Expert ATC tip of the day | ILS intercepts

When cleared by approach for a GPS or ILS approach. It is the pilots responsibility to intercept, and maintain the localizer. Failure to do so will only result in a missed approach. This is the only time you deviate from an assigned ATC heading.

Another issue we are seeing a lot lately is people asking for a frequency change, or just changing after receiving the approach clearance. Do not change frequency, or ask until instructed to do so. If you change frequency you will be subject to ghosting.

How to fly an ILS approach
Pilots tutorial guide


Just curious how I dial up the localizer on my GPS approach…



In IF the same way you do an ILS 😂

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So I can’t…? Is that what I am to understand?


Wait what? So after receiving “Frequency change approved, good day!” You should stay on the frequency?

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Quite the bromance you guys have today I see. 😂


No I’m talking about after the Approach clearance.


Thanks for making this Brandon. Seems like it quite a common misunderstanding, see it all the time on appr. The appr atc will hand over to tower once the aircraft is lined up. Intercepting is critical when doing a parallel approach.


To elaborate:

Your first concern after receiving clearance should be intercepting the localizer.

There is no reason your first instinct should be to immediate change frequencies. Approach will keep you until you have intercepted. We will hand you off. We promise.

There is no need to ask for a freq change at all, much less immediately after clearance. Focus on intercepting.

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This pretty much sums up what you shouldn’t do :) Thanks for letting the community know, now we can’t say that we never knew :)

@Brandon_Sandstrom. MaxSez: Now I’ve experienced the frustrated, distracted or loss of situation awareness Approch IFATC at hi-Tempo ports in my limited amount of Landings. I’ll normally ask for a Freq Chg at 6/7 miles in Bound if I’m not switch up by that time. Thats minutes from touch down. Should I go Missed on these occasion, just wait it out fingers crossed or take the Ghost and fight it and loose by some FDS unpublished technicality. What say you Expert ATC.





If you’re on The localizer, and closer then 5 miles and haven’t received a clearance by all means remind us. We do make mistakes, I’m talking about asking for a frequency change immediately after receiving the approach clearance. We still need to make sure you hit the localizer prior to handoff.

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@Brandon_Sandstrom MaxSez: Thank you for the clarification. It seems if “common sense” were applied to some of these ATC issues 2018 will turn out be be a mighty fine IF Year. Regards


ATC wants you on their frequency for a reason. You may be too far away for tower or the airspace is busy and approach needs to keep everyone.


The point of the original post is that the purple box is your responsibility to make that turn. The controller will get you within 30 degrees of the final runway heading. Its up to you to line up. ATC will never line you up perfectly with the runway. This diagram shows a pattern where approach gives various turns, Then for final you get two 30 degree turns. The turn to final and lining up with the runway is all on the pilot.

Once approach sees you making the final turn, they will instruct you to contact the tower. If you forgot to turn and there’s a line of planes behind you, the controller may give you a missed approach (cough to the back of the line)

This is one reason we emphasize looking at the messages at the top instead of waiting for the audio. Sometimes the audio can be seconds later and will put you out of position.

PS… Also a good reason to be < 200 kts for that final turn. Going to be hard making that turn going 249kts.


This is a big reason why I have to take people on longer approaches these days. A lot of them take their time, making it difficult to conduct rapid-fire short, precision approaches for other planes. A wide berth is unfortunately necessary for them to line up right (if at all).


@JoshFly8… MaxSez: Can’t agree with Josh more. Those Who Fly a Trash Hauler (Those Big Ugly Lumbers Tubes) should never fly or plan for a short final. Landing profiles set up for the ugly beasts should be initiated 15/20miles out from the IP (ILS Intercept Point/Fix) it’s at the head of the Cone which is normally at approx 10 miles in IF. Bus Drivers should anticipate Approach (When operational) vectors when terminating at a Controlled Aerodrome.
Just Sayin, Regards All


Yup, also serves as a good reminder to pilots that… The red ils cone only serves as a visual guide, around 10nm from the runway. Intercepts can be given further out as the localizer extends about 25nm (since the global update).

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The irony is that at 15 miles, they won’t bother turning. Most of them think the ILS only starts at the very tip of the cone (8 miles), instead of an extended centerline that can be joined at any point up to 20 miles away from the threshold, as is the range set with the last update.


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