Will IFATC allow small planes to land at big airports?

I’ve always had this question in my mind.

Let’s say, instead of the fast TBM930, you Choose the humble Cessna 172.

Let’s say IFATC is busy at a certain airport (like, busy busy) and you took off from an airport somewhere else for a 2 hour flight to that airport in your Cessna 172.
You are hoping to land at that intended airport, if not, you have an alternative set up just in case.

I’ve wondered, will IFATC allow a small Cessna land at that very busy airspace? Or will they be told not to land there?

I’m curious, as in Real Life, you could land at LAX, ORD, and I think ATL during times where it’s not too busy and hectic.

Yes depending on the controller.

1 Like

I landed a Cessna at KSAN with IFATC before. You just have to be tactical on the approach. I approached going fast and then slowed down for the last 3 miles. I didn’t want to hold up the bigger jets all around me.


When it’s not terribly busy. GA planes are pretty slow compared to airliners, so they may deny entry or put you into a hold or create extra spacing if it’s very busy


We try and be as accommodating as possible, but when it’s FNF level traffic, we implore pilots to not bring their Super D’s among a bunch of 777s. Use common sense to determine whether you should bring a small aircraft.


For me, it depends on what you want to do. If I can fit you into the sequence for a full stop, I’ll do my best to accommodate. But if you want to do patternwork with 5 people inbound for landing, I can’t help you there.


You have to use your senses. When you see that there are 120 aircraft going to KORD its best to avoid going there at all costs. If there are 40 aircraft going you could squeeze through because people going are more spread out. I myself tend to avoid KLAX and KJFK during IFATC times in a small aircraft because I know I would cause an issue with how slow I would go. That and there are satellite airports all around it.


5 people inbound… 🤦‍♂️

1 Like

I think they might, I was in a SR22 during FNF at Helsinki once. Best part was the ATC was streaming with a mic so I could hear them discussing what to do with me 😅 I got to land on a takeoff runway (ATIS) I’ll try find the stream and link it with time stamps here:


I’m more, so 5 inbounds and having to deal with a traffic pattern is mildly stressful😂

BP already PMed me about it

Yes, you won’t be denied. But don’t expect to get immediate clearence since ATC will most likely have to work around you. Delay vectors and speed commands will proably be used. Also, runway or request/altitude requests will most likey be strictly assigned by the controller to keep traffic flowing.

Sorry about @BluePanda900, he’s new.


If there are a lot of runways (like Chicago) and no one is using by trafic, do you considering allowing small plane trafic?

Yeah, usually I will try and separate GA aircraft on a smaller runway to maintain efficiency.


Yeah, but if it’s busy , I try to keep them the last in sequence coz GAs like Tbm Sirrus Cessna, takes more times than a 737 or a320 for the initial or final approach. And if they’re the one in front and a 737 guy behind him coming at 140-150 kts at final, I’m pretty sure the GA will cause him to go around.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.