Approach speeds too far out from the airport

I see that some replies with the phase of approach have nothing to do. I was referring to the average speeds at all international airports (Terminal Aera) are retained in the phase of approach (not to 100 ft configured for landing). I repeat, 15 nm have an average reference only to say what is happening in reality. I’m an ex airline pilot (I flew across Europe, and two years in the USA.) and I just wanted to make a contribution to the comunity. That’s all

Ahhh, now I see what you mean. :)

Which airline did you fly for, and what which aircraft did you have a type rating on? :D

Alitalia. I started flying with DC9-30 before the phase out in 1996, then I flew with the MD 80 until 2011. When I started the transition on A321 I decided to retire, although still young.
I have always rejected the long-rangel, then 767, MD11, and in 2010 the 777.
I hate long flights even by passenger :)


Ahh, lucky… I think rejecting the long-hauls was a good decision, not only do you stack up on your landings faster, you also earn more experience… And you get to fly the beautiful MD 80 of course

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Like this

Personally I have always found the following speeds to be appropriate in the TMA.

Initial descent into the TMA at 250kts or ATC discretion.
Hold speed of 220kts until called off the stack.

Keep 220 for final vectoring toward the approach, reduced to 180kts, flap 5 Boeing, Flap 1 Airbus when on base leg toward a 15-16nm ILS intercept.

180 Kt’s on intial ILS capture then, at about 10 miles on the ILS, slow to 160kts F15/20 Boeing, F2 Airbus.

2000 AAL take the gear and F20 (Boeing) if not already selected (F15 and F20 have the same flap limiting speeds) .

Keep 160 to 4.5 NM, select Vapp+5 F25/30 Boeing (note if you don’t have the gear down for F25/30 in the Boeing it will give you a config warning!), F3/Full Airbus and stable by 1000’.

As you achieve all of this your descent planning (usually flown in V/S) should allow for a constant angle descent and an appropriate speed for you colleagues/chums behind without messing them up.

(P.S the above is the standard approach profile for arriving in the London TMA)
(18,000 hour and counting! SH & LH)


I agree so much with this post but this is like trying to get people to learn what remaining in the patterns means 😂

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I think that here there are a lot of passionate flight people and this is a very beautiful thing. Then there are those who do this work as a profession. This data relating to Boeing, Airbus and other types of airplanes in this context are useless believe me. Without restrictions by ATC, maintain 190 kts of GS, that means 170/180 kts IAS at 50 Nm (see on the lower corner in the screenshot) from the runway is not appropriate. In fact if any airplane maintained these speeds at those distances would block an airport. Furthermore 170/180 KIAS means also, for most of the airline plane extend the slats, or flaps and slats, and this means more aerodinamic drag which means more engine power and thus more fuel consumption. Try to find the fuel policy of the airlines company and see. As for London, I saw that you mentioned, I can assure you that 9 times out of 10 you are requested to maintain 160 kts until OM. This applies to the 90% of the airports in the world. I can assure you that as an airline pilot, at 40/50 Nm from touchdown (without ATC restrictions for any reason obviously) 180 kts IAS is not an appropriate speed. The aircraft configuration (flaps / slats, Airbus, Boeing, Mc Donnell Douglas, etc.) at these distances is irrilevant and is has nothing to do with it. Do you think an ATC controller know the technical specifications of each aircraft, including their weight at that specific moment? Evidently not, but he knows for sure, on average, what are appropriate speed that each aircraft is able to maintain in every phase of the approach. If an aircraft for any reason need to reduce speeds at those distances, will communicate it to the ATC controller. By replying to this topic, I saw someone that has published tables and data relating to the Vth of several aircraft… wich is the relationship between the speed above the runway threshold at 50 ft (VTH) and the speed inside a TMA ready for the initial approach at 50 Nm? I think there is some confusion here, but maybe I expressed mysel badly.
Have a nice flight


At 5nm out i put the gear down,
Flaps full, arm the spoilers, and turn the lights on.

Interesting reply.

The above was to help those members who wish to fly standardised approaches into congested international airport airspace. Not to help ATC.

160 to 4 or 170 to 5 is standard. However, start slowing at 4nm exactly and you’ll bust your stabalised approach criteria at 1000’. Start at 4.5 and you’ll have the thrust off and start decelerating at 4nm.

The flaps schedule is of interest to those who wish to emulate real life, not for the benefit of ATC who don’t and couldn’t care less. They give a speed, the pilot flies it, it’s up to the flight crew to configure for the required speed. Try 180 kts clean in a max landing weight 777-300 and you’ll get what I mean!

