Runway change - Does it happen on live, and how does IFATC handle it?

I’ve always wondered when flying on Expert, if there has ever been a scenario where the winds shift and the runways that were in use must now be reveresed or changed to a different runway, meaning that planes landing on the other end of the runway, must now land on the opposite side, while aircraft airborne will be directed to the runway that is now currently in use.

Has this ever happened? How does IFATC handle a runway change? I’m very curious to know, thanks in advanced :)

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A runway change is only really viable if there aren’t many aircraft around. It would be an absolute pain during a FNF for example, to shift 30+ aircraft over to another runway just because the winds favour it. A red runway doesn’t exactly mean that it cannot be used, pilots just have to be a bit more cautious upon landing. A runway change will always be down to the controller’s discrection.

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In general, to do a runway change, a controller gives another pattern entry, sequences if applicable, then cleared to land/for the option.

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There is also a message that broadcasts: “Attention all aircrafts, runway change is in progress”. If it is really necessarily, I assume the controller will not let the aircrafts that requested pushback, push back, will wait until the last aircrafts takes off from the now not in use runway, will update the ATIS and once everything is set up, the controller will notify the pilots to check new ATIS information. Therefore, pilots will receive the runways now in use and everything is done. Same procedure happens for the aircrafts in the air. But it varies… one controller might handle it in a different way than another controller…

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Very interesting…
Thanks for all the answers guys! :)

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Having done a couple runway changes, they’re a fun challenge! We normally try and find a lull in the traffic, and plan between approach, ground, and tower. Timing is important, so that we don’t have aircraft taking off and landing into each other. Aircraft get told to taxi to/expect the new runway, and then once all the inbounds and departures for the old runway are done, we kick off from the new end with as little delay as possible!

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I’ve done a few changes before as an approach controller and it’s basically adding on an extra downwind leg to get to the new runway.
New inbounds enter base for the new runway and I extend as needed to fit them in until the line from runway switching subsides.
White: original path
Yellow: new path after the change
Green: path for inbounds post change until the yellow is gone

For ground ops, aircraft would be told to taxi to the new runway and tower would push out the departures on the old runway until they are gone. After that business resumes as usual.

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