When to start descent?

Hey everyone! I had a question, it’s not urgent. But I would like to use a better way of knowing when to start decent. The way I use, is by looking at my altitude, and multiplying it by 2, then dividing by 1000, which gets me my time to start decent. But I’m sure there is a more consistent way to get the time to start decent. Does anyone have a suggestion?

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With STARs available for use, you don’t have to calculate your ToD at all. Turn on VNAV, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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Yeah you can also use VNAV, it calculates your ROD and TOD and will begin descending at the appropriate time as long as you have an altitude put into a waypoint in your flight plan. It’s most useful when descending via a STAR.

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What you said lol

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Hello! The method that Thunderbolt has mentioned is the easiest and most efficient way to start your descent. However, if you’d like to actually calculate it and descend manually, I will link this helpful tutorial below.


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Yea as everyone said above, use VNAV which helps decent to your fix you set it to. But when starting the VNAV decent you have to keep watch on your speed because it won’t adjust your speed for you.

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I start mine when I hit 200nm till destination, then usually set -1200fpm down to 4,000 and slow down along the way.

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I always use what Thunderbolt said though sometimes i change the alitudes due to it being funky like IST appr.

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I usually start descent about 60 nautical miles out when I’m in a large jet.

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Hey to add to what has been said, you can use this website by one of our community moderators: IF Flightplan Tools | Flight Status (if-flightplan-tools.vercel.app).

after finding your flight it will show you everything you need

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My way of calculating when to decent is quite simplistic, but it has worked for me since I started Infinite Flight, and it goes:

When the ETE hits the same value as my cruising alt (ex: ETE is 38 Minutes and Im at FL380) I give it two mins, then I set my altitude to FL280 at a V/S of -1800FPM, then I wait until I hit my target altitude, then I continue this cycle until final and thats when I disengage the A/P

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Also, I think the 3 to 1 idea is pretty good. 1000ft for every 3 miles

You can only press the VNAV botton just after the ascending finished

I applaud what you are doing…Me, I use the STAR/Approach and VNAV since it has been provided… (it will start the descent for you at the appropriate rate) and get me to the start of the airport “cone”. Then if it is GPS or ILS I manually fly the landing.

Thank you everyone! This is great advice, I will be using the STAR altitude and VNAV for most descents, but I will use the calculation method as well. See you in the sky!!!

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I wouldn’t use the SID/STAR method. It’s much too early and less efficient and climate friendly. Just divide your altitude with 3 and you’ll get the TOD for a 3 degrees descend. If you want to descent 4 degrees divide your altitude with 4 and so on. I usually take a 3 degree descend.

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