When to expect handoff from approach to tower. Need help

Hey guys, looking for some atc help or… direct me to an existing thread.

I think I’ve beenever too impatient waiting for approach to hand me off to tower. Should it be as close to the airport as the ILS cone? Seems like that’s way to late.

Also… when contacting approach… do I need permission to start decent or… is thathere implied? In a a321… the decent from FL35 could be 60nm out. Do I really need to request alt 2000ft for LAX?

I have been reading posts by haven’t found a concise one just yet. Or… I’m just being impatient again. I’m not a patient person and… the rules were concrete flying 172’s I’LL ;-)

Thanks guys. I’m just getting back into flying now that I replaced my 4 yr old Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab with smoking fast galaxy s2 9.7. The processor speed is amazing. All setting on high and… it’s beautiful and no lag…ever. it’s making Live lot of fun.


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Then be patient haha! Normally once you’re aligned with the runway and nearing the ILS glideslope, a handoff should happen…

There is plenty of time from the moment you intercept the ILS cone to the moment you touch down on the runway. The distance is 10nm. If you are travelling at a constant 200knts/hr, it would take 3 mins for you to travel 10nm. In reality, you would be progressively slowing down to say around 120-140knts by the time you touch down. So that’s plenty of time for you to communicate with tower for landing clearance etc.

With regards to permission to start descend, I am assuming you mean FL350 and 60nm out. You don’t need permission to start your descend from FL350 because that’s not even approach frequency controlled airspace. If you really meant FL35, as in 3500ft, yes you need permission to descend to 2000ft. However, standard intercept is 3000ft for LAX, so you really don’t need to descend to 2000ft.


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I’m controlling on Playground solely, but I usually clear them once they are established on the ILS/GPS cone.

Once he is on the localizer (aligned to the runway).

Lol… ok…thanks. I did try that last night but, The LAX tower controller sounded pretty slammed and rattled. That and… socal approach and LAX ground kept disappearing and popping back up so… that didn’t help. I think they were logging in and off as controllers I guess.

In real life, flying general aviation, you’re talking to the tower around the same distance…10 NM but… you’re also doing 80kts or less ;-)…So…yea :-). Things happen a lot faster at 175kts huh.

Thanks for the help!

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Yes…FL350. That helps. When I fly Cessnas… never got much above 10ft and not instrument rated so… talking to center and tower was most common. No approach at DVT and… certainly no vectoring.

Thanks for the help

Interesting… The last couple times I was working with socal approach, I requested approach to LAX around 50nm out at FL180 (just a short hop from KPSP). I got a continue corse and heading and about a minute later anext expect radar vectoring and that was it. So… around 35nm out… I got concerned since I needed to defend and was 25nm out from ILS cone. 15-16k ft is a pretty big drop in a short amount of time ;-).
So… I tried requesting radat vectoring and no reply. The controller was only talking to two other pilots and wasn’t doing much for them.
At 15mn out I started a right 2min turn and asked for approach again and nothing so… switched to tower.
I’ve been told expect radar vectoring like 4-5 times and… never get anything after that so… gets me wondering what I’m doing wrong or… just getting flaky controllers ;-). I hope the later isn’t the case. :-)
When I can fly (because I work a lot of of hours) Socal is usually the one with most atc. Tower, approach and even center some times but… it’s always so bust because… it has the most atc ;-). So… any and all advicell is very welcomed and appreciated.


Max Sez: Pilots; Unstable, Uncomfortable, Unsure, Ect at the interception of the Localizer on an ILS approach or VFR Approach, even on short Final “Go Around” or “Go Missed”. Your airmanship and best judgement as the PIC
are key to a happy landing. Going Around or Missed has no stigma. It’s the correct procedure, practice these procedures at a remote field often.

At FL350 You need to start your decent about 130 nm from touch down not 60! Use the rule of 3 to work out your TOD. Ie FL/3 =TOD DTG. ( approx and is close enough for IF)

Finally had good controller last night… around 2200hrs Z… that gave me a good vector approach to San Diego. He did have to 360 me about 3nm from localized but… that was because of some Jeri not listening and causing trouble on the active runway. Didn’t notice who the controller was but… good on ya! It’s pretty cool when it worked like it should.
Headed to LAX after that and… not so good. Oh well.