Non-precision approach?

I have been flying IF for several weeks now. Most of my flying has been with the 172 and the Citation X. My problem is landing at airports without an ILS approach. If I fly a cross country flight and try to land at another airport it is almost impossible to locate the runway in time for a decent landing especially in the Citation. By the time I can see the runway I am either too high or not aligned with the runway which means having to bank steeply or dive at the runway usually ending in a crash. I have tried the HUD view, the cockpit view, zooming in, zooming out and nothing really helps locating the runway in time. I was wondering if someone could describe the best method to land at these airports?

Make sure to look on your map and try as best you can to make sure you are below 3000 ft by the time you enter the red or gray triangle in front of each runway on the map. It’s really useful if you were to not have an Ils so plan your flight before you do it. When you do enter straight in aim that little circle thing on the screen so that it faces the beginning of the runway and flare once you reach it.
Best of Luck

You really need a spatial awareness when flying that is bigger than what you can see from the cockpit’s windows. Use the map often, both mini-map and flight plan map. Get familiar with what altitudes you should be at and at what distances (also depends on the aircraft).

You can use the red ILS guides (on the maps) at larger airports. I think they are generally 10-12 miles long. Enter from the far end and if you’re at about 3000 ft you’re on a pretty good glideslope into touchdown. Set the throttle and configure the plane for landing - keep it steady making minor corrections. Go around if you botch it (but before you consummate the botch) - tell the controller or Unicom if you’re in the process of going around.

You can do this as well. All those little white triangles with odd names on he map are designated waypoints that exist on aeronautical charts. Contollers often have pilots fly from one to another. It helps everyone know where everyone is going to be. Make a flight plan using them to: depart an airport (helps avoid terrain at night) fly enroute, begin your descent, set up for the ILS gate, and come in for landing.

If you employ these techniques, you be able to find the runway in the dark and approach at the right altitudes. Happy flying!

Some really good thoughts here. I think everyone struggles with this at first. I did, anyway. First you start with the landing aids (turns those on if they’re helpful to you), then use the ILS, then nothing. Here are some notes from my head that will look familiar based on the ones already provided above (these are in layman’s terms since I’m not a pilot):

  • Definitely use waypoints to map out your approach. You can then make sure the “bearing to…” indicator is turned on in your toolbar. This will help guide you to the next waypoint and help you line up. You can usually (but not always) mark waypoints all the way to the threshold.
  • Find a speed that let’s you descend at between 700 and 1000 feet per minute at full flaps, without the nose pointing down or too far up. If you’re in the citation, I think this speed will be around 120 kts IAS.
  • When you enter the grey triangle (since you’ve asked about non-ILS approaches), make sure you’re at or just below 3000 feet above the runway - hint: use the map and tap the airport marker to find out the altitude of the airport - it might not be 0 ft! So, if the runway is at 500 ft, you’ll want to start your approach at 3500 ft

Remember, try to maintain level flight, using your throttle to control your altitude.

After you nail the correct speed and VS for your approach, you can use autopilot to help you out. After a while of doing that, you’ll know exactly how to hold your device so that when you disengage the AP, your airplane will stay steady (as opposed to pitching up or down violently).

The rest just takes tons of practice. It took me months of solo mode (back when live didn’t exist) of just starting the sim on “Approach” mode to practice landings. After a while, you’ll start to know how it should “look” as you come in for a landing and the mechanics will become second nature, which I would assume is just like real life flying.

Best of luck! Practice, practice, practice!

Do you have “Airport Names” enabled in your settings?
You need to use waypoints for your headings and distances.
Once you get use to using the waypoints, you will be able to disable all your flight aids.

Thanks, some very good advice. The bearing to indicator should help a great deal. I am a pilot and learning to fly the sim takes nearly as long as learning to fly the real thing. I do think IF is an excellent way to keep your skills sharp.

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