Standard in the airline world is, in uncontrolled airspace or visual approaches, 180kt, flap 5 at 10nm to touchdown. In a TMA (terminal marshalling area) it’s as stated above, there are rarely ‘straight in’ approaches in a TMA, stick to the STAR. The standard call into london to ‘Director’ is ‘distance to go, reduce 180kts, call Director callsign only’ that distance, from 7000’ is invariably in the region of 25-30 nm. So yes, you will be below clean speed with a considerable distance to go. The Airlines fuel policy is to fly efficiently wherever possible. If you fly a constant descent angle flight path to the 1000’ stable gate then the config of the aircraft is irrelevant as the engines will be at idle throughout the process.

If you want the standard ‘Caribbean’ approach then it’s 250 below FL100, 220 clean to 15-17, 180 F5 to 10, 160 Gear & F15/20 to 4, Vapp landing flap to rwy.

If you want the fast jet then it’s 480kt, 200’ over runway threshold, 90 degree bank turn left or right, close throttles, full airbrake, gear on schedule, flap on schedule, roll out on centre line at approx 50 ft.

Take your pick I’ve flown them all. Just be clear on what you’re asking.

ps. In real life intercepting the G/S at 50nm puts you outside of the ILS protected zone. Just so you know. ;)


What I have said and written doesn’t need numbers. In a sequence of approaching at an international airport, an aircraft that reduces the speed to 180 kts at 50 nm, or has problems or was instructed by ATC. In 25 years of flying I have never seen it, neither in LHR, LAX, JFK, MXP, FCO, CGG, IST, ATH, AMS, BRU, MAD, BCN, SVO, OTP, DUS, FRA, and so on, but anything can happen. Who knows, maybe one day … ;)

You’re confusing me a little? At what point have I said 180kts at 50nm?

I’ve just given standard profiles for various descents. If those in the game want to follow them then I’ve given them the numbers. Oddly enough, in over 30 years of flying/instructing and examining, I’ve always found it to be a numbers game.

Seems a few numbers in there???

Remember, the players in this game often want to play the game as realistically as possible. That’s a good thing in my book so I will try and give them the figures to achieve that. Stating a goal without giving the help to achieve it often causes confusion.

Hope that clears things up.

If you’ve ever really flown the Canarsie approach to 13L in poor weather into JFK then you’ll know that sequencing does and can include a rather slow and ponderous offset VOR approach!


I continue to say that what I have written is very clear from the first post. Not congest traffic and take adequate speed, neither too fast nor too slow, but the one most similar to the reality. The photos I posted yesterday is simply the summary of what I have written and I have published two months ago. Also I thought it was implied that I was talking about normal weather conditions, no ATC restriction, and airports that have no procedural problems and difficulties due for example to the orography of the terrain and the surrounding obstacles. Listen to me, you must not be angry. I repeat, my post is very clear as it is very simple. What you write is very interesting, but irrelevant to this topic. That’s all

Not angry, this is a discussion forum.

My point is that whilst you tell people WHAT you want doing you don’t explain HOW or WHY.
As most who play aren’t pilots they often would like to know the HOW and the WHY I like to provide the HOW and WHY from a real life perspective.

The two do go together hence making the explanation of approach requirements relevant. You achieve the requirement not to slow up to 180kts at 50nm, the player achieve the satisfaction of believing that they are operating the aircraft in the way it’s meant to be operated.

Mutually inclusive don’t you think.


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I meet the localizer at 180-170kts while at 2500ft AGL. This way you gradually reduce your speed as you near the runway, turn landing lights on once you intercept the localiser. Flaps at 15 or 20 degrees (or 1+F to 2 on Airbus jets). Gear fown at 1800-2000ft AGL this gives you a chance to avoid the drag caused by having gear down for a long time.

Came up with the flap settings
220-210 kts ( 1 degree)
210-200kts (5 degree)
200-190(10 degrees )
190-180(15 degrees)
180-170(20 degrees)
170-160( 25 degrees)
<160(30 degrees)
<150(40 degrees)

flap settings for Airbus
200-190( flap 1)
190-180(flap 1+F)
180-160(flap 2)
<150(flap F)


This really is overkill. You don’t need to set another flaps setting for every 10 kts of speed you want to decrease. Neither do you need to use every setting available when going from flaps up to landing flaps.

I just use them for realism😉

This is my way. If cruising at 14,000 feet, which I often do, I start descent about 60-65 miles out, descending about -900 feet per minute, slowly slowing my speed to 240kts. I progressively slow to 200, and then, when flying a Boeing wide body, I set flaps 1 degree. After, I set a pattern, 5 degrees per 10 kts, so that means:
5 at 190
15 at 170
20 at 160
25 at 150
30 at 140
I slowly lower the descent rate to what I seem is right. I usually hit that localizer at about 180 kts around 2500-3000 feet. Then, I stop altitude AP and control descent manually. At 6ish miles out, gear down, AP off, usually about 150kts. I cross the numbers at 140 kts, and maintain all the way down. Dependent on wind, that number may go up, never down. That is my two cents, hope you can apply it for yourself.

It’s not realistic though, that’s the point ;)

The conceit of virtual pilots is amazing. I surrender!