IFATC Approach Strategies Tracking Thread

It can be confusing for pilots, I feel, when they do not know where or how they will enter into the sequence of an approach line when arriving at an airport. I think it would be beneficial if we could share the strategy we currently are using so you can better plan your flight (flight plan) and set yourself up for the approach.

Each controller has a strategy that he/she shares with controllers before opening and sometimes after closing. The strategy can change and evolve throughout the session but I feel it could be both help pilots and educate new radar trainees if we were able to share our strategies and maybe even share some of the things we learned after we closed.

Status: Are you open or closed. Is this strategy currently in use?
Information: Fill in any relevant information.

Only posts following the format above by IFATC controllers will be allowed. You can ask questions if you’d like though. Hope you find this useful!

Note: Controllers will not answer questions while they are open.


Airport: LSZH Approach
Status: Was used on 1 December, 2018

Information: I tagged with @Dillon_Lewis, he was final and I was initial approach. I’d handle the line and he’d handle clearing aircraft, I would handoff on downwind.

Each leg of the pattern had it’s own designated altitude. All aircraft were vectored to the beginning of the line, with some exceptions when there were holes to fill. In order to use both runways 16 and 14 I would have one aircraft for 14, next in line for 16, next in line 14 as you can see in the pictures.

It worked out great! You really have to stay on top of it though or the legs will become super long and spacing will become huge.

Initial Strategy before opening:

Strategy Exectuted:


Why atc don t use aproache hold


In some cases holds can be inefficient and lead to delays, sometimes they work. Depends on the airport. :)


Aproache s is good or no


When I atc airport for example egll I use this methode

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Yes, that works. That’s actually from this tutorial. We use those strategies all the time. I used it at LSZH, sort of.


In case anyone wanted to see the view from my point, here you go.


Airport: KLAX
Status: Used 2 December, 2018

Information: We had a North initial approach (Me), South initial approach (@Sammy_Droubi) and a Final approach (@Henrik_E). I had a nice S going to the North. Nothing more satisfying then handing off to another radar controller.

Handoff to final on downwind.



And I thought I was the only one who liked doing weird approach strategies. Definitely will keep an eye on this thread.


When you say that you have a North, South and Final approach radar controllers, how do you work that many controllers for that one airport where only 1 “approach” controller is allowed?

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On the expert server we’re allowed/able to have multiple frequencies open at one airport. We’ve had 2 grounds, 2 towers and 2/3 approach frequencies opened in the past. It’s become more common.

Any aircraft landing on runway 24R would go to the North controller and any aircraft landing on runway 25L would go the South controller. All aircraft would be handed off on downwind so that Final approach has enough time.

We use the data tags to determine this and to let eachother know what we’re doing when handing off. We could communicate handoffs by text in our slack but why, when everything you need to know is on the data tag?

Here’s an example scenario. Someone contacts the North controller 30nm out at 23,000ft AGL [too high and too close, shouldn’t even contact until below 18,000ft AGL] and the North Controller thinks it would be better if he’s put overhead to join left downwind for 25L. The north controller would say expect the ILS for runway 25L and then hand him off to the south controller. The south controller would then read his tag and know that he has been handed off from another approach controller because it says ILS - KLAX 25L, which means another controller has assigned that runway already. There would be no need to say expect ILS 25L again, the pilot would just simply check in and then the south controller would vector him into his line.

The thing inside the white box is a data tag for anyone that’s wondering what I’m talking about.

It displays their callsign, aircraft, altitude, assigned altitude, speed in knts, approach type, destination airport and runway assigned.

We went for 3 controller because the pilots were pretty horrible yesterday, I ghosted 11 people in 30 minutes. That makes our life twice as hard so we thought it would be best to split the workload. Also, the spam was unreal.


Excellent stuff! You ATC guys on IF Exp Server are really fantastic! Thank you for sharing this.


Ouch…that must have been painful


Comes with the territory, figuratively and literally.

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I think I have also heard this called a trombone approach.

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The further review the LAX Approach strategy, a drawing was made up that we followed yesterday with a Northern Initial Approach, Southern Initial Approach, and a Final Approach who handled approaches for both runways. It was highly successful and by locking the aircraft in on a 210kts IAS speed while in the approach we guaranteed the spacing requirements for an easy hand off to Final approach at 6000 on the downwind. I have also included a departure drawing for getting departures around the approaching traffic.

The departing traffic will be high enough once a turn to heading is made to avoid the approaching traffic which will be at 8000 to 6000 when entering the upwind or downwind track.

In the Approach drawing, green represents an eastbound landing versus the usual westbound landing.

LAX Approach

LAX Departure


One question I have is what does the 7, 6 , and 5 mean?
In the other post you start from 11, 10, 9 and work down. Could you explain why you chose these number to label the legs of your pattern?

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Pretty sure those are for altitudes (9=9000ft)

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Those are altitudes: 7000ft MSL, 6000ft MSL, 5000ft MSL, ect.

Having them at different altitudes for each leg helps me remember if I turned them or not, and if they disappear I’ll know where I lost them. Also, if one of them decides to not listen to my heading or I want to cut someone off because of large spacing, there will not be a conflict.