Minimum Distance for Immediate Takeoff

Hey I want to know at what minimum distance in nm must an aircraft on final approach must be in order to allow aircraft holding short on the same runway to safely enter and perform an immediate takeoff?

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It really depends on the airspeed, 3nm for slow props going 80kts, and 4-5 for jets going approach speed and not mach 5 is my limits.

If the aircraft holding short is a C172 and the aircraft on 4nm final is a jet, best to keep the C172 holding short. So aircraft type/speed/distance are all important factors. In the end, it’s what works for you.


As a controller, I’m a little bit more “safe” when it comes to aircraft on final. If I’m the pilot, I know my limits and how my plane will behave, so I can afford to be a little bit more “dangerous.” However, as the controller, I don’t know how people will fly their aircraft, which means I have to be more cautionary.

To answer your question -
• If I’m the pilot, and there is an A/C on final, I feel safe with getting my plane out of there with 1-2 nm between myself and the plane on final, without conflict. 1nm is cutting it very close and I don’t find myself using that as a takeoff distance too often. I feel that’s a bit too close.
• If I’m the controller, I’ll give it 3-4 nm, and then issue a go around. Better safe than sorry.


I usally give it to when the aircraft before is beyond the runway barrier after taking off I am good to have a plane land on the runway… I clear another plane for takeoff as soon as the other other hits my first ring which is 2nm away unless I have a fighter taking off I give it like 4nm as fighters usally blast out

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I really dont know but is there an unable option in the game when cleared for immediately take off ?
When i fly a heavy i would like to wait instead of getting rushed and whenever there is the option to perform a normal take off i would for sure take it. It is like as you wait in a side street and then you want to turn onto a highway…with a Porsche not a problem, if you have a fully loaded semi then things can become unnecessarily hectic. But of course you admit for it ( in IF ) because you know how long the line is behind you.And then i try my best to accelerate hoping not to hear “XXX go around” . Then i feel like " oh man, now the controller thinks whatever from me and has even more stress". But consider that under normal conditions you never take off with max… N1 or EPR…99 percent of take offs are flex or degraded ones. So the acceleration might not be the one the controller was expecting.

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The IFATC theory test asked what to do as a controller when an aircraft is 5nm on final, I chose continue to instruct departing aircraft to hold short and I got it wrong.

ATC should know whether it’s safe to clear you for immediate takeoff, when they clear you for immediate takeoff it’s not really “immediate”. They should give time for you to accelerate slowly from hold short position, align properly with runway centreline, calibrate (need not stop to do so if you have stable hands). If any of those can’t be done then they shouldn’t let you enter the runway in the first place as you can’t safely proceed. At least that isn’t how real life flying is about.

ATC wouldn’t want to issue a go around unecessarily so when they clear you for immediate takeoff, don’t stop for more than 3 seconds.

I assume that because the aircraft was holding short, there was another departure beforehand.

In this case, what I do is I tell the aircaft holding short to line up on the runway before I clear the aircraft on the runway for immediate takeoff. This means there is no “waiting” period between when aircaft take off, because when the first aircaft takes off, there is already another plane on the runway. You can squeeze quite a few extra departures with this technique.

Also, you are allowed to have two aircraft on the runway simultaneously, and clear the one in front for takeoff while the other is behind. This is very common practice at Heathrow, where 2 aircaft are lined up with the first aircraft taking off and the other one taking off without any delay from lining up. Just a tip! :)

The reason hold short is wrong is because you can easily get a departure out with the aircraft being 5nm out. As IFATC, there will be times where you will have non stop arrivals. You will need to find time to get departures out so there isn’t a huge line and everyone is waiting for a long time. 5nm is plenty of room to get a departure out.

I don’t know how long 5nm is, I thought it’s the distance I spawn everytime when I select short final on solo which is near the runway threshold and dangerous for departing aircraft to takeoff.

5 nm is about halfway down the cone.


5nm is about half of the ILS/GPS cone, and does not relate to the short final distance on solo.

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Not to be finicky, but yes, 5 nm is the distance from the ILS intercept when you spawn in for short final in solo mode.

That still doesn’t change the answer to the question though. Yes 5nm seems close, but in reality you have time to quickly get an aircraft out.

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