I fly in/out of a small international airport occasionally, the runways are quite long. It is not unusual to land half-way or even three-quarters down the runway.

When doing this, pilots request long landings from ATC. I once did not request a long landing and did anyway and got chewed out a bit from ATC.

My question is:

Is it mandatory to request a long landing or is it more of a courtesy? Where is this information documentated?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ One minor point is that "runway behind you" is completely wasted, and if you have an emergency (like a brake failure) then you may wish that you had not landed long... $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Apr 24, 2015 at 20:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger, true. For example though, if you're flying a Cessna 150, by-passing 7,000 feet and utilizing the last 3,000 of a runway is still sufficient for any emergency. Just hope them fire-trucks weren't in the first 1,000 feet... $\endgroup$
    – fbynite
    Apr 24, 2015 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ Depending on the way you did it the controller might not have liked the fact that you were very high above the threshold. That, and the time aspect are the only reasons I can think of he might have disliked $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2015 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ I think ATC just wants to know if you are doing anything out of the usual. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Feb 28, 2022 at 7:31

6 Answers 6


There's no mention that I can find of "landing long" ("landing deep" is sometimes used outside the US) in the FAA's P/CG, AIM or ATC procedures. So it's fairly safe to say that it's an unofficial instruction (assuming I didn't miss it somewhere).

The main reason for doing it is to avoid a long taxi after landing, but I suppose there could be other reasons too, like coming in too high on a long runway or avoiding wake turbulence. The point of requesting it - and not just doing it - is that it may mess up sequencing at a busy airport because you take more time to clear the runway, with the result that the tower has to instruct the aircraft following you to go around. As my first instructor said, "once you're cleared to land it's your runway".

I've never been asked by ATC to do it but I have been asked by the tower to "land short", to minimize my time on the runway and let an airline flight take off ASAP. However, it was clearly phrased as an informal request, not an instruction; something like this:

N12345 Clear to land 36L, appreciate a short landing if you can manage it

So I think the conclusion is that landing "short" or "long" is simply an informal way for pilots and ATC to make things work a bit more smoothly.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ +1 For having searched the P/CG & ATC procedures. I'd done a word search of the AIM myself because another message board claimed there was something there, but came up empty. In all honesty, the best way to describe it would probably be as aviation jargon; the folks involved all know, in very broad strokes, what you're asking for and what to expect, even if the powers that be never formalized it. $\endgroup$
    – habu
    Apr 24, 2015 at 22:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ is that it may mess up sequencing at a busy airport because you take more time to clear the runway -- May quite as well be the opposite, depends on the location of suitable taxiways. You are much faster in the air than taxiing a kilometer to the closest exit. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2015 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @VladimirF - True. There's also spacing of taxiing traffic to consider, especially at bigger airports that service all kinds. DFW for instance regularly sees everything from little Embraer puddle-jumpers to 747s and A380s. The AmAir Lubbock-DFW red-eye would end up right in the middle of the overnights from Dubai and Berlin, and there's no way the tower would let the regional land deep in that scenario as it means a greater following distance for the jumbo behind it. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Apr 27, 2015 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ However, several regional jets spaced concurrently would have no trouble requesting a deep approach. The tower might even request the jet exit at the far end (either landing deep or just taking its time braking) to better manage jets heading to different terminals. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Apr 27, 2015 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, the situation I had in mimd happens at LKPR rwy 24 (so not FAA) where small GA's vacate by the same exit (C) as smaller airliners and it is better if they shorten the time to reach that point. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2015 at 17:37

When you are cleared to land, you own the entire runway until you exit. Use it all if you must. (One exception to this is at Oshkosh, during the annual AirVenture when as many as three airplanes are cleared to land on the same runway at the same time: one short, one medium, and one long as demarcated by colored dots.)

Having said that, at a busy airport you are expected to land reasonably close to the arrival end, and to exit the runway promptly. This is an important component of keeping traffic moving smoothly at a busy airport, so if you want to land long you should inform the tower of your request.

A good reason to land long: If the controller has positioned you too close behind a large airliner so that wake turbulence is an issue, tell the controller that you want to land long. Wingtip vortices stop as soon as the aircraft lands, and you want your touchdown point beyond the large airliner's touchdown point.


I don't think it is documented anywhere that you must inform the controller if you want to land long. But you should state your intentions clearly as a courtesy to the controller and by effect other aircraft that you share the airport with.

The controller will expect a small aircraft to take the first runway exit. They plan the arrival stream accordingly. From experience they know it will take a Cessna 150, for example, 40 seconds between overflying the threshold and vacating at the first exit. Thus they can space the next aircraft appropriately so that they can give a landing clearance in time after you vacate.

When you unexpectedly fly all the way to the second half of the runway before landing it will take much longer between overflying the threshold and vacating the runway. This will make the margins for giving the landing clearance to the aircraft behind you much smaller and may even force the controller to order the big jet on your tail to go around.

For screwing up somebody else's plan and causing others to go-around you get shouted at sometimes.


Long landings are requested mostly by GA pilots (although airlines can do it too) on longer runways. ATC is informed about it.

If the aircraft is parked near the end of the runway, or needs to get there, long landing is used as it is faster to fly at 80 knots than to taxi at a much lower speed.

I'm not sure why ATC didn't like it in your particular situation. It could be that they were expecting you to get off the runway sooner, which you didn't.

This PDF explains this. I couldn't find any regulations related to it.

  • $\begingroup$ For your last point, I think OP landed long without requesting it from ATC $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2015 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Same reason you can do intersection takeoffs. If you're parked at midfield, why taxi half a mile when you only need about 1000 ft of runway? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 24, 2015 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ The link to the PDF is a 404. $\endgroup$ May 18, 2019 at 17:30

ATC doesn't like unannounced long landings because unless they are informed of what you're doing, they will be concerned that you're just too fast or too high and might run off the end of the runway.


In EASA land, you can also be asked to make a long landing because the controller will want to clear another aircraft to land behind you, although you are still occupying the runway. This tool is called Reduced Runway Separation and requires the preceding aircraft to be beyond a certain distance measured from the runway threshold, before the subsequent approaching aircraft can be cleared to land.

Related question:
When is an aircraft cleared to land?


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