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How Land And Hold Short Operations (LAHSO) Work

Land and Hold Short (LAHSO) Operations allow ATC to clear a pilot to land and hold short of an intersecting runway, an intersecting taxiway, or some other designated point on a runway. Before you accept a LAHSO clearance, there are a few things you need to be very familiar with.

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What Does LAHSO Look Like?

ATC may issue a clearance to hold short of a taxiway, runway, or any other hold point designated for the runway. If you're instructed to hold short of an intersecting runway, the hold markings will consist of four yellow lines (two solid and two dashed) spaced 6 to 12 inches apart, extending across the width of the taxiway or runway. The solid lines always represent the side on which you're required to hold short, just like entering any runway. There also may be in-pavement lighting and red/white runway signage.

The following graphics from Section 4-3-11 of the FAA's AIM show different iterations of LAHSO points:

FAA AIM

Why Does LAHSO Exist?

At first glance, LAHSO operations might seem like a bad idea, but with increased vigilance and extra briefing, it can be accomplished safely. As it's pointed out in AIM 4-3-11, "LAHSO balances the need for increased airport capacity consistent with safety."

LAHSO operations are only found at tower-controlled airports. ATC may clear you to land and hold short. You, the PIC, can accept a LAHSO clearance if you determine that the aircraft can safely land and stop within the available landing distance (ALD). This data is published in the special notices section of your Chart Supplement and in the US Terminal Procedure Publications. If you ask, ATC can give you the ALD data for the hold short operation. As the final authority for the aircraft, you can accept or decline a LAHSO clearance if you think it will compromise safety.

Bulent KAVAKKOU

Weather Requirements for LAHSO

ATC may issue a LAHSO clearance only when the ceiling is at least 1,000 feet and the visibility is at least 3 statute miles.

Many Part 121/135 air carriers have additional operational restrictions to increase these bare minimum weather criteria with an additional safety margin. Here are a few weather criteria you may find in the airline world:

  • LAHSO operations on wet/contaminated runways are prohibited
  • LAHSO is not authorized to a runway without visual or electronic vertical guidance (i.e. PAPI or glideslope)
  • Weather minimums require a ceiling of no less than 1,500 feet and visibility of no less than 5 statute miles
  • Where a VASI or PAPI is operational, the weather conditions may be no less than a ceiling of 1,000 feet and a visibility of no less than 3 statute miles
  • LAHSO shall not be utilized when wind shear advisories are in effect
  • The tailwind on the hold-short runway should be calm (less than 3 knots)
  • Nighttime LAHSO operations require functioning in-pavement lighting

If you're flying under Part 91 (especially in a jet), you may want to write down these airline criteria for your own personal use.

Live from the Flight Deck

How To Prepare For A LAHSO Landing

Before you land, make sure you're familiar with all the available information concerning LAHSO at your destination airport. Also, have the ALD data and runway slope information readily available for all pertinent runway configurations and performance calculations. Brief all of the landing/missed approach considerations to yourself or with your crew.

A good rule-of-thumb for pilots flying under Part 91 GA pilots is to add at least 1,000' to your published landing distance to ensure you have adequate stopping room.

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If you cannot accept a LAHSO clearance, let ATC know as soon as possible (ideally during your initial check-in with an approach controller for your arrival airport).

Once you've accepted a LAHSO clearance, you must adhere to it unless you get an amended clearance from ATC. If ATC gives you a LAHSO clearance, ATC needs a full readback that will sound something like this:

ATC: "Boldmethod 123 Cleared to Land Runway 27C, Hold Short of Taxiway KK for Crossing Traffic, Boeing 737."

Pilot: "Cleared To Land Runway 27C, Hold Short Of Taxiway KK, Boldmethod 123."


Corey Komarec

Who Can And Can't Accept A LAHSO Clearance?

Student pilots or pilots not familiar with LAHSO should not participate in the program. Additionally, if weather conditions, landing performance, personal comfort, or operational restrictions prevent a safe LAHSO, you should decline the clearance.

Rejected Landing Considerations

If you must reject your landing after a LAHSO clearance, the "pilot must maintain safe separation from other aircraft/vehicles and notify ATC as soon as possible" (AIM 4-3-11). Avoid directly overflying any aircraft that's crossing your runway if they're close in proximity. Be aware of converging traffic if there are intersecting takeoff runways in use.

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What Do You Think?

Have you ever accepted a LAHSO clearance? Let us know your experience comments below!

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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