Taking off at an uncontrolled airport

Recently I have seen an increased lack of judgement of on the expert server of when you should be taking off at an uncontrolled airfield, mostly with once an aircraft lands ahead of you. This should just serve as a mental checklist you should always run through before entering the runway to take off and it should apply to all servers.

In order to be properly cleared to enter the runway to take off consider these guidelines. To be sure you are taking off in the correct situation all the following guidelines should apply to your situation (IF only, real world has more factors)


  1. Is anyone on final for the runway I am departing? Yes or No (If Yes consider 1a)
    1a. If so, are they closer than 4-5nm from the airport? Yes or No (If No you can safely depart with an immediate take off)

  2. Is anyone departing in front of you? Yes or No (If Yes consider 2a)
    2a. Has the aircraft departing before you made their initial turn from the runway or is 3nm away from the opposite end of the runway? Yes or No (If Yes you can safely depart)

  3. Has the aircraft on final landed? Yes or No (If Yes you may line up and wait but must consider 3a)
    3a. Has the aircraft that landed cleared the runway? Yes or No (If Yes you may safely depart)

  4. Has an aircraft announced that they are crossing the runway you will be departing from? Yes or No (If Yes you may line up and wait but must consider 4a)
    4a. Has the aircraft crossing the runway cleared the runway? Yes or No (If Yes you may depart safely)

  5. Is someone taking off from an intersecting runway? Yes or No (If Yes consider 5a)
    5a. Did the other aircraft announce take off before you? Yes or No (If yes line up and wait but do not depart until the other aircraft has. If no you may safely depart)

Really it is simple to answer the basic question “Will I conflict with other traffic in the airspace?” Sadly the considerations I listed above are infractions I am seeing time and time again. Someone, not considering another person on final, someone nearly colliding with another person in front of them that took off before them, someone taking off over someone crossing the runway, someone taking off before someone has had the chance to clear the runway.

Dont take this as a shame on you thing, use this as a constructive criticism to make your piloting better if you fall into the listed instances of impeding traffic at uncontrolled airports.


I’ve also seen a few close calls at airport with intersecting runways. If you plan on departing a runway that intersects another runway being landed on, PLEASE check to make sure you have enough time to depart. If not, simply wait 30 seconds for the other plane to clear you, and then do what you have to do.

This is definitely an extremely good reminder for all fliers on the expert server. Another issue I have found for people doing touch and goes are extreme pulls on yokes to make a runway turn. Please, just be a bit nice and extend your downwind so that another plane can take off.

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I will definitely add this one to the list

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I think you can line up and wait when the aircraft departing starts rolling. That is if you are holding short behind where the departing aircraft started to move.

You should typically wait till they have at least rotated. USA is correct in this case for sure.

As a controller I would be crazy to wait till the aircraft rotated. Not sure if the same applies to uncontrolled airports.

Well, it depends on traffic. If it’s extremely busy, wait till they’ve rotated. If not, do what USA is saying. As a controller, you would never say “N123FG cleared for takeoff Runway 31L” and within one second say “Emirates 239 Super, line up and wait runway 31L”.

Again, this is for max realism. Changes per controller.

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Oh of course no way. I usually wait till the departing aircaft is at or above 12knts then tell the holding short to line up and wait. Then I apply that same logic when I am holding short at a uncontrolled airport.

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