Requesting landing

When you contact tower to clear you for landing, 3 options pop up: active, specific, and on the ILS. I almost always use specific. What does ‘on the ILS mean?’

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When you are cleared by an approach controller, if there happens to be one, for the ILS to a certain runway, you will report to tower that you are inbound on the ILS.


On the “ILS” means That you have intercepted the glide slope and localizer and are lined up on the ILS.


Actually @bobo2345 you are incorrect. You only call for an ILS when the active approach controller clears you for the ILS approach and hands you off to tower. Although yes the approach controller would have given you vectors to get on the glideslope and localizer and then cleared you.


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Yes but you would already intercepted the ILS when you switch to tower in MOST cases they would already have cleared you and told tower the cleared you.

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Marshall I’m sorry to say, but in MOST cases the glideslope and localizer have already been intercepted and you have already selected an ILS approach. If you’re a normal pilot (like me and British Airways pilots), you won’t call in “on the ILS” because you would turn off the autopilot and land it manually.

Active : You are announcing you are inbound. The Controller will give you a pattern entry, sequence for the runway of their choosing.

Specific : You ask for inbound on a specific runway. The controller will give you a pattern entry, sequence for the specific runway.

NOTE - Just because you ask for that runway doesn’t mean you will get it due to traffic patterns. If the controller gives you a clearance for a different runway, do not send another request asking again. The controller did it for a reason.

Inbound on the ILS : You are ON the ILS and/or handed over from approach with vectors to the ILS. The controller will simply clear you with a sequence. There is no need for a pattern entry unless the controller needs to change your runway (L vs R).

NOTE - Please do not ask for ILS clearance when on downwind or base.


So when the tower already give us this command “number 1 clear to land” from outside of the ILS cone, we don’t have to call “inbound on the ILS” again when the arcraft reach the ILS cone?

Nope. Once cleared, another transmission is unnecessary unless the controller needs to be notified of any change, may it be touch and goes, missed approach or go around.


I see,
thanks for the information. this clears up my confusion :)

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Yes you will only call “inbound on the ILS” when your localizer and Glideslope are lined up and you have been given Vectors to the ILS from approach. You would now simply just call tower and see Is inbound on the ILS Then unless some kind of change is need you will hear cleared for the ILS

Hope this helps

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I think you are confusing things here with your terminology. You can’t simultaneously still be on an intercept vector to the ILS and have your localiser and glideslope lined up. The fact you are still on an intercept vector means you have not established yourself on the ILS yet.

If you are on an intercept course then that’s what you are on until such point as you have then lined up on the correct glideslope and localiser, and only at that point are you established on the ILS.

Yes sorry I flipped things in order meant to say: once you have been give Vectors from approach and you are lined up on the glideslope and localized.

Sorry for the confusion

Stop using the term lined up and start using the term intercept course, it will make more sense.

Lined up could mean on an intercept course (which is how you seem to be using it) or actually in line with localiser and glideslope (i.e. actually established). There is a reason that terminology of being “lined up” is not used in real life :)

Anyway, sorry for the diversion from the topic.

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