IFATC Approach Strategies Tracking Thread

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?

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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

1 Like

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?

1 Like

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

1 Like

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.


Just going to pick your brain real quick, and I have a few questions.

  • As you can see in the photo, there is much more traffic on the Northside then southside, why not send more westbound traffic to the south?

  • When talking efficient, do you think a straight-in from from the east and right downwind from the west would’ve worked better?

  • When an Aircraft such as American 2307 calls inbound from the east and requestes 25L, why not handoff to south controller and grant their request?

  • It seems as the “S” patterns had a few benefits, but sometimes the spacing would grow to 10-15nm occasionally, any plans to reduce this in the future?

  • Things seemd to work well, but occasionally the final approach frequency would seem cluttered. Multiple aircraft with less than 3nn/1000ft separation at some points. Do you think some aircraft may have been handed off too early/late? What can be done to combat that issue?

1 Like

@Trio thank you for making this clear to us! As always, youre information is very interesting

1 Like

I really enjoyed my flight into Zurich the other day.


I did send some over the field and straight in at one point. I wasn’t turning them fast enough and the south was looking pretty empty. The majority of the departures where on 25R, no one was taking off on 24L really so it made more sense for the majority to land on 24R but final had the option to switch them to 25L or 24L if there was a gap.

Final had the option to change him but 24R was the better option assuming that was were he was put him in the end.

Oh yeah, 10nm to 15nm is horrible unless it’s intentional. At one point I tried extending the 7000ft leg down further so final didn’t have to turn base so far down but opted to just stick it out with what we were doing as the traffic thinned out. That might have been what you saw, I had 3-5nm at the height of the traffic.

I’m a fan of that spacing on downwind. I’d rather have 3nm spacing on downwind then final because he can have one aircraft extend and the other turn base sooner to create a bigger gap.


Airport: KJFK
Status: Used 4 December, 2018.

Information: Just a straight downwind, base to final. Nothing fancy. Going to keep the North at 4000ft in case I want to put some on 22L/22R or 04L/04R. Whichever is active. As always, going to keep one side at 3000ft on base and one at 4000ft. If you are arriving into KJFK this is active.

Pictures: image


Result: Didn’t really need the downwind part, just straight ins pretty much.