43 votes
Accepted

Why don't flights fly towards their landing approach path sooner?

In general, IFR flights through controlled airspace use airways (highways in the sky) to fly between waypoints. The particular flight you show looks like it arrived via the N774 airway to a waypoint ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
36 votes
Accepted

What does "Independent visual approach" mean, at airports with parallel runways?

Consider an airport with only one runway. In order to keep aircraft safely apart (and to give them time to exit the runway), all aircraft must be separated by some distance as they are on final ...
randomhead's user avatar
  • 15.2k
34 votes

Should you blow through the final approach course if the ATC forgot about you?

Yes, blow right through it. You should never deviate from a clearance to "take a beating" later simply because you think you know better than the controller. If the controller is busy it is for a ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.1k
33 votes
Accepted

Do Air Traffic Controllers have to remember stall speeds for different aircraft?

No because aircraft are categorized by their speed at the runway threshold (1.3 times stall speed). VAT —Speed at threshold used by ICAO (1.3 times stall speed in the landing configuration at maximum ...
mins's user avatar
  • 73.2k
32 votes

Do any airports have a steeper standard approach than London City?

I found the RNAV approach to Steamboat Springs at 7.75°
Pilothead's user avatar
  • 20.1k
27 votes
Accepted

How should I establish initial contact with ATC after being handed off by another controller?

In your situation: Oakland Center, Aircraft Identification, Altitude For example: Oakland Center, Cessna 123AB, Level four thousand fife hundred. See Aeronautical Information Manual, 5-3-1: ARTCC ...
Greg Bacon's user avatar
  • 5,710
26 votes

Why can't wing-mounted spoilers be used to steepen approaches?

They can. The Airbus A318 and Embraer E190 both do this in steep approach mode. You can see spoilers extended in this video of a A318 landing and a similar approach in an E190 at London City Airport. ...
user71659's user avatar
  • 6,615
25 votes

Do any airports have a steeper standard approach than London City?

One of the steepest approaches within the CONUS is the LOC/DME approach to Aspen, CO, which has a final approach segment with a recommended approach glideslope of 6.59°.
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.7k
25 votes
Accepted

Is there a penalty for changing the approach procedure after accepting one?

There is no penalty per se, but visual approaches in particular have lower separation requirements, so having to switch you back to a non-visual approach may require ATC to make corrections (e.g. ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
24 votes

How do radio altimeter systems compensate for objects on the ground?

Objects on the ground are negligible because the radio altimeter is not designed nor used to such high precision. There are several uses of the radio altimeter. The first one is for timing the flare ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
23 votes

How should I establish initial contact with ATC after being handed off by another controller?

This depends on how you were instructed to change frequencies. There three main ways this can happen: Services Terminated ("dropped") Bugsmasher 12345, radar services terminated, squawk VFR and ...
voretaq7's user avatar
  • 68.4k
23 votes
Accepted

Did Kai Tak have a straight-in approach to runway 13 for higher-performance aircraft?

did Kai Tak have a straight-in approach to runway 13 for use by steep-approach-certified aircraft? During the 1990s I regularly flew the Hong Kong IGS approach in 747s. At that time, to the best of ...
Terry's user avatar
  • 39.1k
18 votes
Accepted

Why would a commercial flight make banked turns five minutes before landing / low altitude?

As denizhanedeer said, it was a circling approach. There is only one charted IFR approach to ESU. It comes in from the northwest and would line up for a straight-in approach to runway 16. Depending ...
TomMcW's user avatar
  • 28.5k
17 votes
Accepted

How do pilots estimate glideslope visually without PAPIs?

There's no instrument you need for a good approach angle in good weather, it's all done by eye. When you train as a pilot you develop a sight picture of what a good approach looks like, and you ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
16 votes

Why can't wing-mounted spoilers be used to steepen approaches?

The main issue is the need to manage the vertical sink rate of your 100000+ lb aluminum trash can and the risks of hard landings. Although they are often called speed brakes, the main effect of ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
16 votes
Accepted

Why can military aircraft descend below the DA / MDA during an instrument approach?

The most simple reason is the military has its own set of flight rules (AFI 11-202, OPNAVINST 3710.7U) that for many years duplicated many of the applicable FAR/AIM regulations. In addition, the ...
SSumner's user avatar
  • 5,364
15 votes

Why do aircraft leave the cruising altitude long before landing just to circle?

Airports can accept landing aircraft at a (mostly) fixed, constant rate. However, inbound aircraft arrive at different times and rates based on weather and other factors, regardless of the schedules. ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
14 votes

What makes the swooping noise when a jet flies overhead?

The effect you noticed is the result of the combination of Doppler effect and sound absorption. Sound absorption in a fluid is proportional to $exp(- \alpha \nu^2 x)$ where $\alpha$ is a ...
MariusMatutiae's user avatar
14 votes

Why don't flights fly towards their landing approach path sooner?

Most airports have approaches designed to be as straight-in as possible for the reasons you describe. Cases like this one in Sydney are in the minority (for major airports at least). This is the ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 14.3k
14 votes
Accepted

Reporting to ATC when losing visual to traffic?

The short answer is yes, if you have called traffic in sight then ATC has an expectation that you will be able to maintain sight and provide your own separation. You need to notify them if you are no ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.1k
13 votes

Is it always advisable for passengers to wear seat belts when a 747 is on final approach?

Yes, it is always advisable for passengers to wear the provided safety belts in all phases of flight. This is especially true for aircraft on takeoff, landing, in low level flight, or in any other ...
J W's user avatar
  • 16.6k
13 votes
Accepted

What counts as "runway in sight" when flying an IFR approach to minimums?

From FAR 91.175: (3) Except for a Category II or Category III approach where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by the Administrator, at least one of the following visual ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.5k
13 votes
Accepted

How do pilots manage the speed during the approach?

The Boeing chart you reference appears to use for the approach speed column the Vref speed of the aircraft at its max landing weight in the landing configuration. This is the speed you want to be at ...
Terry's user avatar
  • 39.1k
13 votes
Accepted

Why does a steeper approach cause an increased landing rollout?

I'll just formalize my comment here as an answer: Landing is all about managing the aircraft's energy. When you are coming in for a landing with a steep approach it usually means that you will have ...
Sebo's user avatar
  • 304
13 votes
Accepted

Why would the Speedbrake be required for such a long time on approach?

There are two reasons I can think of off the bat: Its possible the controller asked them to hold a slow speed due to increased traffic ahead. The brakes may have been deployed to match the speed ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
13 votes

Is there a penalty for changing the approach procedure after accepting one?

It's no problem, just tell Approach you have the airport in sight & request the visual. They'll give it to you almost always. A visual approach is generally a little less restrictive for the ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.5k
13 votes

What, exactly, is a final controller?

"Final" or "Final vector" is the position in charge of, well, final approach. It is a radar control position worked in the TRACON. As aircraft are transferred from the ARTCC to the ...
randomhead's user avatar
  • 15.2k

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