Aircraft Operations



Aircraft owners and pilots are encouraged to be a good neighbor to the residents that live at both ends of the airport’s runways. The airport completed a FAR Part 150 study, Airport Noise Compatibility Program, in 1993, and will soon be updating that study with new and more current fleet mix. In the 1993 study, several arrival and departure routes were identified as used by High Performance Aircraft and Light General Aviation Aircraft. The following diagram shows those preferred tracks.
Light General Aviation Aircraft Flight Tracks Map
High Performance Aircraft Flight Tracks Map
In 2001, the City gave ultralight vehicle operators authorization to use the airport, and has established a designated route for arrival and departure and a pattern altitude of 500 feet. The route for arrival and departure is different than routes for either Light General Aviation Aircraft or High Performance Aircraft. An ultralight operator planning to use Modesto City-County Airport should first contact the airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower Manager. The diagram below displays the approved ultralight route, and it can be enlarged by clicking on the picture.
Ultralight Arrival Departure Route Map

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Noise Abatement

Modesto City-County Airport encourages aircraft operators arriving and departing the airport to use the voluntary noise abatement program published as a Modesto Airport Letter to Airman. Reprinted below are the voluntary measures that we hope you will utilize while visiting or using Modesto Airport.
Modesto Tower - Letter to Airman No. 08-1
Effective Date: November 30, 2008
Subject: Informal Noise Abatement Procedures (VFR Only)
Cancellation Date: November 30, 2010

The City of Modesto has had an informal noise abatement program in effect for quite sometime. Although enforcement of these procedures is the responsibility of the City, the FAA’s position is to cooperate and assist, whenever possible, to alleviate aircraft noise problems. Consistent with safety, we all have an obligation to provide as much noise relief as possible for our airport neighbors.
The following noise abatement procedures are recommended by the City of Modesto for use by pilots during VFR conditions. These procedures should be utilized to the fullest extent possible, unless prevented by:
  • Required distance from cloud criteria or other weather condition.
  • Operating parameters of the aircraft involved.
  • Traffic conditions or other safety factors.
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Traffic Pattern Altitudes

  • Recommended pattern altitudes: Single engine aircraft (excluding Warbirds) 1,000’ MSL; all other aircraft 1,500’ MSL.
  • Maintain traffic pattern altitude until turning base leg.
  • Base leg or straight-in approach, maintain as high as possible until commencing final descent.
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Runway Selection

  • Runway 28R/28L: Designated preferential calm wind runways due to the published instrument approach courses.
  • During calm wind conditions (less than 5 knots), departures on runway 10L are encouraged for all large and jet aircraft, if traffic and weather conditions permit.
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Departure Procedures

  • Runway 28L/10R: No turns until at least 600’ MSL and beyond the airport boundary.
  • Runway 28R/10L: No turns until at least 1,500’ MSL (s/e aircraft 600’ MSL) and beyond the airport boundary.
  • All aircraft use best rate of climb to 1,500’ MSL then, if feasible, use reduced power setting while over residential areas.
  • Constant speed propeller driven and multi-engine aircraft are requested to use full length.
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Arrival Procedures

  • When VASI/PAPI is operational, straight-in approaches should remain at or above 1,500’ MSL until intercepting the VASI/PAPI.
  • Remain at or above traffic pattern altitude as long as possible over residential areas.
  • Arrivals to runway 10L/10R are discouraged when wind conditions are less than 5 knots.
  • Conduct approaches as high as possible with minimum power required to make a safe landing.
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Touch & Go & Low Approaches

  • These operations should be avoided between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and on holidays.
  • When runway 10 is active, multi-engine touch and go operations are discouraged.
  • Military touch and go operations on any runway are discouraged.
  • Practice instrument approaches should be restricted to 500’ MSL.
  • Light single engine aircraft operating in right closed traffic for runway 28R are encouraged to keep their pattern in close to the field so as to remain over the industrial complex as much as possible.
  • “War Birds” are encouraged to use runway 28R.
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  • Avoid overflight of residential areas where possible.
  • Climb to 500’ MSL over the airport before departing en route.
  • Remain at or above 500’ MSL until over the airport when approaching to land.
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  • Turbojet operations should be discontinued during the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Practicing emergency procedures, i.e., forced landing, single engine work, etc. should be avoided over residential areas.
  • No nighttime engine maintenance run-ups. (One-hour after sunset until one-hour after sunrise)
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