San Francisco Parallel Landing (Video)

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If you followed the page carefully AirlinesTravel on facebook, you probably noticed when I posted pictures with parallel landings in San Francisco.

Parallel landing in San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

How is that possible? San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has 4 tracks, 2 with 2 in parallel: 10L / 28R (3618 meters) and 10R / 28L (3469 meters); 1R / 19L (2637 meters) and 1L / 19R (2332 meters). The main traffic is mostly on the tracks 28R and 28L, which are parallel and quite close to each other.

Increased air traffic has led to creative and complex approaches to landing. Under ideal weather and visibility conditions, parallel landings are easily operated, at a relatively high flow of about 60 of aircraft per hour.


Delicate situations occur in bad weather conditions. At such times, the flow is reduced to 38 of aircraft per hour, and landings are made largely by the tools installed on the ground and on the aircraft's edges.

The airport uses PRM (Precision Runway Monitoring) in combination with SOIA (Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach). A PRM approach uses an additional separation radar, which keeps aircraft safe while flying very close to one another. SOIA coordinates aircraft at distances less than 230 meters apart from each other.

Graphic parallel landing in San Francisco

When one aircraft prepares to land on 28L, being guided by the ILS (instrument landing system), the other aircraft flies with the help of LDA (localizer type directional aid) until near landing.

In dense fog conditions, then the flow drops below 30 of aircraft per hour, and the aircraft use ILS (up to CAT-III) to land on 28R.

Next time you fly to San Francisco and have parallel landing, congratulate the pilots for performing some gentle maneuvers.

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