ATC Approach altitudes

Approach ATC: How to properly descend planes

I have noticed that in general, many expert server approach controllers make planes descend way too low before landing. They make them descend to 3000 feet when they are like 50 NM away and if you descend at a slow rate, they tell you to expedite altitude change. If you do not, they make you go around and do circles for 30 minutes until you are at an extremely low altitude before letting you continue approach.

Here is an example of what it should be. The red line is the ILS line and the green line is the flight path.

At the start of the ILS, the intercept altitude should be around 4000. If you go slightly behind the ILS line, planes should be at 5000-6000. So when you tell planes to descend, please make them descend at the right altitudes. Planes should not be at 2000 feet 30 NM away from the airport.

Some controllers say that they just clear planes all the way to 3000 and planes can still descend at a normal and slower rate, but some controllers tell you to expedite altitude change and if you do not do that then they make you go around for 30 minutes while you are descending at 400 ft/minute until you have finished descending to 3000 when you are like 50 NM away from the airport.

Approach controllers should clear planes to 4000 minimum altitude before telling them to intercept ILS and if they are further out, clear them to higher altitudes like 7000 or something, If you want to clear them all the way to 4000 at the start, then that is fine but let them descend at a slow and normal rate don’t make them go around/tell them to follow instructions if they haven’t finished descending to 4000 when they are 30 NM away.

You might think that heavy traffic would make this difficult but really it shouldn’t make a difference when planes are sufficiently separated and they would still appear to be in the same queues, just that their altitudes would be on a slope and not all at 3000 feet.

Please keep this in mind when controlling, IFATC approach controllers! This is a very widespread problem, I think there should be some kind of guidelines issued for how to properly descend planes on approach control.

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I don’t think so

well maybe like 30 NM in general but I have experienced being forced to descend to 3000 or 2000 when I was like 50 NM away multiple times

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Descending someone to 2000 feet 50 nm away from their destination is way too much.

Where have you seen this occur?

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I suggest you contact the controller when you meet the issues you mentioned. Also, if you don’t get a good answer, contact ATC Supervisors, Moderators or Tyler, they are always ready to help you with that.



Refer to the highlighted post for info on how to proceed. IFATC is trained to handle altitude changes and issues should be taken up with the appropriate people if needed. :)