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I understand that KSJC is a busy airport. I have done touch'n'gos at Oakland (also a busy Class C airport), but they have three dedicated runways for GA aircraft.

There is nothing about which runway is preferred for GA operations at SJC in the Airport Facility Directory notes.

What should I expect if planning an unannounced trip to SJC (arriving from the north/north-east)? Are touch-n-goes tolerated (i.e. staying in the pattern)? Which runway should I expect to be directed to? Is there anything else I should know?

I'm looking for local knowledge from someone with experience flying in the area, for example "GA operations are usually conducted on 30L, as the air carrier terminal is on the the other runway, and transient parking is adjacent to this runway" [I'm not sure this is the case, this is just an example of the type of information I'm looking for].

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    $\begingroup$ The best thing you can do is pick up your AFD, find the number for the tower, and call them to ask these questions. They should be more than happy to help especially since you are calling ahead of time instead of just showing up. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 21 '16 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Thanks Ron. This is good advice. If there's no good advice forthcoming here, I'll do that before heading down there again... $\endgroup$ – CJBS Mar 21 '16 at 21:53
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I have flown several times to SJC for touch and goes. I have always been on the weekends, and probably in the afternoons. It is a lot of fun, especially because the runways are so long for a small plane. I think I’ve been three times, and each time they have accommodated me on 30L. The wind is almost always favoring the 30 runways, and I don’t remember ever being cleared for 30R.

They will occasionally make you circle briefly before entering the C. They will also sometimes make you extend for a pretty long pattern to the SE if they have a big fella cleared for 30R. All the big commercial jets seem to be sent to 30R, and it is small GA jets that use 30L.

I have only done touch and goes, as I wanted to get out of the way quickly. But I get the impression that the tower is happy to accommodate as long as they’re not too busy. My instructor told me that they sometimes will say ‘no’ if they are busy, especially during the morning push, but I have no experience of that.

Have fun! There’s a beautiful 787 that is often at the terminal, keep an eye out for it!

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  • $\begingroup$ When circling to the south east, is this within the Class C, or south east of RHV's Class D? $\endgroup$ – CJBS Mar 22 '16 at 15:45
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KSJC is a towered airport so you are at the discretion of the controller as to what runway you will be instructed to use as well as if touch and go's will be permitted at the time. This may be load dependent when you arrive. I would expect either runway and it all depends who is about to depart when you arrive.

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While a typical pattern is the norm at a towered field it should be noted the controller may extend a leg or two to make room for other traffic. It should also be noted that according to the AFD 30R and and 12R have Right Traffic while the other runways will have left traffic so you should be alert of the pattern you are flying depending on the runway you are inbound for.

Since this airport is with in class C airspace (from the surface) you will also need to contact the appropriate controller to enter the airspace.

You should always get a flight brief before heading out to ensure that there are no active Notams or information you may need about the airport.

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  • $\begingroup$ One small clarification: your wording implies that "cleared for the option" and "cleared for touch and go" are the same thing, but they aren't. Being cleared for the option includes a touch and go, but being cleared for a touch and go doesn't include any other option. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Mar 21 '16 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ very true, ill clarify $\endgroup$ – Dave Mar 21 '16 at 23:14

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