There is some single-runway GA airport south of Denver that I had thought was the busiest.
Addison (KADS) was one of the busiest for a long time but I think it has since dropped off. It's still very busy, though. I've had to hold short for 15-20 minutes on numerous occasions. I've never departed during "rush hour" but I have come in, once, during that time. Was VERY busy with a solid line of planes coming in and each of the three taxiway "queues" full of biz jets and small GA props.
ATC asked my flight school to schedule our IFR traffic outside of their peak periods because they ran out of controller positions! We're also getting our own call sign to help keep the radio chatter down a bit....hard to get a word in edgewise!
Orlando Class B also got a VOR-to-Nowhere approach for participating flight schools to help out the bizjet guys at ORL. We were saturating that poor airport, too.
Sanford, SFB now has 747s coming in from across the pond. Pretty wild seeing a 152 in trail of one of those beasts! At 9600', our lil' airport must look like a short field to one of those guys!
Hovernut, you should see me coming into MCO, the controllers are pretty nice and work me in, its kind of cool as you are riding down the ILS in IMC and all of the sudden a 10,000+ ft runway pops out of the clouds, that thing looks titanic to a pilot he thought that Daytonas 7L was long.
ORL is just plain nuts on a Saturday, I remember going there to get some pilot supplies, our return flight was to the glider port. The total flight was .7, the thing was the glider port was maybe 10 miles away.
Per our ATC host at Socal Tracon last year during an Operation Raincheck facility tour, "According to FAA figures, Socal Tracon is the busiest in the nation. CLE ARTCC is number one in high altitude operations."
Let's not forget Teteboro, NJ and the New York Approach area. 4 of the World's busiest airports are within 20 miles of each other. JFK, LGA, EWR, and TEB.
You are correct that SOCAL is the busiest TRACON, however they are also the largest (area wise) TRACON operating from San Diego to Santa Barbara.
I believe you are correct in stating that VNY is the busiest GA airport in the world. SMO is also right up there.
I believe that (I'm on the road, no info) Scottsdale, AZ is the 2nd busiest single runway airport in the US (SMO is 1). It gets most of the corporate traffic going into Phoenix and a lot of Flight Schools are based there.
Shaun3000, I think the airport you are referring to is Denver Centennial (APA), it's got 3 runways, but is a very busy airspace since it gets most of the corporate traffic going to Denver and also has numerous flight schools.
How about Houston Center during the Summer T-Storm season, I seem to be constantly amazed at how well they handle all the reroutes and deviations.
As always, ATC normally does a great job handling these all busy airspaces, flying in and out of them is a very easy if you do a little homework and plan ahead. Remember to look at the whole airspace and not just your planned route. It makes it easier for everybody when you filed for the LEESE arrival, then 100 miles out they give you "Direct Jesup and the remainder of the BITHO7) that you know where Jesup is.
I recently had a conversation with two tower controllers from Denver Centennial (APA) during which they made the statement that APA is the 2nd busiest GA airport in the country. They also said that one of the SOCAL airports is #1, but I can't remember which one.
I don't know what they base their numbers on, but after training at Centennial (PVT -- CFI's), I can definitely believe it!
man...ive been thru Orlando numerous times in various single-engines, and havent caught half of the grief that i get going in/out of Houston in a baron. if you arent sitting on a jet engine your treated like the proverbial red-headed step-child down there. they may not be the busiest technically speaking, but they sure act like they are!!!
All this talk about California and Florida, and there's practically no mention of any NY airport outside of the biggies. Teterboro was mentioned, but I'm afraid that Republic Airport (FRG), aka-Farmingdale, beats out Teterboro by a country mile. The guys in the FRG tower told me that they had about 220,000 total aircraft movements per year, and that ranks it as third in the state behind JFK and LGA (though I am not sure what order those two would be ranked as). GA airports in the northeast are always going to suffer in yearly totals when compared to airports in SoCal because of the inevitable number of IFR days that one experiences.
In any case, that place was a total horror show in the summer. It was not unusual to be #8 or 9 for callback to get in on a weekend afternoon, and once I orbited over a VOR for forty minutes waiting for my number to come up... Not to mention being one of 7, 8, 12 aircraft in the pattern... Downwind legs over the ocean or LI Sound... #20 for takeoff... You name it.