Radar Vectors or GPS Approach

Hello everyone, my question is: when do u use GPS APPROACH and when REQUEST VECTORS and if u have to use one of them why not the other one than??

What? This doesn’t make sense. Are you asking what the difference between the two is?

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His title isn’t clear at all

It should be cleaned up ;)

If you request a gps/ils approach then the controller will vector you until a 30degree or less intercept. When you request radar vectors a controller may hand you to the tower/Unicom while on base. When dealing with a departure frequency just request radar vectors to your destination, if you want them. This is because controllers can only give ils/gps approaches to certain airports.


He’s basically saying:

  1. When is the right time to request GPS/ILS Approach and when to request Radar Vectors
  2. Should one be used over the other?
  3. If the answer to 2 is yes, explain in which situation to use which

@Tish Yes, thats what i mean, THANK YOU! 😂

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@Dhops No offence, but i still don’t know which one i have to use when i’m inbound on the GPS (but thanks for the information 😁)

if you are inbound on the GPS you should request a GPS to the approach controller.

Radar vectors are to put you into the pattern of the airport, then you will do a VFR pattern and land.

A GPS approach basically gives you glide slope and heading, but doesn’t keep terrain in mind. You should request this maybe at 13,000 feet for a long flight and lets say, 60nm out.

A ILS Approach also gives you glide slope and heading as well as taking into consideration terrain.

Also, not all airports have ILS approaches. For example KLAX has 8 ILS approaches (24L, 24R. 25R, 25L, 6R, 6L, 7R, 7L). BUT KNUX has a GPS approach for runways 24 and 06.

Overall summary: Request a GPS approach if the airport has one (white “cone” that sticks out from the runway on your map) or a ILS approach (red “cone” that sticks out from the runway on your map) when you are maybe 60 nm out 50 could even work. Also note that you must be in the coverage area. For example, KSAN Approach covers KSAN, KSDM, KSEE, KMYF, and KNKX. Here is a helpful picture:

Here is a example of a ILS approach:

Here is a GPS approach:

Hope my essay helps! Also check out this link: https://community.infiniteflight.com/t/flight-following-radar-vectors-ils-approach-check-in-what-are-the-differences.



I’m really sorry, but i only have one more question: can you pls give me an example of when or in what kind of situation i would use RADAR VECTORS.
(Btw thank you very much OJFam!)

  1. when departing an airport and handed over to a radar frequency you can request radar vectors to your destination

  2. if you are flying a non-commercial airliner and your destination airport has an active approach frequency you can request radar vectors. You may request it also if flying a commercial airliner but it is just not very realistic.

Approach controller may deny RV if the destination airport is operating under instrument approach only due to weather.


@MannyG thank you 😉, see you out there!!!

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You mean RWY 27. But nice explanation👍

3rd EDIT: That is correct.

You was talking about San Clemente though.

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I can’t even. Post is so long that I got mixed up. Let’s just get back on topic.

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