Runway colours | Take off and landing

Many runways have red color at one end and green at the other. Generally, it’s preferred to land on a green runway because the winds will be relatively calmer at the green end than the red, right? But during take off, is it better to take off at the red end because the rotation of the aircraft will be at the green end?


No, the green end is take off and landing. You don’t see planes landing at one end and taking off at the opposite in real life do you?? :)


Yes, but I ask about the airports with multiple runways. When I was ATC, I had this thought where to direct the aircrafts requesting take off.

I tried taking off from the red end and it was, I guess I felt, better. But, I wonder if that’s the way it’s done, or is it just my thought.

1 Like

The planes always take off the same way if we take 23L and R vs 05L and R at man planes will take off on 23L and land on 23R so the same way.

On green runways, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are calm winds.

In real life, planes take off and land into the wind because the oncoming air creates more lift at rotation speed.

Green Runway: Winds pointing about straight down runway.

Orange Runway: Crosswinds

Red Runway: Tailwinds. Can’t land there. In real life, aircraft almost never land into tailwinds, as it tends to push them further down the runway on landing.


Oh, that’s what the colours mean! I thought it was just about the strength of the wind.

Wait a sec, tail winds should help the lift though, shouldn’t they? …like the aircraft gets pushed from the back to make the take off easier?


Well, wind has to go over the leading edge (front side) of the wing to generate more lift.

If it was the opposite, then manufacturers would create backward wings, haha.

Aircraft use flaps on takeoff to generate more lift. If they takeoff into the wind, then the wind hits the underside of the flaps and points the wind downwards, lifting the aircraft off the ground.

If there was a tailwind, the wind would hit the flaps from the back, and just push the wind upward off the wing.


Ah, right. The aerodynamics. Never mind the last question, I wasn’t even thinking!

1 Like

It’s fine, no question is a bad question. You need to ask questions to fully understand something. :)


If you were to have a tailwind you would have to have reach a higher ground speed for t/o meaning a later rotation. But if you were to have a headwind you would have a lower ground speed at rotation meaning a shorter t/o role.


Yes, I get you now. Thanks 👍🏼 So, tailwind pushes the craft, makes it go at a faster speed, and the benefit of that would only be reaching the destination faster, but not during take off and landing, is that right?

As said, tailwinds are good for high groundspeed - it makes them ideal for long flights. However, pilots want short takeoffs and to do that, you need enough air going over the control surfaces and therefore a headwind is both more helpful in takeoff and landing - the controls are more responsive and you can takeoff faster.

1 Like

Does it affect the flap setting?

What do you mean? No, you should always use standard flaps if that’s what you’re asking

Lift is created by the pressure differential between the top and bottom of the wing. As Don was saying, when wind goes over the leading edge of the airfoil (anything useful that can utilize lift), a certain amount of camber comes into play, depending on how structured/thick it is.

  • Camber = curvature of the wing. Generally, a higher camber is better in order to allow the air more time to flow down to the bottom of the trailing edge, which is the place where the wing ends. There are tradeoffs to producing higher camber, however, such as drag, cost, angle of attack/incidence, etc.

Wind coming from behind a plane fails to wash over the front of the wing, making lift more difficult to achieve. The plane would be relying totally on the relative wind (part of the atmosphere moving directly against the aircraft), instead of further assistance by headwinds. Sure, it can fly, but it’ll take more time and runway.

To think my $100K degree is useful for an online forum… :(