How do people manage a Queenstown approach at night?

Hello! I was just flying into Queenstown, and I always flight to the current time. It is 03:10 in Queenstown, meaning it is pitch black outside, and I wasn’t aware, but there is a mountain about 2 miles away from the runway, during the final. I ended up crashing right into the side of it, and I was wondering what the best way is to land at Queenstown during the night?
Sorry @Ocean1c (I was New Zealand 611)

Thanks,

I had to change to day time just for the landing

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I always use an approach chart for mountainous approaches, especially ones at might

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change the time

Use the approach charts and use the waypoints as reference for speed, altitude and heading. Once you practice in day time, night will be easy👍🏻

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Matt Davies did a good video on that approach. Even though he isn’t using infinite flight, the tutorial is still very helpful

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Hey @LazyGuy222

I would recommend using approach charts for airports with terrain if you want to remain realistic. For Queenstown, you’re supposed to enter from the right of the runway and right at the end as you pass the mountain you align your self with the runway.

Another way would be changing time from current to noon but this won’t be as realistic.

I hope this helped

IFATC Ocean1c

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Thanks everyone!

That’s really useful. I shall do that.

Use approach charts is probably your best bet. The thing is, Queenstown has a landing curfew at night IRL, so you may want to change your time of day for realism.

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It is a shame you always have to switch to day, since night graphics are terrible. You only see the runway lights and nothing else. Can’t even taxi! I am also surprised you don’t even have city lights or anything.

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I think it is extremely difficult to make a decend in the dark. I think the best thing to do is change your time. If you want to try it anyway I would give you a try on Glenorchy. With FL 120 you are well involved. Since most comes from the north / east. Fly over Glenorchy. This is exactly the problem here, you have to trust your eye that the systems won’t bring you much here. As soon as you see the lake (Wakatipu) you fly between two mountains. Ideally, the airport (Queenstown) should now be on the left. Now you do your desend and as I said from FL 120 it has to be done quickly since there is no ILS / Nav. I still wish you a lot of success and will contact you when you have made it. I also love the Queenstown approach. It is always a challenge

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@Luke_M can give you the best reply to it. ;)

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I think practice during the day makes perfect, you’ll have natural instincts for the descent, turns and lastly… the unique Late Turn Approach into NZQN! I’m guessing it’s like PARO where IRL pilots need special license for the job.

It’ll also probably help if you have lifeflightapp on another device just to see where you’re at in relation to those mountains and valleys - though the information would be a bit lagged.

Here’s one I made (yea yea I know, show off! lol) and would love you to see. Not really at night but everything approaching NZQN in theory are pre-calculated and shouldn’t need your eyes (solely on ILS) until you see the runway lights, be prepared to hand-fly as you approach waypoint QN550:

Cheers!

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Couldn’t agree with you more :)) but that’s what’s makes the pilots professional. Simulator helps us to learn more about the aviation in general. So should we also make the little afford to learn more abt how to land properly even tho we can’t see anything. At least we learn how to read the instruments, am i wrong? 😊

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Difficult approaches will be easier to fly when STARs are released in the upcoming update. For the moment, I’d switch to day time or at least try the approach in solo mode prior to your flight.

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The STARs won’t help a lot regarding low visibility and night procedures at NZQN because the issue is the segments after the STAR. Due to terrain it’s impossible to do a normal straight-in. And as far as I know instrument approach procedures won’t be part of 20.1 yet.

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I was under the assumption that a STAR would be used when a visual approach is not feasible; e.g terrain or visibility. Is this not the case?

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Not necessarily. Usually a STAR is followed by an instrument approach, also in this particular case of NZQN. However, there are airports which have a STAR followed by visual approaches mostly due to terrain, although nowadays many of them are RNAV or RNP visuals.
Also, it might be that the STAR isn’t flown even before an instrument approach procedure because ATC vectors you on a more direct way to the final approach course or has to deviate from the STAR for separation reasons.

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Also, you can use IF Assistant to avoid the “CFIT (controlled flight into terrain)” itself. If you get the GPWS sound pack, you’ll get the “Terrain, terrain, pull up” warning. I had this happen to me once, embarrassingly in strong daylight 😂.
But yeah, approach charts are good, also, having STARs in app soon will help a bit.

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