When do you guys start descent?

I’ve seen the rule of 3 being thrown around, where a pilot at 30,000 feet would start descending 90nm from its destination.

My question is, at that rate of descent, what is a good VS to put in?

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120-140 nm away at -2200 to -2500 fpm. 👍



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90nm is too late, from FL300 you’ll need to descent at 135nm, -2700fpm


Don’t forget that you aren’t setting your descent for your arrival airport waypoint. There’s nothing wrong with pulling up a chart and set your descent to hit certain altitudes found on charts and there’s nothing wrong with leveling off especially when in a heavy aircraft. The “rule of thumb” descent suggestions, recommendations and guides aren’t always one size fits all. This depends on terrain, busyness of the airspace and whether or not the airport is controlled.

I’d say most descents begin within 160-200nm of the airport especially if the airport is busy. Descending at -3000 FPM isn’t ideal either.

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That looks way too early

I’ll usually descend to FL120 or 110 (dependent on even/odd headings) at around 70nm then follow IFATC instructions. If ATC ain’t around I’ll simply step descend from 55nm.

160-140NM @ 1800FPM. Sometimes the STAR chart can guide you down if you pay close enough attention to them.

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100-60nm depends how fast and high I’m flying.

Thats what i always use. Found it to be the most effective

If you use STAR charts, they help. I’ll normally descend at about 130nm out. If an approach controller is active, try to be at or below FL180 in between 60-75 nm away from the airport to call in.

100nm, if you’re descending from FL400 I think you’ll need to go at 3200 or more fpm.

I do 120NM at FL300 with a VS of -1400 at M0.75 which translates to roughly 280kts when you dip below FL280. That’ll get you down around your destination but you need to check your rate on the way down since it varies with ground speed.

It really is situational like @Levet said that “This depends on terrain, the busyness of the airspace and wether or not the airport is contolled”

I mostly fly heavy aircraft at M0.84+ so my descend needs to be earlier and deeper.

Anything that doesn’t account for ground speed is a rough approximation. 135 nm, 90 nm, these mean nothing if you don’t know whether there’s a 50 knot tailwind or a 50 knot headwind.

I typically slow down to about 240 knots, and then use a vs of -2000 to -2500. Hope this helps 🤗

I fly almost exclusively at FL350. I descend usually at 90nm more or less and idle the engines, set SPD to 200kts so I won’t come down like a meteor. At 40nm - 30nm I’m at FL200 - FL150 good for approach IFATC to tag me.

Have a quick search of descent and you’ll see some great topics in the forum.

This thread is getting derailed by some mixed advice. Our #tutorials section has great topics with trusted information and guidance.


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