Approach handoff to Tower timing

How far out from the airport should Approach be telling someone to contact Tower? I like it when I can sequence and approve landings when they are about to enter the pattern. I like to control Tower and frequently Tower and Ground at EGLL and it can get really busy (T1 server, roughly 16,000XP to get to Level 3, pray for me). Most times I will have 6 aircraft clear to land perfectly sequenced both RWs (best I can, again T1 server) and 10 aircraft on RW20L (when I’m not controlling ground) and 2 at RW20R. Then I look to the west and their is a plane on the ILS approaching departures. They are on the Approach frequency?!? Approach says they are cleared to land at 9L apperently. *Loses 10IQ points. Then I look to the far east and 1 plane is behind no. 1 of 3 RW20R on right base and 2 are behind no. 1 of 3 RW20L on left base. It’s never 3 and 3 this is just for my example. It’s usually 2 for RW20R and 4 for RW20L and everyone wants to land at RW20L, people love RW20L. Of course nobody understands the meaning-of contact tower when 1st in line or hold short, but whatever.

Am I wrong, should there be a handoff sooner. I know the usual response is it’s because “You’re on the T1 server deal with it, you just have to deal with it” so don’t be that guy.

Just wanted to also add, their is a lot of b&@$hing about T1 server on here, but I do think it truley helps me become better at ATC commands. Sure it can be frustrating but it literally trains you for every scenerio. If everyone was corporative I would never have to use half of the commands I currentlly readily use. My go to move is to tell them frequency approved, report them then swipe left. So I thank the fellow level 1 and 2s for helping me learn.

P.S. Is there a chat for ATC, not in app. I would love to actually be able to talk to Ground, Approach and Departure and cordinate movements. I don’t blame ground when 3 aircraft taxi to RW20L when 3 are already holding and no one is at RW20R because I know 2/3 of the aircraft don’t listen, but when 7 aircraft are taxing to RW20L, i would love to have capability to cuss out ground on another device.



Welcome to TS1. The two airports you can’t control at if you want some realism are EGLL and KLAX. Everyone will use one runway when there are two and four. I reccomend airports like KSFO or sometimes there is traffic at EDDF. If you take a look at the controlling page you can see some airports with less traffic and control there. It’s just that everyone who doesn’t understand aviation and treats this like a game know what Heathrow Airport and LA Intl are so they use them. I know for a fact there are some pros at certain TS1 airport that you can control.


Hello! Pilots can contact Tower when they are 27NM away from their destination airport. But it may be hard to coordinate with other controllers in Training Server unfortunately, usually the Approach will hand them to Tower when Tower has cleared them for the ILS Approach (Expert).

Anyway, I see that you are a potential candidate to be a candidate in Expert Server. Why don’t you give it a try to become an IFATC and has lesser chances to meet trolls/immature pilots. For more information, you can check this topic. We use Slack to coordinate between Tower, Ground, and Radar facilities

Edit : I see that you are not a Grade 3 yet. But if you are interested with this offer, you may want to contact one of the trainers to sharpen your skills before going to Grade 3 and applying to become an IFATC. Thanks @Marshall_Hilfman for the information


He’s not quite at G3 yet ;) but certainly when he gets there.


(yeah I was VERY wrong, don’t know where I came up with the “5nm” thing) In the US, approach controls from about 50nm - 30nm away from the airport, so I guess tower comes within the 25nm range of the airport. So ATC has a 5nm window to transition the aircraft to tower.


Approach will typically hand the aircraft off to tower around the 5-7 NM Mark. Sometimes it’s more sometimes it’s less. On the training server you can’t expect much from fellow controllers though.
@A_Plane_Guy Please don’t just throw things around that you are unsure of.


I use KSFO a lot but with less traffic I’m able to get a long nap in between takeoffs and landings. I like the challenge of 8 landing and 12 trying to takeoff in short spirts (15-25mins), no one knows what the hell their doing. It’s actually kind of entertaing.

Edit: EDDF is glorious


Hello, I was thinking of trying that thank you.


Well thank you, that answers my question.


Except it was the wrong one in this case. This is exactly how the misinformation spreads.

IFATC is the best thing once you get to G3. The professionalism improves by a MILE.

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Oh ok, thank you unless you are wrong too.

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I think you’ll find my name listed to get to where you want to be 😉

When I am approach I usually instruct the pilot to contact tower when they are cleared for approach and reaching the red final approach lines. Or in the case when the runway is busy and I see there are other planes lining to takeoff I instruct to contact tower a bit earlier to avoid a missed approach.


My personal favourite ;-)


Sheesh, my bad. Could you stop shaming me now? It kinda hurts, and not gonna lie, you kinda embarrassed me. Could you quit makin’ a fool outta me?

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The easiest way to avoid being made into a fool is by letting the IFATC qualified controllers handle the matters regarding atc. It is, after all, our area of expertise.

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