The airport near me that has two major landing/takeoff patterns part of a large regional air traffic control plan involving other major international airports (SFO/OAK/SJC)

The duplicate-cited question addresses the general question of change-over. I am in need of public service information on when this change happens. I have edited this question to remove the general curiosity.

Generally I would like to know how the changes between two regional plans is communicated or published to the public or if it is available on a public service. Specifically, the East-Plan/West-Plan change in the SFO/OAK/SJC area (CA, USA)

90% of the time the take off direction is in direction that does not impact me.

When the prevailing winds change the takeoff pattern is directly overhead. This has an impact on alarms and equipment. In order to automate the shutdown of certain equipment I would like to monitor regional ATC information. I have considered simply monitoring flight patterns, prevailing winds, and weather conditions. A definitive source is preferred because it takes some time to reconfigure the equipment. Does such a ATC or FAA source exist for the general public?

  • $\begingroup$ @fooot I need to monitor the traffic change in order to turn off sensitive equipment, I have removed the "general curiosity" and made the question more specific. I do not believe it is now a duplicate $\endgroup$
    – crasic
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ You could look into D-ATIS. It’s the ATIS info in digital form that could be parsed for runway usage. I know you can access it from Foreflight, but I don’t know if it’s transmitted in the open or not. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


There won't be any publicly available source for what you're looking for. Any information that you could get access to (as mentioned below) won't be reliable enough to predict when the runway changes will occur. The initial coordination always happen over secured phone lines between the controllers at the radar approach/center facilities and towers. There is no way you can hear this.

Each airports ATIS (Automated Terminal Information Service) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_terminal_information_service) will be reporting what the runway(s) in use are - but this won't actually change until the runway change becomes active, maybe 5 minutes before. I suppose it would be possible to monitor this, probably via LiveATC (or setting up your own equivalent). You could somehow monitor or export this information and listen for key words to trigger your whatever-you're-using-to-shut-off-your-"sensitive equpiment" - but I think you'd get a lot of false positives. On the same note, you could also hear controllers making their initial calls to pilots advising them of the impending runway change (probably on arrival feeder sectors of ATC or the center descent clearances).

I don't think either of these methods are reliable enough for what you're looking to do. You may consider moving your "sensitive equipment" to somewhere not near an airport.

  • $\begingroup$ Best bet might be for the OP to call NorCal TRACON and ask if there is anything that is publicly accessible that does show impending changes to the flow. The FAA website has a fair amount of real-time info, although I don't think airport departure/arrival flows are there (but I could be wrong). If the OP can talk to the right person at NorCal, they may be aware of some method, possible specific to their facility, that the OP could use to get longer than 5-10 minutes notice. I would take something pretty obscure, though. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ A few years back I had a problem with electric trains impacting a sensitive magnetic test, we could tell directly the local electric rails active hours that showed up as noise and had to measure at night . Urban environments have their challenges , thanks for the reference. For this time it's a house alarm so moving it defeats it's purpose ;) $\endgroup$
    – crasic
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ - I highly doubt anyone answering the phone at NorCal is going to care about the OPs request. I'm not trying to sound rude, but they just aren't going to care. What's available is what's available. There is real time information available via some of the commercial tracking sites, but nothing like the OP is asking for. Delays and maybe current flow restrictions/delays, and that's really about it. Internally, sure, we have all sorts of goodies. We aren't giving away the keys to the kingdom... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 11:10

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