Is it normal procedure to make pattern turns when...

Is it normal procedure to make 90 degree turns like a traffic pattern when preparing to land? I recently did a flight from WSSS - KEWR. As I was approaching from Canada towards north of KEWR, I saw that runways 22L and R were red, so I altered my FPL to runway 04L. To get there, do pilots irl enter KEWR’s airspace in left downwind, then left base and lastly final for runway 04L? That’s what I did and when I was making the 90 degree turn from left base to final I was at 3000ft (Is that too low to turn?)

Well it depends. If you are under radar verctors, most of the time it follows more or less a pattern. If you do own navigation you will follow a STAR.
Just google the airport charts and you will see the procedures and at what altitude to intercept the ILS.

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I find airport charts difficult to understand…It would be great if someone here’s an expert in reading the airport chart for KEWR.

Upload the chart. I’ll try to explain

Is this the one?


Found the IFR chart for KEWR 04L, thanks to FlightAware. This looks more like an ILS chart (?)


I also struggle with Reading Approach charts. From this picture, I cant work out how to approach (either).

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I can only figure out that before reaching the ILS cone I have to be at 2800ft. That means I did it correctly.

And I still don’t what a STAR is. @Lars

I thought flightaware is only for tracking flights…

To answer your question, if your are landing on 4L and you are approaching from the north, you will enter left downwind from a distance. If you are approaching from the south, you just enter straight in runway 4L. Here is an example of SQ22’s arrival into KEWR using 4L:


You can also see that this pilot barely turned base. He kind of went from downwind to final.

Here in IF, will the approach controller ever vector you like a traffic pattern? (Downwind —> Base —> Final)

It really depends on the controller and what they have decided to do. Also to answer your question it looks like when your on a GPS or ILS for the 4s at KEWR they have you come straight in from around a 17-20mile final probaly due to KJFK traffic but KSFO it a good one to look at because they make 180° to line up with the localizer on about a 5mile distance from the runway

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A quick guide to planning your approach:

For every flight you should plan your approach, even if there is a controller, but more importantly if ther is not one!

In this example for landing at Newark I have googled KEWR CHARTS and found the jeppsen charts which whilst not to be used for real life are suitable for us on IF.

Approach is handled in at least two stages. First of all you have you STAR,which directs you in a safe route to the airport and then you have either the GPS or ILS approach for the final stage. All these charts are on this link.

Coming in from the North I have selected the HELON ONE ARRIVAL chart.

From the north there are at least 3 possible VOR ( the circles) waypoints that you “enter the STAR”. These are GENESEO, SYRACUS or ALBANY. once you enter the star they act as a pathway or channel which all aircraft follow ( the chart shows the course, heights and speeds that should be followed) as the aircraft follow the routing down to the last waypoint which is SPARTA. On some arrival charts this will link in direct with ILS or GPS approach chart, however in this case see the note that says “expect radar vectors to final” so IRL ATC would direct traffic around. Without ATC you would have to self vector to bring you around for the final approach.

This final chart shows you your final course and heights as well as your decision height (600ft) as well as go around procedures and holding pattern if go around is used.

That’s real life…in IF you should plan you approach along simular grounds, however if there is ATC then expect a slight deviation as ATC do not follow same procedures all the time. Important point here is to look ahead on your map page and see how Apr ATC is routing the planes ahead of you and expect a simular course.

Hope this helps and happy landings!


Thanks for the charts, I was curious whether aircrafts in general do 90 degree turns at low altitude like 3000ft and below. Is there such a thing called “sharp turn” when flying a commercial jet just like driving?

Yes it can be done, however the faster the fly, the more space you need to do the turn.

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Often an Approach controller in IF, will guide the inbound aircrafts so that at some point they end up on the downwind leg. This happens especially when it’s busy, cause it helps to sequence them nicely. From the downwind leg, most aircrafts will receive a straight 90 turn-vector, to bring them to base. It may be, depending on how far the downleg is away from the center of the airport, that the base turn is done in two vectors, the first one to bring you closer to the airport and the second to complete the turn to base. Then, the typical procedure is vector the pilot to make another 60 degree turn, which should bring him on the typical 30 degree intercept with the ILS.

As you can image, the above can vary a lot, depending on terrain, amount if traffic and the direction where traffic is coming from. And then there’s the Approach plate procedures of course. I am unclear how many Radar Controllers use these in IF. I know that some use them in mountain areas, where the Approach info can help us guide the aircraft.


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