What to say when inbound for landing

Hope everyone is staying well and healthy.

With the increase of pilots on the expert server, there has also been an increase of pilots calling inbound improperly. I will teach you what to say and when.


Inbound for Landing:
Use this when you’re inbound on your own navigation (without approach frequency), or you were just handed from approach to tower after initially requesting Radar Vectors. You must follow any instruction ATC gives you. Example:

Fort Lauderdale Tower, Southwest 1523 is 20 Nautical Miles to the Northeast at 7,000 feet, inbound for landing

Southwest 1523, enter left downwind runway 10L


Inbound on the ILS:
Use this only when Approach has cleared you for the ILS approach for a specific runway. Example:

Southwest 1523, descend and maintain 3000, maintain 3000 until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 10L approach

(after you acknowledge and approach sends you to tower frequency: )

Fort Lauderdale Tower, Southwest 1523, inbound on the ILS, runway 10L

Southwest 1523, number 1, runway 10L, cleared to land


Inbound on the Visual:
Use this when Approach has cleared you for the visual approach to the runway. Example:

Southwest 1523, cleared visual approach runway 10L.

(after you acknowledge and approach sends you to tower frequency: )

Fort Lauderdale Tower, Southwest 1523, inbound on the visual, runway 10L

Southwest 1523, number 2, traffic to follow is on final
Southwest 1523, number 2, runway 10L, cleared to land

Here’s a neat chart made by @azeeuwnl (disregard the GPS part) :
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One thing to add:
If you were just on approach and were cleared to switch to tower, you do not need to tune in to the ATIS for that airport. Doing so only wastes time, and may induce conflict if ATC needs to communicate with you.

Lastly, if approach clears you for the approach to a runway, please do NOT use “inbound for landing”, use “inbound on the ILS” (or visual, whatever approach you were cleared for) as it makes it much easier for us IFATC! This is something that has been really common lately.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of what commands to use and when to use them. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Very well stated Rocco!

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Thank you Rocco. I see these errors a bunch. It’s a good refresher. Well done. 👏🏻

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I have never used inbound on the ILS or Inbound on the Visual even after clearance from approach. I just use Inbound for Landing all the time and the tower gives me pattern/clearance instructions. Is that fine too?

After approach clears you for the approach, you need to call into tower with the approach you were cleared for. If you’re cleared for ILS, don’t say inbound for landing, say inbound on the ILS.

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Yeah we won’t ghost you for it but it helps us know what clearance you were given so we don’t have to look back at your tag to see what you were cleared for so we can give you the proper procedures needed. Rocco explained how it worked really well. :)

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Also wanted to add on, please don’t say “xx is on final” as your landing request. That is meant to be a position report when you’re in the pattern.

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Nice! Hopefully this will keep people in check!

Thanks for the refresher Rocco!

This certainly helps us as controllers and streamlines everything. I couldn’t say how thankful I am for all the pilots out there that currently do this!

Thank you! This is definitely needed! Also adding when no approach is available, you can still request a specific runway to tower, if for example there are two runways in use but inly one has ILS, and you want an ILS approach. When you call inbound to tower then it would be “Fort Lauderdale Tower, Southwest 1523 is 20 Nautical Miles to the Northeast at 7,000 feet, inbound for landing, requesting runway X”

Very nice! This will help a bunch of people

Thank you for posting this. Definitely needed!

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Agreed! Just giving a friendly reminder to pilots.

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