Approach speeds too far out from the airport

I never forced you to use it. If you like your style then continue using it😊

I wasn’t talking about you, but in general about the attitude of many people within this forum… but of course nothing serious :)

1 Like

Probably aimed at me but I don’t mind I’ve got broad shoulders! ;)

I like the virtual bit though!

The world would be a dull and boring place if we all agreed all of the time!

Have fun :D

1 Like

Its not aimed at anyone. No need to feel guilty.

Hey all thanks for the conversation as I am not a pilot by profession, I may be one of those that start to decend early. This gives me a reference point.

1 Like

Distance from destination to descend Cruising Altitude/300 = Distance from destination you need to descend…typically -1500fpm

Cruising altitude to use for flight
Distance of FPL/7 *1000= cruising altitude for the flight.

Again, it’s not a must to use this if you have no problem with descending and cruise altitudes

1 Like

I try to maintain a target rate of descent at a specific speed rather than fixed rules for flaps. For most approaches, I set speed using A/P, then vary flaps based on estimated time to destination, altitude, and rate of descent while holding nose level or slightly up attitude. Try to target stabilizing fully configured at 500-900 FPM @ 1500 AGL < 2 minutes to destination.

I have flown a 777 close to mlw @170kts and flaps 1 when I need to drop like a rock nose level (mostly due to poor planning, or when I’m given left traffic and a short downwind leg at KPSP 31L ;-)) without gaining airspeed. I put them out to where they should be 500 ft or so above the glide slope (I use the red boxes). Feel like real pilots would be more concerned about miscalculating and stalling than I am, but hey, IF isn’t the real world ;-).

Not sure if this is a good strategy, but I haven’t crashed yet!

Alright folks. Time to bring back a thread that needs to address something that I found occurring more often; approach speeds when inbound to the airport.

I have noticed a handful of people, mainly from the community that are on their final approach speed beyond 15nm out from the airport.

The Picture
If you take a look at the picture that I edited, you will notice that I did a little measuring. I headed over to Solo mode, and flew a couple measurement flights to determine various distances. The green line is a distance from the “center of the airport”. The airspace that an airport lies in is centered around the geographical center of the airport. In this case the blue circle that indicates PHTO is a controlled field, and is the center of the airspace. The first ring around the airport is about 3nm, the second is about 8nm, and the third is about 12nm. Keep in mind these are estimates. These numbers may differ than what the published distances are; if they even are published. Use this green line as a reference. I next calculated the distance of the ILS in this case which was about 8nm. Again, this was an estimate.

What’s the point?
Like I had mentioned, I have seen a handful of community members, (no names are being mentioned), setting up their aircraft on the final approach speed beyond the 12nm mark. Particularly in the area that is crossed out with the red circle. In other words, folks are at speeds in the range of 130-150kts; depending on the aircraft. If you are being told by ATC if at a field with ATC to maintain a certain speed, this does not apply to you. Comply with ATC’s instructions. Again, I want to emphasize, do not deviate from what ATC instructs speed wise.

What speed should I fly then?
I can’t give a specific speed for an aircraft to fly while on approach but I can give some ranges based on the normal weight configuration for an aircraft.

  • Majority of the larger aircraft in IF are capable of maintaining between 200kts – 240kts in the of 12nm – 26nm range from the airport.

  • Between 8nm – 12nm from the airport 170kts – 190kts is optimal.

  • Between 3nm – 8nm, this is where the final configuration of the aircraft should take place. (Gear down, flaps full, speed brakes armed, etc.) At this point you should be slowing further to your final approach speed. Again, depending on the aircraft, your speed could range from 135kts – 155kts.

  • Between 0nm – 3nm, you should have the aircraft configured and focused on the landing. Maintain a speed appropriate to keep the aircraft on the localizer and glideslope for a nice smooth touchdown.

I hope this post gives some better insight on good airspeed control while on approach. It is not necessary to set the aircraft 12nm+ from the field. Just to put it into perspective, for those that have flown with Southwest Airlines into Dallas Love Field (KDAL) they fly their approaches at a high rate of speed. Its been dubbed as they fly 250kts to the threshold. Obviously they don’t, but they fly a faster than normal approach.

Moral of the story: When you slow to your final approach speed so far out from the airport, you end up causing a massive train wreck behind you. Throws everyone else off their “game” as they don’t necessarily want to slow to 140kts 12nm out.


And I will add when you’re flying on expert, don’t be approaching at 450-500 kts between 30 - 50 miles out .


I Think you are a bit confused. Read again

He’s not confused he’s saying don’t do that either.

1 Like

No. I think Tom brings up a good point. I’m not on the IFATC team, but rather a pilot who can see a lot just by observation. It cracks me up every time when I hear on approach someone call in from FL340 booking it at 500kts and 40nm out asking for an approach. Generally they get put in a hold. If people just fly a rather simple profile, and not rush from point A to point B, stress is saved on both ATC and other pilots entering the airspace. I don’t think he’s confused.


I definitely agree with you. It’s pretty frusturating when I’m about 20-10 nm out going at regular speed (usually 220-180 KIAS) and there’s some guy going at 130 KIAS. Just the other day on expert, I was on approach to KSAN (no approach ATC) with at least 20 nm left to the ILS cone and there was a guy (not saying names) going at like 150 KIAS who I was stranded behind.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.