Last-Minute Runway Changes

February, 10, 2021 by

There can be many reasons for unexpected runway changes, such as weather, air traffic control, and surrounding traffic. What are the most important items to remember during a last-minute runway change?

1. Know your Minimums

Always know your minimums and check against them when accepting/denying a runway change. You obviously don’t want to be changing runways at 500ft AGL. Pick an altitude and reference that altitude when you need to.

2. Check Approach Plates

It’s a great practice to have your arrival airport’s charts up and handy for quick use. Bring up the respective chart and check altitudes, speeds, fixes, etc. Be sure to review the most important aspects of the chart before landing on the new runway.

3. Check Runway Length

This is an incredibly predominant aspect of the runway change process. Check the new runway’s length and ensure it is enough for your aircraft to land on it.

4. Formulate a Taxi Plan

Figure out where you are going to exit the runway and how you’re going to get to your gate. This helps guarantee that the ground is as efficient and smooth as possible.

5. Ask for More Time

You can always ask for more time and, of course, you can always go around. If things aren’t looking right or you aren’t set up for the new runways, hold in the air until you can execute a safe landing.

Luca Caviness is an editor for the IFATC Education Group and an IFATC Supervisor. He is also a real-world student pilot.