Approach/Centre ATC should not forget to assign the right attitude for incoming plane before handing over to Tower


I noticed that some approach/centre ATC people assign a runway/ILS clearance but forget to let the plane decent. Often lots of airplanes come in as if it’s a racing game and get handed over 10nm before touchdown at FL 110 and 300+ knots.
Some pilots can deal with this but most of them are taken by surprise that they are cleared and overshoot the runway or speed down and swirl (because obviously they get a >250 kts speed warning.

If more ATC approach/centre help to overcome this, it’s easier for ATC towers and pilots.

perhaps there should be ATC buttons could have some text like
“you are on final approach, please descent to [option flight level] a lowest practical speed”


There are several commands like the one you mentioned. Are you having the problems on playground?


The commands are a bit too nice ;-)
I often got the message on 360 turns or approach misses approach a roger but when I looked on the screen I saw just some panic flying on how to lose speed fast and then continue where they were.
Repeating with “please follow instructions” I get sometimes a nice “I’m sorry” but after they have touched down “uncleared” after I let some one line up and wait. It’s not that I can’t find the commands well most of the pilots have a problem dealing or interpreting them and just using approach/centre gives them the right direction to ILS inbound but if no one let them descend as a fixed procedure this will probably the way it is, just check by flying yourself to LAX and see what happens with the incoming flights on runway 25, all controlled by about 4/5 different centre/approach and left to their own devices to get to a flight level where interception with the ILS is fluent landing curve.


Hi There,

there is a thumb rule for descents, that is important to know for pilots and ATC Controllers as well:

subtract the current altitude from the target altitude, eg
30000ft - 10000ft = 20000

divide the result by 1000 and multiply with 3 and you will get the miles
20000 : 10000 = 20 x 3 = 60 miles

so you have to start the descent 60 miles away from the point where you plan to be at 10000


  • descent rate is no less than 2000ft/min
  • speed is not higher than 280kts til 10000ft and 250kts below

happy landings



thnx Clipper, food to try this in practice my next time ATC as approach/centre and see if this strategy works.
perhaps nice to share this summary on Facebook too,
so that pilots are also aware of this phenomena, clearly and easily explained by you
Especially that bit under important about vertical speed;
if they are on autopilot with their VS set at climb it will automatically go to 0 at steady flight level, and as soon as they change their descent to their new altitude it will probably take a while before they notice that they just do this with the default VS -250 ft/mn :confused: and no way they’ll get their in time or within the 60 miles and will speed down like a rocket at the very last minute.


by the way, I just started to write some “how to…” articles in the General category. My intention is to give Simmers some hints, how to increase the virtual reality by applying real world operating procedures and techniques. But just as much depth, as neccessary.

by the way, are there more IF forums? - I thought this is the official IF forum.

happy landings


yes, just saw that myself, great idea, you seem to find concise and short explanations for topics.
apart from text it would be nice to make small video tutorials of your findings there.

by the way, are there more IF forums? - I thought this is the official IF forum.

I don’t really know, but I don’t think/hope so. Facebook is not really a forum but it does help to reach a larger group of people rather than posting things (just) here.


I would like to add the second rule of thumb for a Perfect 3-degree Descent and that is the vertical speed. Your vertical speed has to be 5 times your ground speed. Note it is Ground Speed (GS) and not Indicated Air Speed (IAS).

Applying this two rules will take pilots all the way down to the runway without missing the airport or climbing down too fast because they forgot or never knew when and how steady to go down!


I don’t really know, but I don’t think/hope so. Facebook is not really a forum but it does help to reach a larger group of people rather than posting things (just) here.

This is the official Infinite Flight Forum where we (developers) hang out. There is only one. The various Facebook fan groups are good for conversations and there are indeed more ppl there at this point. That being said we want this forum to have more quality content for serious pilots and controller who want to share their experience and help each other in a respectful way.


yes they should have it


Descend at 280GS or IAS?


…a very good question, thank you! -I have to add this aspect to the tutorial article.

Well, the thumb rule actually assumes, that there is no wind, so GS and IAS are basically the same. That’s why it is only a thumb rule.

If you have tailwind conditions (IAS less than GS) add more descent rate, like 500ft/m, because you make the miles towards your destination faster.

If you have headwind conditions(IAS more than GS) you can leave it like it is, you will arrive a little sooner (with regards to miles) at your desired waypoint altitude.

Happy Landings