Unique San Diego Airport Runway Experience

I’ve flown over 100 flights in and out of San Diego International Airport (SAN) and always have experienced the single runway limitations. A few planes take off and then a few planes land. The air traffic controller is always shuffling schedules to make sure they match when planes are in range. Pilots always slam on the brakes due to the short runway and tall parking garage for the westbound approach on Runway 27. I brace myself everytime since I’ve done it so many times. The takeoffs are much smoother and you get a nice view looking back at the city.

Yesterday, I experienced a different takeoff for the 1st time ever. We taxied to the west end of the runway and sat for a bit. We started to move and then the Virgin America pilots went full speed ahead in our A320. I was very confused as I didn’t think they could takeoff in that direction. We rolled down Runway 9 to the east and off we went. The climb was very steep and the weather was cloudy so I couldn’t see how close we were to the ground but we made it. I was perplexed as to how this is even possible and if other flights have done it before. After a bit of research, under very specific conditions (weight, weather, aircraft) flights have used Runway 9. I even found a video of a Hawaiian Airlines A330 making the takeoff to the east.

It’s amazing the capabilities of these modern day aircraft!

VX84 using Runway 9

VX84 using Runway 9

Has anyone else experienced a takeoff or landing on Runway 9 @ SAN?

Westbound View of SAN

Westbound View of SAN

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