How To Line Up Perfectly On Approach?

First of all, thank you to each and every member of this community who takes times to reply to silly questions of people like me.

Most of the times when I come in for landing, I am not lined up perfectly with the runway (the LOC is little to the right/left). Then when I try to adjust the HDG via autopilot, the plane veers a bit to left or right (even for 1 degree adjustments). If I manually control the heading, it becomes impossible to line up, with heavy veering of the aircraft to either side.

How do I line up perfectly with the runway centerline? I see some cases where the LOC appears like a single line (such perfect alignment).


Sometimes, when I really can’t be bothered, I turn on APPR (737BBJ, A318-A321 only). After I’m lined up, I just recalibrate, then turn off APPR. Other times, I just make a flight plan that has a waypoint close to it that lines up with the LOC


Get your speed and flaps settings right. It will make it much easier to control. Once you are within 5nm try to disable autopilot and make small corrections. Don’t overcorrect it or you will start going back and forth in an oscillation.


A lot of runways are split between 2 headings, so manual landing is the best. Autopilot will veer left to right.

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Whether you are using autopilot or manual, the method is roughly the same. (Might help to have your control settings on ‘low’). The trick is to get as close as you can on your initial approach and do minor adjustments.

  1. To the right of the localiser (the vertical bar that moves left and right) you’ll have the GPS or ILS runway information. This will usually tell you the runway heading (some exceptions at certain airports, but as a rule of thumb it works, otherwise). When on final approach, this is the heading that you want to maintain.

  2. If the localiser is to the right of centre, bank gently to the right until the line is re-established in the middle, and then bank left to resume the heading shown on the GPS. As before, make minor adjustments to keep it in the middle, avoiding heavy movements. Same deal but in the opposite direction if the localiser is left-of-centre.

  3. The best way to intercept the localiser beam is to approach it from around 30 degrees intercepting course (so if the localiser heading is 243, approach the start of it from 213, - or 273) and 2500 ft above airport ground level. As your aircraft intercepts the localiser, watch as the line starts moving towards the centre, and turn your plane gently in such a way that it’s lined up with the centre just as you finish the turn and the line is firmly in the middle. This will take a little bit of practice, but there’s not much more to it.

Don’t retain too much speed when doing final approach (180 in a jet should be plenty), as everything happens faster and if you’re not prepared for it, you won’t compensate in time. Practice in a prop first, to get the feel for the technique with a simple plane, - then move onto faster and heavier aircraft and master it at that level as you go ahead.

Hope this helped.


You want to learn how to “slip” into position also so to say. For example, if you are just a little bit off to the right of the runway on approach, learn how to make small adjustments using the rudder and ailerons to get you back in line. People forget about the rudder far to often. The rudder is very helpful in maintaining a steady approach especially if it is windy.