Approach with ATC

Is this correct?
I contact Approach, request ILS approach at XXrwy, atc vectors me, hands me to tower, I announce ILS inbound, cleared to land.

Yup sounds like what I do. Just make sure your request the correct approach, such as visual, ILS, or GPS because different airports vary, but for the most part they are always ILS.

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I suggest you checking in first after contacting approach.

No, he does not have to check in. When you contact approach, just request your desired service.


You would only check in if you were to change frequencies, such as tower handing you over to departure


Checking in is basiclly asking for a flight following


Nice and when do you contact approach?

I would usually contact them at or below FL180.
In terms of distance I would say as soon as it pops up in your radar. But make sure to check ATIS first.


Yup contact approach 50nm out and below 18000ft


I could be wrong with that. But I always check in to let the controller know that I have contacted its frequency.

Not needed as calling in for an approaching does that also it reduces the amount of transmission on the frequency


You should really not do that. It gives tons of extra stress for the controller, especially when it’s busy.


The only time I ever check in is after being handed to radar controller following departure. I can then proceed as I wish and the controller will usually only vector me to avoid any collisions or terrain as needed.

On approach, tune in to the freq within 50NM and below FL180. Then just request the approach you want to the airport and the radar controller will take it from there. Its highly unlikely you’ll be allowed to proceed on your own course in most circumstances when approaching a busy controlled airport.


Please note that checking in on its own allows you to follow your FPL. If you check in and don’t request anything further, you can navigate yourself to the airport.

If the controller doesn’t want this though, they will ask you to “say intentions” and at this point you can ask for an approach.

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Nothing more annoying as a radar controller than the pilot who on a busy frequency checks in and then seconds later asks for approach service. “I’d like to fly my flight plan, oh wait, now I want you to give me approach service” is how it sounds.

Just ask for what you want and save the already busy controller some unnecessary commands.


Tbh, I was checking in and request approach service until I understand how to contact Approach correctly.


That’s exactly what I do !

You’ve got the answer to your question above, which was specifically for an ILS approach.
Note that between your “atc vectors me” and “ hands me to tower” is a step missing. This step is: “I make the final turn towards the localizer”.

Read the full story, plus details for other approach types here.

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