Approach into the pattern

When controlling approach do you need to direct ac into the glide slope? Or can you direct them into, say, left downwind then handoff?

Hey, could you elaborate on what you mean?

Do you always need to direct planes so you handoff to tower when the ac are on the glide slope or can I stick them into the pattern (downwind or base) of the airport then handoff?

When vectoring aircraft inbound to land, vector them to a suitable spot no more than 30⁰ off the runway heading, at an altitude about 2,500ft-4,000ft agl, until they are able to tune in with the ILS (anywhere 15-20nm out-ish), and begin their final approach. That’s when you clear them for the Approach. Then hand them off to tower generall when they are about 10nm out, which is at the end of the ILS range.

Visual approaches you can guide close to the runway, and issue a clearance if traffic is safe there. Then switch off to tower, so the aircraft can direct themselves to the runway.


Depends on the situation and the approach you’re giving them.

If you’re directing someone to go in the pattern, why would they be on the glide slope when they need to hold an altitude until the localiser for the ILS? So the answer is no.

If you’re directing them a straight-in approach then yes, since they would need to intercept their localiser.

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It depends. If they request Radar Vectors to an airport, then you can vector them into the pattern and hand off when necessary.

All other approaches (ILS and Visual) require an alignment with the runway and the Glideslope.

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Thanks for your response. That’s cleared that up for me! 👍👍

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I’d like to add that if you are giving radar vectors, you should still have aircraft at a suitable altitude when you hand them off. If they’re ok downwind, don’t have them at 10000ft or something. Vector as you would for an ILS, just no 30° intercept, and you can hand off on base or downwind (depending on the situation).

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MaxSez: Pilots Note: Airliners do Not Due “Short Finals” In IMC or VMC upon arrival at any time at both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes.

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