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How do real world airline pilots land?

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If there are any real world airline pilots reading this can you please tell me what landing techniques you use? Do you land using ILS landing systems or do you use RNAV or VOR or even manually? Answers would be appreciated.

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“With flair!” :Tounge:

Seriously though your question doesn’t make sense because you’ve listed a series of approach types. As far as the approach type it depends on the weather and facilities available. I think you’ll find if the conditions exist a visual is the preferred method. If there’s an ILS available it’s usually tuned as a way to validate the correct runway and glide path.


Brian W


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When I was flying a Phenom 100, I preferred backing approaches up with an LPV; I found the needles easier to fly than ILS. In airline training, we were taught to back the approach up with whatever you had...ILS, VOR, DME, anything to help. However, we also trained to complete visuals with PAPI inop; holding something at one point in the windshield is about as simple and reliable as it gets.

Joe Sherrill

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Even when it is a visual approach, we always plug in some sort of approach into the MCDU.  Usually (90% of the time) it will be an ILS.  If there is no ILS, I will usually plug in the RNAV (we aren't approved for LPV yet, so just LNAV/VNAV mins).  Exceptions are places like KDCA river visual 19 where you can use the VOR or LDA-Z.  On a clear day, I will sometimes turn off the FD and AP but we will always have either the ILS, RNAV, or another kind of approach plugged in for backup.

Russell Johnston

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The answer to your question all depends on timing, weather, availability of approaches and traffic flow/ATC preference. Normally at low density airports (traffic level), you get the visual or the approach of your preference weather permitting. For example, you haven't flown an RNAV in a while and would like to shoot one. Maybe you would like a circle. Normally before handoff to approach during vectoring, the current controller will give you the approach to expect. This is usually when I request the approach I prefer and the controller will pass it on to approach before handing me off. At medium to high density airports, you take what is given. The controllers at these airports will give you the approaches that works best for him/her and traffic flow. You don't make request with these controllers unless operationally required because 9 out of 10 you will be denied. Don't bother asking for the circle because ultimately it will be denied. In clear weather, you will get the visual and in weather you get the ILS. Every aircraft is at least capable of flying these approaches, so they are always given.


Looking back to pilot preference, you may opt for a visual to minimize vectoring to help with timing. Again, you may request something different for proficiency. For example, when empty and flying with new guys, I may request a full non precision with one turn in holding for training opportunity. I may even request a circle for practice. The thing with requests is that you have to choose them wisely and understand it will require effort by the controller to fit in your approach between arrivals. Most controllers don't mind because they don't mind the training opportunity for their new guys. Some SOPs may restrict guys to the most precise approach for the given runway at night or at unfamiliar fields. When tired at the end of a 10 to 12 hour flight, I prefer the ILS for simplicity. 


As stated before, you should all ways back up a visual/non precision approach with a precision for SA if available. This goes without saying.



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