I live in Egmond aan Zee which is about 36 km flight distance from Schiphol. It seems that aircraft fly over Egmond when there is a southerly wind so they can make a landing approach to Polderbaan runway.

Where can I find the minimum allowed altitude when flying over Egmond?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ By the way, do you mean southerly winds? When winds are from the North, planes would not land on 18R, but instead depart on 36L and possibly overfly Egmond while climbing. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Jul 23 '19 at 8:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I think you are correct-thankyou. $\endgroup$
    – Anthony
    Jul 23 '19 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable: And land on 36L, as well, for the same reasons. $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Aug 8 '19 at 0:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Sean, runway 36L is only used for takeoff and 18R only used for landing because the Polderbaan is so far away as it is and the far end (which does not even have taxi ways to it) would be even farther away. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Aug 8 '19 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ The answers are all explaining at what altitude the planes should be based on the approach procedures. But be aware that the law is less restrictive: To be legal they must be 1000ft above the highest obstacle in built-up areas (which Egmond is), except for take-off and landing, then there is no minimum altitude. So it's not illegal to be at for example 1500ft over Egmond, just uncommon. $\endgroup$
    – Tomas
    Jul 11 '21 at 15:57

Approaches into Schiphol are usually vectored by ATC during the day (see below for night operations). This means the controllers are giving instructions to pilots depending on the current traffic, which makes it hard to say when exactly planes will overfly Egmond aan Zee.

If the Polderbaan (runway 18R/36L) is used for landing from the North (18R), planes will be vectored to the PEVOS waypoint shown on the following chart (source: Jeppesen): EHAM ILS 18R At this waypoint, the aircraft should be at an altitude of 2000 ft (about 600 m): EHAM ILS 18R Altitudes I marked the approximate position of Egmond aan Zee on the map. There is no given minimum altitude there, so planes could already be at 2000ft, but they are likely still higher (3000 to 4000 ft) see below for update.

During night operations, Schiphol is a lot stricter about where planes can fly and how they can descent. The following night approach chart shows how planes will fly if they land on 18R: EHAM ILS 18R Night Egmond aan Zee is between EH602 (where planes will be at FL70 or about 2100 m) and EH607, which is on a dashed line indicating a continuous descent path, where planes must fly at idle thrust from FL55 at NIRSI down to the ILS intercept altitude (2000 ft).

I just had a look at flightradar24.com and saw a KLM Boeing 737 flying quite close to Egmond: flightradar24 screenshot According to the ADS-B data, they were between 1800 and 2000 ft when flying just south of Egmond an Zee (I marked the point where they leveled off at 1800 ft). I assume this data is somewhat inaccurate since they should not descent below 2000 ft before intercepting the ILS. Other aircraft were also at similar altitudes around Egmond, so I assume overflights at 2000 ft are quite common.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ATC may be allowed to vectors flights below 2000ft, so intercepting the ILS at 1800ft seems entirely plausible $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '19 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @J.Hougaard That's interesting, I did not know that. MSA in that direction is 1700 ft, I guess they would not go below that... $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Jul 23 '19 at 14:28
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The MRVA (minimum radar vectoring altitude) can be lower than MSA, because the two things are defined differently. Where I work, I will regularly vector aircraft onto an ILS at 1500ft (which is the MRVA in that sector), even though the published ILS procedure begins at 2000ft and the MSA in that area is 2300ft. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '19 at 15:26

During normal daytime operations aircraft are passing over the southern edge of Egmond aan Zee at 2000 ft (600m) altitude. They maintain 2000 ft until estabilshed on the ILS to runway 18R (or 18C). The aircraft come from the south (e.g. Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium) or west (UK, Ireland, Iceland, transatlantic) and descent to 2000 ft over the north sea.

Aircraft turning onto final approach for 18R or 18C arriving from the east (rest of europe, asia, middle east, etc) are kept at 3000 ft. This way vertical separation is assured, even when aircraft overshoot their turn and get horizontally close to the traffic from the other side.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.