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I am an IFR rated pilot flying 172s and 182s out of Hawthorne Municipal Airport (KHHR) in Los Angeles. I've heard from other pilots that in actual IFR conditions (IMC) it can be difficult to get sequenced for an approach due to the proximity of inbound jet traffic at nearby LAX, perhaps due to separation requirements for IFR aircraft combined with the parallel approaches or the two airports:

KLAX-KHHR proximity

What really happens when both airports are landing to the west as is most often the case? My worry is that if I'm returning home on a cloudy day, I might be forced to land at Torrance airport (KTOA) and then Uber it back to my car at Hawthorne.

I've heard from other pilots that they have returned to the area and been told they will have to hold for hours, which obviously makes the Hawthorne LOC approach useless in a practical sense.

Ideally, this question would be best answered by someone who works as an approach controller in the LA basin.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you're an AOPA member, check out the recent discussion forum thread about doing the SoCal TRACON tour. It sounded very good, and a great way to get to put your questions to ATC directly. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 11 '16 at 18:44
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Without pulling up the SOP/LoAs between HHR and LAX and SoCal Tracon, or working at those facilities to see if there's a better option, and just looking at the positions of the airports and their approaches, I'd say for an actual approach into HHR, you'd have to be vectored into the LAX arrival stream and sequenced like that.

From the approach plates, at the HHR Final approach fix you might have enough separation from LAX's 25L/R, vertically, but once you get to the end of the runway there isn't enough separation between the procedures.

Now if HHR tower can see the LAX traffic and apply visual separation that can change things as well, such that they are making sure you don't get too close, to the other final, as long as wake turbulence isn't involved.

Beyond the theoretical, just call the tower or SoCal Tracon and ask, or schedule a visit and ask.

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