Fly Away Simulation
SearchSearch 

How do you know which runway to land on?

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Hello all, I'm still pretty much an FS2004 novice. Can anyone explain to me how you know which runway to land on when instructed by ATC? Say when ATC says "you are cleared to land on runway 8R", how do you know which runway is which and how to approach it? (I know they say fly traffic pattern left or something but like I said I'm pretty inexperienced so I don't really get all that).

Anyways, thanks a lot in advance for any help clearing this up!

Pro Member First Officer
Mustangfreak First Officer

How do you know what ATC is saying?

I just try to land at the right airport lol.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Alex (Fire_Emblem_Master) Chief Captain

8R implies the runway is on heading of 80 degrees, and is the rightmost runway. If you look on the FS9 map, you can zoom in on the airport and it will display the names of all the runways.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

FEM

your sig

get a room dude Smile

Pro Member Chief Captain
Alex (Fire_Emblem_Master) Chief Captain

we WERE in a room good buddy....her living room, and that's all the farther it went, seriously

Pro Member Chief Captain
Tailhook Chief Captain

F_E_M take off your glasses - pretty ladies don't appreciate blemishes on their faces Twisted Evil

Pro Member Trainee
FHeselton Trainee

I know this may sound like a cop-out by giving the easy answer, but as a beginner, you should consider going through the flight training lessons provided in FS9.

I think you will find it very helpfull and, just like the real world, quite challenging.

Best of luck and welcome into the flightsim world.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

FHeselton wrote:

I know this may sound like a cop-out by giving the easy answer, but as a beginner, you should consider going through the flight training lessons provided in FS9.

I think you will find it very helpfull and, just like the real world, quite challenging.

Best of luck and welcome into the flightsim world.

I agree with this actually

I went through the basic lessons myself and it helped me a great deal in terms of getting about in basic aircraft..

I would still be lost with the heavies though - but I don't really have any interest in flying them so it doesn't bother me too much

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

I did the flight training but some of the lessons were still unclear. Fire_Emblam_Master, when you say that "8R" means a heading of 80 degress how do you know where 80 degrees is relative to your current position? I mean one pilot's 80 degrees might be another pilot's 150 degrees, depending on which direction they were coming from.

Thanks again in advance for any help clearing this up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

80 degrees is a reading based off the compass

360 degrees being North, 90 degrees being East etc etc

So, 80 degrees would be the same for everyone but relative to their position in relation to the air field..

So, if you are 10 miles south of an airfield and you are told to land on runway 8R

and you are told to enter the circuit on left you need to fly anti clockwise (so when you make turns on the circuit you are turning left)

So, I would fly a heading of 80 degrees to fly parallel to the run way..

when some distance past the runway I would make a left turn to head 350 degrees or something to come across the end of the runway.

then the opposite of 80 degrees to fly the downwind leg.. turn left again onto the base leg heading 160 or something eventually turning onto finals to land on the right hand runway that runs in a direction of 80 degrees.

Hope this helps and hope I got the degrees readins correct (off the top of my head so they may be wrong)

And also hope I have the principle of flying a circuit remembered correctly

Very Happy

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Ah yes I understand now. But say if you are 10 miles off and you headed for 80 degress, although you would be parallel to the runway, could you not be several miles away from it? Say if you were so far away from it you couldn't see it, what would you do then?

Also, say if you started very far left and headed for 80 degrees, would you not end up on the left hand side of the runway, in which case you wouldn't be able to turn left as instructed you would have to turn right?

Hope all this makes since, and thanks again for all your time answering me.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

its all about knowing where the airport is relative to your position and choosing the best route into the circuit you have been instructed to join

its a judgement call really, if you are told to enter left, as far as I know that means you are on a left turning circuit or anti clockwise.. right is the opposite.

So when you are told which runway to land on, you don't just head in that direction.. you head to the airport first, when you are in visual range join the circuit so that it gives you the best amount of time to get yourself ready for landing and into a good position... then spot which run way is on a heading of 80 degrees... if you are told 80 R the chances are there will be 2 runways, pick the one on the right and land Smile

Pro Member Trainee
FHeselton Trainee

I hope this helps... Sometimes we forget how difficult it was to understand the basic traffic pattern when we first started.

Traffic pattern
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search

In aviation, a traffic pattern is a standard path followed by aircraft when departing, landing or practicing landings and take-offs (touch-and-go landings).

