Certain aircraft like the A318 are able to do steep approaches for landing. What are the limits (Angle of descent, airspeed, and the like) for this type of landing?

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    $\begingroup$ Most aircraft are capable of steep approaches. The pilot's proficiency, passenger needs, and company sop will usually be the primary limiting factors. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jan 8, 2016 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters Capable yes, certified no. There's a very big, very important difference there... $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Jan 11, 2016 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ It's not part of airworthiness - an aircraft can be airworthy without being certified to perform steep approaches. For example the EU (EASA) requires special certification in order to operate in/out of London City airport and other steep approaches. Also see of this document (and other sections of that document) for some information on FAA's take on it. I'm not sure whether they require the aircraft to be certified or not. faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC120-29A.pdf $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Jan 11, 2016 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Just something else to add to this: b737.org.uk/limitations.htm "Maximum and minimum glideslope angles are 3.25 degrees and 2.5 degrees respectively." Admittedly not a Boeing source, but tends to be a reliable site. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:25

1 Answer 1


This presentation gives the following limitations for A318 steep approaches:

  • Maximum authorised Flight Path Angle: -5.5°

  • MLW unchanged (57.5t)

  • FWD and AFT CG limits unchanged

  • Maximum altitude for landing: 2000ft

  • Tailwind limit for landing: 5Kt

  • Crosswind limit for landing: 26Kt gust included

  • AUTOLAND is not allowed

  • CATII and CATIII are not allowed

  • All engines operative only

  • $\begingroup$ The penultimate point is interesting, I hadn't realised it limited the aircraft to Cat I ILS $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Jan 11, 2016 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ So does CAT-I ILS has the facility of navigating the aircraft in a 5.5° glideslope, apart from the conventional 3°? $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2022 at 4:56

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