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6 Answers

LAHSO/SODPROPS at an uncontrolled airport?

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FAA Regulations, General Aviation

Are there any legality issues with practicing LAHSO or SODPROPS at an uncontolled airport?  I assume as long as you are talking to and agree with the other pilot(s) and everybody understands, it would be ok.  Thanks for your help!

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6 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jan 19, 2012

    Uncontrolled airports are just that… uncontrolled.  There are no legal issues that I am aware of.  It took me a little bit to figure out what SODPROPS stood for.
    Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway OPerationS.  
    If there is an incident or accident while exercising one of these operations I would have no doubt the FAA would cite 91.13  Careless and Wreckless Operations. 

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  2. DC on Jan 19, 2012

    You can “practice” LAHSO simply by practicing short-field landings. If you actually announce that you’re going to stop prior to an intersection I can see some other cowboy in the pattern thinking there’s no harm if he lands on the intersecting runway simultaneously – which is something you do not want just in case your short-field technique is rough around the edges.

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  3. Bill Trussell on Jan 19, 2012

    As there are a lot of design criteria which limit where and when these types of operations can be conducted I would suggest that this type of “practice” is very limited in its utility unless you are very familar with how these types of operations are set up.  Distances, landing aids, types of operations and aircraft capabilities come into play here.  From my experience these limitations make it all but impossible to NOT be successful in LAHSO operations unless something goes terribly wrong.  To put this type of practice into an uncontrolled field would make such a location that much more “uncontrolled”.
    Perhaps setting up a simulated situation by counting the number of centerline stripes to land within would be just as good of an idea, but done on the runway most favored by the conditions, without compromising safety would be just as good for the sake of practice.  I used to do this while playing hookie from the office at lunch.  The loser of our little contest bought the food at the end of our session.  Not to brag too much, but I rarely paid!

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  4. Jim Foley on Jan 20, 2012

    I wasn’t really asking about practice, but because a situation came up the other day that doing so would have been great.  There were 9 aircraft in the pattern for runway 18 (pattern on the west side).  I had to wait .4 hrs. on the hobbes before I could depart.  Later, I thought that maybe I could’ve used runway 13 (off to the east), which crosses the active 18 about 4,000 down.  I know it’s kinda a rare situation, but just curious.
    As for SODPROPS, I actually learned what they were on my second solo flight.  The winds were only 3 knots, and I had a 5,000 ft. runway, so I asked for the opposite direction (to avoid the long taxi in about 95 degree humid summer heat).  The ground controller proclaimed “Yay, I finally get to be a part of the elusive SODPROPS!!!”  I was kinda confused, but got it explained when I took a tower tour after that flight.

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  5. Micah on Jan 20, 2012

    Maybe I tow the AOPA line on this, but I don’t agree with the use of the term “uncontrolled” to refer to a non-towered airspace. Even if the non-towered airspace is G up to 700 ft (like the airspace where I did my primary training) I still consider this a controlled environment (which pattern operations are–in controlled airspace), even if this distinction is largely about instilling in myself and my students a discipline of mind to operations at that non-towered airspace.
    Certainly non-towered airports can be unusual, like my checkride experience back-taxiing on a runway with no taxiway, watching the cropduster go around just over our heads (he obviously was NRDO and must not have noticed us until short final), but I’m not comfortable with the idea that non-towered airports provide the opportunity to perform whatever operations the pilot has a wild hair to perform.
    Also, are there any parallel runway airports that operate non-towered? I’m not sure how you otherwise exercise SODPROPS at a non-towered airport unless you decide to use a taxiway for landing operations.
    Regarding Jim’s question, I don’t think I would practice LAHSO in that situation. This seems like too much risk for what you’ve gained (or saved; 75$?) Instead, I’d get on the CTAF and ask the downwind aircraft to give you some spacing for departure. 

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  6. Matthew Waugh on Jan 21, 2012

    You can’t really do LAHSO or the parallel ops at an uncontrolled airport. You’re using the term “practice” in the same way doctors and lawyers say they “practice”. You want to deploy those practices to improve traffic flow.
    If the operation is against regulations, the fact that you built some kind of pseudo LAHSO operation which, in the right circumstances would make it legal, won’t make it legal at an uncontrolled airport. 
    As long as nobody gets hurt, none of the participating or watching pilots gets their nose put out of joint (unlikely) and the FAA isn’t stopping by for a coffee it’ll be fine. But “we were conducting LAHSO operations” isn’t going to be a defense at an uncontrolled airport.

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