Pilot tip - be wise about your approach and landing speed

Pilots, check your radar screen, and observe the speed of aircrafts in front of you and behind you. And adjust your speed accordingly.

This is particularly important when on Tower frequency, because the ability to control aircraft speedy for Tower is limited.

Speeds tips before landing:

  1. You have the entire 11 NM on final to slow your aircraft down to its landing speed. An aircraft with a landing speed of 135 kts, can easily enter the ILS cone on 210 kts. You’ll be amazed how quickly you slow down, when you drop your landing gear.
  2. When on base and final, observe the speed (= ground speed) of the aircraft in front of you, and adjust your speed to maintain a healthy distance (3 or 4 NM) behind him.

Below is a screenshot to demonstrate what I’m trying to get across.

In the picture below, two things are wrong.

  • A2Z is doing 139 kts which at that point is way too slow.
  • Swiss 4376 is not flying a speed that can keep him behind the aircraft in front of him (he did slow down later, as requested, thank you).

These are just two examples, where Tower ATC needs to issue speed instructions, while really the pilot should be able to see if he needs to speed up, or slow down.

Again, keep an eye on that radar screen and be wise about your speed.

Happy landings!


Well said!
Thanks for this Anton:)

Good tip!
When using APPR mode, recommended speed for ILS intercept is around 180 kts indicated.


Better be slow than sorry 😬 I think I’ll still be very slow on the 11nm final, that’s what I’m used to doing 🤷🏼‍♂️ I’ll try change that…

It’s crazy how often you can find yourself using the speed commands during a session.

I will approach at 200 Kn IAS and then slow to 150-160 for landing. I’ll do 200 then 150 in the Alitalia A321

180 on intercept is probably more typical, but the other part of the equation is what everyone seems to think are appropriate downwind and base speeds. Hint, they’re not 249 KIAS.


Holding speed is 220kts below 14,000ft. Most international airspaces have a 250 below 10,000’ rule as well.

It’s extremely rare to be sped up after holding so, in very busy airspace, you can expect to be vectored to the ILS at 220kts in the TMA.

Smaller airfields will allow 250kts to the intercept however most pilots of big jets will want to intercept at approx 10nm from touchdown, 3000ft at 180kts and Flap 5 Boeing or Flap 1 Airbus.

Slow down to 160kts at about 7nm and final approach speed at 4nm.

Works well in a heavy and you might need the gear earlier than 2000’ to get the decel in. Especially with a tailwind.


Since I’ve been on Expert Server I’ve been using this tip. It’s been applied to in group flights as well.
When landing at big airports with 3 rings around it I use each ring as a marker…
Outer ring speed is 200kts
Middle ring is 180kts
Inner ring is 160kts/final approach speed and manual flight controls.
I usually fly the approach completely by hand but have the auto throttle control the speed till around 1000ft AGL.

Thanks for highlighting this tip. I hope many others will use it like I have.

That’s me… I usually intercept at 200-210…some reason I was rush to put flap 20 early then usual… I can’t remember I might needed drag…anyways I did 170-180…the app asked me to speed up…I looked at ground speed it did say in that range 140. Yeh then I speeded up, thanks to the controller, that guy behind came at 15000ft he already done 1 360turn, :D

I usually intercept about 180-200 and hold 180 all the way until about 5nm out, reduce to final appr speed and get ready to put the pup down

I just checked flight radar 24, same airport, same aircrafts. Those are doing near to my speed from 10nm…maybe it’s the elevation, wind speed?!? Sorry I am not good with maths

That’s showing the ground speed which is, obviously, the indicated airspeed minus the wind component.

So if they are doing an indicated air speed of 180kts at 4000’ with a ground speed of 146kts then they have a 34kt headwind component.

The ground speed will help you fly the 3 degree slope. So 146kts will give you a descent V/S of 730ft per minute to maintain a 3 degree slope.

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So when you take ground speed alone into consideration without wind speed it looks too slow right?

Generally the wind speed increases as you climb up toward the jet streams.

At lower levels the wind can be considerable even at levels below 10,000ft when the surface wind is pretty calm. Hence your ground speed will seem to increase toward your indicated airspeed as the headwinds decrease.

In reality you fly all of your performance on indicated airspeed as that is what is actually flowing across the wing. The more windy the day the earlier the turn off you can make but the flap selection and approach speeds are always done on the ASI!

Hope that helps.


Are you pilot/instructor by any chance? You explain things in excellent way. Thanks

Yes and yes, and thank you.


Wow! That was pure guess, good stuff.👍

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