Flight Patterns and Altitudes
Scottsdale Airport has one runway (3/21), named after its magnetic headings and oriented in a northeast/southwest direction. Runway 3 is in use when aircraft depart to the northeast and arrive from the southwest. Runway 21 is in use when aircraft depart to the southwest and arrive from the northeast.
- Fixed Wing Pilot Guide and Noise Abatement Procedures (PDF)
- Helicopter Pilot Guide and Noise Abatement Procedures (PDF)
For best lift, airplanes take off into the wind. Direction of wing at Scottsdale Airport shifts throughout each day and varies with weather and season changes. When winds are calm or come from the east, Runway 3 is used. When winds come from the west, Runway 21 is used.
Scottsdale Airport is utilized for medical flights, corporate travel, leisure travel and other general aviation activities.
Most small aircraft operate under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), which means the pilot in command determines the flight path of the aircraft. Air traffic controllers provide traffic advisories and direct aircraft to visual reporting points to assist in safely separating and sequencing aircraft into and out of the airport traffic area.
The Federal Aviation Administration manages the Air Traffic Control Tower and implementing air traffic related noise abatement procedures from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Jet aircraft are allowed to utilize the airport 24 hours per day, however night time operations average less than five per night. The airport can accommodate jets up to 100,000 pounds, which includes aircraft manufactured by Global Express and Gulfstream. Most airline aircraft are too large to operate out of Scottsdale Airport.
There are nine airports in the Valley, including Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is one of the top 10 busiest airports in the United States. Airspace can be congested and there are certain limitations put on to Class B airspace, which surrounds Sky Harbor. Transition traffic over Scottsdale is often caused by aircraft overflights that are not related to Scottsdale Airport.
Helicopters operating at Scottsdale Airport include news media, public safety agencies, air ambulances and privately-owned helicopters.
FAA Helicopter Letter of Agreement (PDF) - This agreement specifies responsibilities, defines terms, and establishes procedures to be used between Scottsdale Airport Traffic Control Tower (SDL ATCT) and helicopter operators for the control and operation of VFR helicopters within the Scottsdale Airport Class Delta Airspace.