths. It’s one or the other and in this case and most cases, the 28s win.

While the ATC Manual does state that all runways should be used by controllers, SFO was built in a way that expeditious and safe services are best provided through the common runway configuration that you shared.

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Thanks for the help!

You are completely right to be concerned here. IFATC are encouraged to research the airport, look at charts and even fly patterns before opening. It appears the controller was not fully prepared in this situation, which happens from time to time.

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Yeah, KSFO usually uses 28L & 28R for landings & 1L & 1R for takeoffs (heavies usually don’t depart or land on 1R, but it has happened before). 1L is off the limits for heavies, because 1L/19R is short for a safe departure.

10L & 10R are rarely used, but takeoffs do happen especially during winter months. 19L & 19R are also rarely used, but they are used for arrivals during winter months. For realism, 28L & 28R would be the correct runways for takeoffs & landings & 1L/1R would be the correct runways for small aircraft to takeoff from (CRJ, ERJ, A320, 737, etc).

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Heavies dpeart on 1R all the time. 1L is the bum runway - have not taken off on it in 6 yrs lol. They have never landed on it either only 1R.

also ran u should call sfo they are starting up there ATC tower tours soon, its really cool :)

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Wait, where’s the news of that? It sounds awesome!

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Also, controllers may use those runways if its busy, and sometimes they have to to manage traffic that way. As many others have said, a PM will be best

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Im the news I guess :). I dm’ed SFO on insta and asked and he/she said they are starting it up soon but they did not give a date, then I called the airport and I got transfered to some supervisor and they said they will be starting it up again within the coming months but no exact date yet so thats probably why there is not much info available. But you may be able to get put on a waiting list. :)

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While this is true to some extent, it’s not the case at SFO. There are mountains on final for the 1’s, so the only approach available would be the circle to land procedure, which makes no sense if the 28’s were to be used at the same time.

At airports such as, say, EDDF, using all runways for everything (excluding 18/36) is efficient. However, using all runways for everything at SFO actually slows things down which I’m sure wasn’t the intent when the airport was created.

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Yes, runway 1L and 1R are used for takeoffs only in most situations

Most international departures use 28L and 28R for takeoff, with the exception of flights going to Canada or Mexico. Many heavies do depart on 1R though, because United uses aircraft such as the 772, 789, 78X, and the 77W for domestic flights to their other hubs such as DEN, ORD, or EWR

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yup! It really depends on your direction of travel and aircraft in the vecinity and weather :) (also united is the best:), I ( and maybe luca too) will have sfo open all day on saturday so come by :)

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There have been rare instances that runway 1L and 1R have been used. But if you want to do from this way you should come from the south then make sharp turn into SFO instead of straight in approach.

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Yes, due to Mountains, a straight in approach to 1L and 1R is not possible

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