Originally posted on April 30, 2013
Every OBcean knows – as well as every Point Loman and anyone who lives just west of Lindbergh Field, San Diego’s airport – about plane take-offs.
They usually go right over the Peninsula. And have for years. I grew up on Point Loma and went to Point Loma High School and clearly remember many classroom instructions being interrupted by the low-flying giant aircraft directly overhead or slightly over. People in OB call it “the OB Pause” – when all conversation or listening is muted by the roar of aircraft engines over your head.
Sometimes, as we also know, the take-offs are reversed – usually when the weather gets bad or visibility drops. Now, we have some actual figures. According to an article today in U-T San Diego by Robert Krier, the westward take-off, the typical flight direction, makes of 95.4% of the take-offs. Whew! That’s a lot of take-offs.
Lindbergh Field weather observers – humans – in conjunction with a modern computer weather monitoring system – determine when the airport is “flipped” – that is, when the take-offs and landings are reversed. There are factors that they observe and consider, such as:
- visibility drops below two miles or
- the ceiling drops below 700 feet
- if fog ceiling is less than 700 feet and visibility is less than 1 mile, then it’s a double-flip – planes land from and depart to the west
- (if tail winds exceed 10 mph)
If visibility gets down to a mile or less and the ceiling is 300 or 400 feet, then the airport shuts down.