Inbound on the ILS/GPS/Visual: A Reminder

Hello Community!

One of the most common errors I see pilots commit while I’m controlling is the incorrect use of “Inbound on the ILS”, “Inbound on the GPS”, and “Inbound on the Visual” commands. I’ve seen new and highly experienced players alike make this error, I so would appreciate it if everyone takes the time to read this reminder:

Quite a few people use these commands as they would “inbound for landing”, thinking that It just specifies what kind of runway they want. This is incorrect, they should only be used after you have been cleared for an ILS, GPS, or visual approach by a radar controller and transferred to tower.

When you have not been cleared by approach and contact tower directly, always announce inbound for landing. From there we will give you a pattern entry and sequence followed by a clearance. If you are already in the pattern, report your position instead.

When you have been cleared by approach, use the command correct to what you have been cleared for as soon as you are switched to the tower frequency. From there, we will give you a direct clearance if you are on the ILS/GPS, or a sequence and clearance if you are on the visual. If you have been handed off with flight following a radar vectors, you actually will need to use the inbound for landing command, which means a pattern entry, sequence, and clearance.

To close, I have made this chart which shows which shows which inbound commands you can use in different situations. If you often make this mistake, please download the photo to use for easy reference in the future:

Thanks everyone, and happy flying!


Excellent reminder! I definitely see this a lot on expert, and it would help if people knew the correct way to call inbound. Very nice post!


That’s something to link/use for reference, great! Thanks for sharing!

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Great work mate! When I was new to IF almost 2 years back, I used to have so many problems with the technicality of ATC communications and understanding it. Kudos to you for making it easier for members. Sometimes even now, many pilots, including me, are confused with technical stuff. But everyday is a learning day in IF. Thanks mate!


Ooh my pet peeve! Thanks for the reminder to everyone!

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@PlaneCrazy: Think a clarification is in order. Your odviously providing guidance for Approach (Radar) control when it’s in operation at initial contact, Correct?

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As soon as you are handed off to a tower frequency by an approach controller, you should use one of these commands (depending on which you were cleared for).

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@PlaneCrazy… MaxSez: Clear… Thank, Max

The table attached is a little misleading in the fact that “inbound for landing” should be used when transferred from approach in cases of Radar Vectors and Flight Following/VFR. It’d be great if you could make that correction in the table.


Will do, thanks for the correction:-)

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Very helpful! I have to admit that I didn’t know this 🤭

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As a newbie IFATC, I always thought as soon as I got onto expert, people would use these commands correctly, but boy I was wrong. This reminder is very important to everyone on expert - you probably won’t get ghosted for using the wrong on, but it helps make the experience more realistic and fun for everyone!

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