As I’ve said before, there is more to traffic flow than the color of the runway number in IF. So how is one to know which direction to use?
For starters, one might simply ask, by using Request Traffic Advisories.
But if for some reason, five people telling you to use the other end isn’t sufficient, there are other ways. Take these two examples:
In the first, Approach had just signed on, so the pilot headed to 02L was not vectored there. Rather, he made his flight plan 150 nm away, and despite being told 5 times to use the other side, refuses to divert from it, traffic flow be damned.
But it’s clear from looking at the map, something I suggest everyone do, though it seems some are unaware of its existence, that:
- Departing traffic is queuing up at the 20s
- Vectored traffic is headed to the 20s
- There was a pilot on final for that very runway, except 20R instead of 02L
Despite all of this, and the fact that he has more than enough time to adjust, enter downwind for 20R, and behave appropriately, he chooses to continue inbound, eventually creating a situation where two planes are on opposing 5 mile finals.
That is extremely poor etiquette.
Same for the second image, where all of the same circumstances are in play, yet the pilot chose to force the growing queue holding short of 20C to simply sit and wait for him because he has no concern whatsoever for their experience.
But, some may say, both runways are green.
It does not matter. Color is not the only thing to consider. When both are green, then traffic flow dictates. Green is not a license to take off directly in the face of inbound traffic (doubly so if Approach is actively vectoring them). It is not okay to force departing traffic to wait out your approach because, unlike you, they have some situational awareness and common courtesy. It is not okay to force someone following instructions and/or traffic flow to go around.
Traffic flow is not dictated by the shortest taxi from your spawn point. It is not determined by the flight plan you made 150 miles ago.
Green, red, yellow. These are visual aids, nothing more. Don’t land 09 at KSAN against 10 inbound to 27 because there’s a slight 5 knot crosswind and it’s just easier for you. Have a little courtesy. Have a little respect for the traffic around you.
If you don’t want to concern yourself with others, FDS has been so kind as to offer a Solo Mode. But Unicom is not a license to ignore other traffic. (Yes, PIC is the decision maker, but I defy you to find a real-world pilot who would behave like this, who would intentionally fly directly into the face another aircraft, so that’s not a cop-out.)
Note: This is intended to be informational. You’ll note that I have not included call signs or names. Please do likewise and refrain from turning this into a call-out thread by posting images of other pilots by name or callsign. Just let it remain an informational guide on etiquette and utilizing the tools available as you approach an airport which might have two green runways. (Or even a red runway in use in certain situations [e.g. 5 knot crosswind at KSAN, SOP at KASE or PHTO, etc.])