Understanding Approach Frequency

Hi, my name is Ben and I’m going to tell the pilots and IFATC about how the approach frequency works. My friend used to work at DFW Approach which is in a Class B Airspace. My friend says you only give vectors on approach frequency on the planes that are coming in to land, not to depart. In IF, ATC uses approach and departure on the Approach Frequency. IFATC, just open departure. Please make this still realistic!

1 Like

Mhh not sure about your teoria…

The radar controllers usually don’t open departure, unless their is a high amount of traffic. At smaller airports in real life, like KMLI, some have approach and departure on the same frequency.

1 Like

I’ve never seen approach act as departure before.

There are already many tutorials about the Approach Frequency :)

There are many more, you can search them in the #tutorials category

It depends how much traffic the approach controller has. For example, if they have two or three planes on their frequency and want departures they’ll let tower know. Then, after you takeoff the tower controller will tell you to contact approach, and you’d tell approach your intentions.

1 Like

As Jay mentioned, some airports will ultilize one frequency for both approach and departure. My own airport uses that setup, as we have nowhere the amount of traffic found in large Bravos like DFW. Those kind of airports will have round the clock approach and departure for such high traffic volumes.

Please be sure to check your facts first before making statements like that. Most likely your friend was referring to his own airport. :)


Have you been a real Air Traffic Controller in a Class B Airspace in real
life? I don’t think so.

This isn’t real life and my airport also utilises approach and departure on the same frequency

Yes,just to know,there are many B airport with not much traffic and they have only TOWER,APPROACH and ATIS.

In Portland on Expert, Approach was acting like a departure

We do often,i was in tower in Portland and if the appr is not busy generally want departure to organise well our airspace.

And tell me this- did Portland have 30+ flights inbound like it does in real life? There were 20 planes in the whole region, ten of which were inbound there. The load was capable of being handled easily.

Remember, our traffic levels fluctuate, as compared in real life. You can pinpoint how many are schedulued to fly into DFW for the next few months, while here, people just show up as they please.


Josh, you don’t believe my friend was an ATC at DFW?

We have plenty of real world controllers and pilots in the team, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. What you’re doing is taking your friend’s words and blowing them out of proportion for a very specific airport and a very specific scenario.

Air traffic control has so many clauses, rules, and situations to consider. That’s why it takes quite a while to qualify for your rating (6+ months - 3+ years, depending on airport).

Take some time and think about it. GKK, FWA, MLI, and many others have a general director. Feel free to go on Airnav and do some research. :)


Well for one most approach control centers are nor at the airport. Potomac approach, for example, is located in a separate building off airport grounds

I have been in JFK Tower

So how does approach work?


Again, JFK tower just clears airplanes in their airspace, dosnt clear them for approach.

I was coming here because I was very intrigued by the topic title and wanted to learn how approach worked. I click and just see some stupid post that is pretty much useless. Please correct this.