What determines runway use and the direction aircraft arrive and depart the airport?

There are many factors that go into selecting a runway for a specific operation:


Wind. Prevailing wind is the most influential factor in determining north or south aircraft flow direction.


Air Traffic congestion and safe separation requirements.  Aircraft under the instruction of an air traffic controller will often be vectored to a runway that creates the least amount of congestion and provides safe aircraft separation.


Instrument approach procedures. During low visibility operations, aircraft will rely on runway 16R’s precision approach instrument landing system (ILS) for arrivals.

*14 CFR 91.123 - The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

Show All Answers

1. What is Paine Field’s airport configuration?
2. What determines runway use and the direction aircraft arrive and depart the airport?
3. Why is Paine Field so close to residential neighborhoods?
4. When does the airport close?
5. Does Paine Field monitor noise levels?
6. How is aircraft noise measured?
7. Do aircraft have to comply with local city, county and state noise ordinances?
8. What does the airport do to mitigate aircraft noise in the community?
9. Can the airport restrict certain aircraft from using the airfield?
10. Who controls what flight path jet aircraft fly and at what altitude?
11. Why do aircraft arrive and depart at night and in the early morning, isn’t there a curfew?
12. What is the minimum altitude an aircraft can fly over my residence?
13. Who do I contact if I have an inquiry regarding Paine Field noise or flight operations?