Does it ever happen that planes descending on a descent path (glide slope) block each other so that one (or more) plane is not visible from the tower (at the airport) or localizer? I want to know if that can cause technical issues. For example, how does a plane track a localizer if it's being blocked by the plane(s) in the front?

  • $\begingroup$ I think this question is too generic, the only answer to it must be "yes". So please be more specific. $\endgroup$ – Timothy Truckle Dec 12 '19 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @TimothyTruckle I just edited the question to make it less generic. $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Dec 12 '19 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ The localiser doesn't track the plane: the plane tracks the localiser. $\endgroup$ – CatchAsCatchCan Dec 12 '19 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ @CatchAsCatchCan Thank you. I just edited the question. What if a plane blocks another plane so that the localizer stays out of sight? $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Dec 12 '19 at 20:52

The 2nd plane's pilot should notice that he is not receiving the localizer on his instruments and break off the approach.

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  • $\begingroup$ Does this ever happen if both planes are on the same glide slope? $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Dec 12 '19 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ Not where approaches are actively controlled by ATC. Separation between planes is ensured. At uncontrolled airports where practice approaches may be initiated by pilots on VFR days, maybe it could happen. More commonly, something on the Gnd (like a truck, maybe a plane if it violates ground markings) blocks the localizer signal out to the planes. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Dec 12 '19 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Does the blocking usually happen near landing or at the cruising altitude? $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Dec 12 '19 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Teodorism The ILS is only used for the last few miles of the approach to land. An aircraft at cruising altitude is either operating under ATC instruction, or on its own navigation. Either way, it doesn't care about a localiser. $\endgroup$ – CatchAsCatchCan Dec 13 '19 at 1:08

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