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FAASTeam Notice
Type: Local Air Safety Information
Notice Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Notice Number: NOTC2114
PAE Wrong-Direction Intersection Departures
This notice expired on
Thursday, February 3, 2022

Snohomish County Airport/Paine Field (KPAE) has experienced numerous events where a pilot turned the wrong direction onto the runway when departing from an intersection. For example, a pilot is cleared for takeoff on Runway 16R at Taxiway A6 but turns right onto the runway and departs Runway 34L.

Wrong-direction intersection takeoffs present a significant risk to safety. A plane departing the wrong direction could collide with another aircraft or a vehicle on the runway or, once airborne, be face to face with an arriving aircraft. 

Pilots should ensure they turn the correct direction onto the runway when making an intersection departure. To prevent departing in the wrong direction, pilots should:

  • Practice the "sterile cockpit" rule. Distraction is often a factor in wrong-direction departures.
  • Actively listen to and think about the takeoff clearance to understand what runway you are cleared to depart.
  • Understand how to interpret the sign(s) adjacent to the runway hold short lines.
  • Look for the runway number on your heading indicator and turn that direction onto the runway.
  • Read back the runway designation when cleared for takeoff or line-up-and-wait.
  • Before applying takeoff power, confirm that your heading corresponds to the assigned runway.

For more information on avoiding wrong-direction intersection departures, watch the FAA From the Flight Deck video on the subject at:

For questions, please contact Mike Cooley, Air Traffic Manager, PAE ATCT, at 425-923-1400 or