block descent...HELP?

Hello again, could someone explain to me the formula and how block descent works.For example, let say you’re at FL150 and want to descent to FL100 and cruise for about 20NM until descending to around 5000ft. just about getting ready for your approach.

Example.
cruising at 15000 at 70NM/than want to be at 10000 at 50NM
is the formula going to be 15000-10000=
5000/300=25NM. (3° glide slope)
So my question is directly is are you supposed to add 25NM to your original distance, subtract the initial distance from descent distance, or even add the two together

I know the topic “merits of block descent exist” already.
Sorry and my bad if I used any terminology in the wrong context also.
Your response will be well appreciated.

1 Like

1st option you listed. Subtract the initial distance from descent distance.

1 Like

thnk God and thanks for your help.

1 Like

Take a look here:

This app calculates it for you:

1 Like

It’s always a good idea to research your topic before you make it. You may find the answer.

Another good one:

Thanks but virtual hub doesn’t work for me.

Distance required to lose specific altitude:

 (Altitude to lose x GS) / (Rate of Descent x 60)

I use this one if I want to be at a certain flight level and know my desired descent rate. So, if I’m at FL350 and want to hit 11000 by 50 nm out, and want to descend at 1500 FPM, I multiply 24000 by my groundspeed, then divide that by the product of 1500 and 60. The parentheses are very important.

Rate of descent required with known distance:

[ (Altitude to lose x GS) / Distance to target ] / 60

I use this as I proceed from my start point established above. Obviously, your speed decreases as you get lower and lower, so you won’t need to descend as fast, so I use the above to re-evaluate my ROD.

Say by FL220 my groundspeed has decreased significantly, I then use the distance remaining to the target waypoint (where I want to establish a cruise at 11000 for a short time or something) and the second equation to lower my ROD. I continue to evaluate this throughout my descent.

There is no simple calculation that will give you an exact number which doesn’t require revision during descent. It’s impossible to account for the consistent loss in speed as you descend.


There are plenty of threads on here about descent. If I recall, you’ve asked about it two or three times before, so I’m sure you’ve been pointed that way.

The thing is, it’s not that difficult. Just some simple arithmetic and algebra, and I’ve done the algebra for you already.

I don’t do rules-of-thumb, though there are a million out there. These two equations and a few seconds of conceptual thought take care of any and all of the mathematics of descent for me.

You seriously couldn’t have asked on one of the 100 descent topics?