Picking the right runway


i have been told that you need to find the runway that has the closest number to the wind direction and use that runway. is this actually true as when i tried it was false?


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What do you mean when you tried it was false?

Sorry can you explain better I am making no sense of this…

Yes! You should try and choose a runway closest to the winds in the METAR, but most are confused when you say it was “false”. Do you mean that when taking off you ended up with a tailwind instead of the desired headwind?

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i mean that when i tried to see if when you find the runway(for example 27L) matching the wind direction it was the opposite

You want a headwind when taking off or landing. Runway numbers are the heading that points into the runway. So you want to pick the runway number that’s closest to the wind direction. For example, if the wind was at 30 degrees, runway 04 (40 degrees) would be desirable compared to runway 28 (280 degrees).

Runway 27L means that if the wind direction was 270 degrees, 27L would have a headwind.

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If the wind is under 10knots it really doesn’t make a difference, unless traffic is using the other runway. But yes, you should ideally use the runway that is mostly opposing the wind direction (so there is a headwind), so the wind direction from the METAR should be as close to the runway heading as possible.

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You would want the wind at 090 because wind number is blowing from that direction and runway number is going to that direction. If you are departing 27, look at the number at the other end of the runway, in this case 09. That is where you want the wind from ideally


If the wind is 27012kts, that means the wind is coming from 270°. If it is runway 27, then that runway is heading 270°. So, the wind is coming from the east to west, you are flying from east to west. That’s a headwind - which is what you want. If the wind was 09013kts, then it would be a tailwind from the 27s.

Also, keep in mind that the METAR isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of what is happening right now.

Also, other things can be a critical factor. e.g. terrain. If there is other traffic around, do what they are doing.

That’s not true. Winds are shown as what direction they are blowing from.

Sorry, I edited what I was writing a few times. Hold on…

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Just make sure the wind heading is close to the runway heading (number).


This is a great explanation and answer. I believe no more answers are needed.

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What you want to say is right, but you got this a bit mixed up here with the edits. That’s a headwind (like it should be) in your example.

Ah, yes, I did. Editing again now.

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No problem at all. The more you think about the headings, the worse it gets… ;)

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