Approaches - How to improve

Dear all,
Probably this is a recurrent topic but I would like to ask you hot to improve approaches.
I find myself quite often too high intercepting the ILS of te runway and therefore I am forced to do strong corrections.
How can I know in advance the correct altitude to intercept the ILS? Are adding to the FPL the approach waypoints? How do you know the correct approach waypoints sequence and the descent profile to use?
I am sorry if I asked a lot of questions but I am quite new and I would like to learn.
Thanks in advance for your support.


Intercept the localizer at a 30 degree angle and below the glide slope. So if the runway heading is 180, intercept at 210 or 150 and at 2500 AAL 10 nm out

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This is something a lot of pilots struggle with, but here are some basic tips.

  1. Start you final approach at the end of the cone. This will give you plenty of time to make adjustments.
  2. Ensure you don’t approach at a bad speed. At around 5 miles, you should start slowing down to your approach speed, ussualy 130 knots for light aircraft and 140 knots for heavier aircraft.
  3. Don’t extend your gear and final notch of flaps until you are three miles out. This will help with fuel burn, as well.
  4. Enter the cone at 5000 ft AGL. This is so you get a nice glide on landing.

These are my top tips, but others will have different ones too.
Happy landings!


I feel like that’s a little bit too much. I would aim for 3500ft AGL


A standard glide slope is 3 degrees. For a standard 10 nm final approach, you’ll want to be at 2500(3000 at 10 nm but you have to be lower to intercept)

Don’t do this. At 3 nm out, you would be at about 900 ft. You should be fully configured for landing at 1000 ft. I would recommend lowering landing gear at 7-8 nm out.


Actually, I’m doing alright on approaches but I’ve noticed that I have always been below the Glideslope. I still make it to the runway, but at a rather steep angle of about -800- 1000.

I’ve been starting my final approach at 3000ft AGL, and at the end of the cone I’m below the GS. Should I wait until I am on the GS?

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Yes, continue at 3000 until you are on the glide, then decend.

Each to their own, dude, each to their own.

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Realism dude, realism.

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Would you use A/P to maintain a steady descent towards the runway or just disengage AP right when the GS is on the mark?


If you are worried about hand flying, use the APPR mode. Omg engage it though once you are on glide.

@Claudio I usually fly the approach using HDG and ALT+VS controls as I find it won’t jerk the aircraft anywhere near as much as it does when enabling the APPR. To do it with the autopilot controls simply set your ALT to the airport elevation or 0, then alter your VS to descend down to the glideslope. If you find that you are below, simply have a VS of either 0 or 100 and eventually you will end up on the glideslope. Obviously whilst doing this you will be using HDG to remain lined up on the centreline of the localiser. Remember - while on approach, constantly monitor the localiser indicators.

Hope this helped.


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I see a lot of random guesses in here.

3 degrees is math, it’s not up for debate. 3000 ft AAL 10 nm out. The cone is slightly longer than 10 nm, but not 6.7 nm longer, which is what you would need for 5000 AAL.

You can always be under the glide slope. There’s no harm in that. When in doubt, if you have terrain clearance, err on the lower side.

What I see most pilots who aren’t sure where they should be doing is staying at 10100 feet until they’re about 10 feet from intercept. You have to slow down some time, so just do it. Prepare.

Don’t get to the intercept and then realize, “oh, it’s the same as every other one and 10k is too high” and then start doing 360s at the cone where other pilots may need the airspace. You should be at your intercept altitude before the nanosecond you hit the intercept. There’s no crime in being at 3k on base, or even at the end of your downwind.


2500 AAL at 10nm? That seems a little lo that far away. I usually descend to 3000ft until like 8nm. Does your ay seem more realistic?

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Taken from the IFATC manual 10.7.5

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Once again, it’s math. It has a concrete answer.

For a 3.0 degree GPA, 10 nm away is 3180 feet AAL:

Or, 3k feet on that same GPA would be 9.42 nm from the threshold:

Same calculations for a 3.2 degree GPA:

If you take the cones in IF as being 11nm from the threshold, using a 3 degree GPA, then you get 3500 feet:

So, it’s 3500 AAL at the cone. This is not opinion. Math is concrete. It has a discrete answer.

Also remember, you can always be below the glide slope. You should never be above it. If you need to fly level for a bit to meet it, so be it, but you should never dive to meet it.


well , start to descend when the arrival time is around 30 mins left

You can use APPR if you want to though it isn’t on all the aircraft but you will see a flight path vector(FPV) on your screen if you are using the HUD and not live instruments which points at where you will be/where the aircraft is headed.

You want to aim the FPV at the center of the runway at the aiming point until you get low enough, then you’d start to flare.

I believe this section is talking about Approach controllers, right? They’re supposed to make the intercept altitude slightly below the glide slope to make things easier for the pilot. But when flying without Approach (especially when you’re intercept is less than 10*), I’m not sure if this altitude adjustment is necessary.


I’d recommend getting the Approach/ILS charts for each airport you’re trying to fly into-they’ll give you specific altitudes to be at and a course to follow as well-along with that, I always put the waypoints in and it’s huge if you have V speed charts to find Vref for a given aircraft weight and Vapp for wind additive.