Aircraft are designed to take off and land into the wind. Winds in the Sacramento region are primarily from the south; therefore the majority of the time aircraft at Executive will take off and land on Runway 20. Winds from the north/northwest are more likely to occur during the more variable weather conditions experienced between fall and spring. When the winds are from this direction aircraft at Executive will take off and land on Runway 30. This results in a greater degree of lower altitude overflights of the South Land Park area. The map shown below depicts the general areas of overflight experienced when aircraft arrive, depart or practice touch-and-go procedures on Runway 30.
Pilots flying an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) approach into Executive use the Instrument Landing System (ILS) or Localizer (LOC) approach to Runway 02. The ILS provides the most precise navigational landing guidance available, and therefore the offers the highest margin of safety. The ILS follows a 3-degree glide slope to the landing threshold; this is standard across the country. This provides the pilot guidance on altitude while approaching the runway. Most aircraft using the ILS will be at the same altitudes as they approach the Airport. Given the proximity of the Riverlake area to the approach to Runway 02, residents are likely to experience overflights when pilots are using the ILS approach. Pilots may also conduct a missed approach, either out of necessity or for practice. For this procedure, pilots are instructed to climb to 500 feet, then execute a climbing left turn to 1,600 feet and then fly direct to the Sacramento VORTAC (a ground based navigational aid located 5 miles southwest of Executive). The climbing left turn will place aircraft generally over the Greenhaven-Pocket area. The map below shows ILS approaches and missed approaches to Runway 02. This procedure is designed by the FAA to ensure safe operating parameters for aircraft operating on the ILS.
The operations at Executive Airport consist of primarily itinerant general aviation operations and touch-and-go training activity. Both of these types of operations increase in frequency when the weather improves, which is why you may notice more activity during the spring and summer months. The majority of this activity is not the typical arrival or departure of an aircraft, but rather aircraft conducting repeated touch-and-go operations. These types of operations may pass over a particular area several times in a short period of time. Many pilots are only certified to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). These rules require that the weather be better than the basic visibility and ceiling minimums prescribed. Therefore, many pilots are only able to fly when the weather is good.
There are three flight instruction schools at the Airport. Student pilots with their instructors will often practice landings and take-offs in a training pattern. These are called touch-and-goes and may involve several consecutive landings and take-offs. Touch-and-goes may appear as aircraft circling to those on the ground. The maps below depict the general areas of overflight experienced when aircraft practice touch-and-goes on Runway 20 and Runway 30.
Runway 20 Touch-and-Go Flight Tracks
Runway 30 Touch-and-Go Flight Tracks
Executive Airport is surrounded by densely populated areas. To get to or from the airport, aircraft have to fly over such areas at some point. This is the case for the open space near the Freeport Boulevard corridor. There are approximately two miles of densely populated residential areas between the end of the runway and the open space south of the Airport.