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Planes Over London provides a 14-day forecast as to whether Heathrow arrivals will be flying their approach over London.

Incoming aircraft overfly the city about 70% of the time. When a strong tailwind blows they instead approach from the west over Windsor Castle, avoiding London altogether.

Heathrow operates 2 parallel runways that run east-west, like an equals sign (=). A runway's name is dependent on the direction it is approached from (compass bearing divided by ten), and suffixed by ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ - hence the north runway is referred to as either 9L or 27R, and the south 9R or 27L. Planes that approach over London land on runways 27L and 27R, alternating at 3pm to provide those living beneath the flightpath a respite.

How it works

Our predictions are based on 48-hour wind forecasts (with an hourly precision), and daily forecasts thereafter. The live view monitors planes in the sky right now and automatically detects which runway is currently in use for landings.

No wind, or winds blowing from the west all day Winds > 5 knots blowing from the east all day =
Yes
Winds > 5 knots blowing from the east all day No wind, or winds blowing from the west all day =
No
Winds blow from the west most of the day =
Mostly
Winds blow from the east most of the day =
Some
Winds predicted from the east > 48 hours away =
Maybe

For more on the Runway Alternation Programme, Heathrow Airport provide more details*.

For any questions or comments about this project you can get in touch with us here.

* Planes Over London is not associated with Heathrow Airport.