Dear SCAPA Member,

We are pleased to provide you with the RUNWAY 30 VFR-to-IFR DEPARTURE GUIDANCE. This member-benefit publication seeks to advance situational awareness, safety, and expedited departures.

San Francisco Airport arrivals and abutting Class Bravo airspace, high-density Bay-Area traffic, and numerous obstacles typically require Runway 30 departures to depart VFR, make prompt turns, avoid obstacles, conform to low-altitude airspace restrictions, and finally transition into the IFR system.

Such procedures are somewhat complex yet are issued exclusively orally—without aide of a published official departure procedure. This may create confusion, error, multiple controller-pilot rereads/confirmations and increased workload—ultimately compromising safety and causing delay.

In response, SCAPA with cooperation and assistance of the San Mateo Country Airports Division and the San Carlos Airport Tower has created this guidance. It reflects the clearance most frequently issued when VFR conditions prevail (actually, ceilings of at least 1,100 AGL and 3 miles visibility are required).

We suggest you:

  • Review the guidance when flight planning—as a supplement to official charts.
  • Review local terrain, obstacles, and landmarks.
  • Compare the guidance with your actual clearance. Should they vary, validate or otherwise seek clarification of your clearance from the tower.
  • Keep a copy of the guidance with your IFR charts.

This guidance is a “living document.” A PDF formatted version is below. Please send comments, errata, and editorial suggestions to

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