The traffic pattern has five parts or legs. After takeoff, still on the runway heading, the aircraft is on the upwind leg (regardless of the actual wind direction). If the aircraft does not depart the pattern without turning (an upwind departure) it will make a 90 degree turn to the right or left following the crosswind leg of the pattern. The next leg follows another 90 degree turn to fly parallel to the runway in the opposite direction from take-off. This is the downwind leg. The next leg is 90 degrees to the runway where the aircraft has started its decent in preparation to land. This leg is called the base-leg. When the aircraft lines up with the runway to land it is on the final approach leg of the pattern.

This aircraft- or aerospace-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

Here is the web site that has a basic drawing of a typical landing/takeoff traffic pattern
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_pattern[/url]

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Okay thanks for the insight (please excuse the pun Laughing ).

So basically you head towards the airport using the coordinates on the NavLog on flight planner, right? Then once you see the airport, you figure out which one you've been told to land at and follow the traffic pattern for it. Seems to make sense.

Do you ALWAYS fly the traffic pattern or are there some cases where you just fly straight onto the runway that you are facing? Also, is this kind of approach only used for VFR? I can't see big commercial jets flying the traffic pattern, they just fly straight in right?

Thanks once again...

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

i think all the airports 'stack' inbound traffic into the pattern

but yeh, you got it - fly at the airport get your landing instructions and enter the pattern

if you're heading 80 degrees and the airport is 80 degrees and you are told to land on 80R.. line up acknowledge and as you come to enter if its clear you may get told to land right away.. would be lucky though Very Happy

Don Wood Guest

Regarding the question about whether all airports use traffic patterns (These comments apply only to the USA. Regulations may be different in other countries):

On airports with ATC (control tower) the controllers will instruct you on what kind of a VFR approach to fly. Most airports handle light and slow general avaiation aircraft differntly than they handle heavy or fast aircraft. On most airports, fast or heavy aircraft will be vectored so they can fly a long, straight-in approach to landing. They will be iniatially positioned on a course line leading to the runway anywhere from ten to fifty miles away and then will fly straight to the runway. At the same time, light aircraft will either be fed into that straight-in approach closer to the airport or will fly a traffic pattern, possibly to a different runway.

For instance, using your runway 80, you may receive instructions similar to "Cross mid-field at or above 1,000 feet, fly left traffic to runway 80, cleared to land". On your own navigation, you are then expected to fly to the airport, maintaining the designated altitude, cross the center of the airport on a course of 170 (the crosswind leg), turn to a course of 260 (the downwind leg), turn to a course of 350 (the base leg), and, finally, turn to a course of 080 (the final leg) and land. Traffic pattern turns are always 90 degree turns and you are expected to fly wind corrections such that your course over the ground is at the designated direction.

Most IFR approaches are straight-in in the near airport environment. An IFR approach that requires turns close to the airport is called a "circle-to-land" approach. All aircraft, regardless of size or speed fly the published approaches, however, ATC may designate different approaches for dis-similair aircraft, depending on their traffic conditions.

At uncontrolled airports, there a "safety suggestions" published in the Federal Air Regulations" but they are not requirements. Legally, you may fly any type of approach into the airport that you can accomplish safely. The suggestions include flying a pattern appraoch rather than a straight-in but many pilots fly straight-in if there is no conflicting traffic.

These comments apply only to the real world. I do not know if FS designates the type of pattern to fly or if they just clear you to land on a given runway.

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Very interesting. Thanks a lot to all who replied, that's cleared things up quite a bit. I'll stick to flying to smaller airports in my little Cessna and let you know if I've anymore questions. By the way, one more quick one: for flying a small plane like a Cessna is it normal to use VFR or IFR?

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

depends on the whether for me m8

I always fly VFR weather permitting but thats a preference thing - if you prefer IFR fly it if you like Smile

You just get more freedom on VFR

Airfields won't let you take off VFR if the weather is too bad though

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Is it not a bit dangerous to fly VFR though, couldn't you go off at whatever altitude you liked and potentially hit another aircraft?

Pro Member Trainee
FHeselton Trainee

Yes, you could, but, as the pilot, you are responsible for ensuring that you avoid other traffic.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

hence VFR not being allowed when the weather is bad..

Smile

Pro Member Trainee
glen4cindy Trainee

Insight wrote:

So, I would fly a heading of 80 degrees to fly parallel to the run way..

when some distance past the runway I would make a left turn to head 350 degrees or something to come across the end of the runway.
D

This is the part of flying the pattern that I question. How do you know how far past the end of the runway to fly before you make your first 090 turn? Then, how far do you need to fly on the leg before turning downwind? I would have to guess that there would be a specified distance to fly this leg before turning base, which would bring me to assume that you would have to fly far enough that the turn to final would line you up pretty close to the center line of the runway while still being far enough out to make a standard descent. I have done the lessons on this in FS9, and flew it how I was instructed, I still did not completely understand it.

Most of the simming I have done is just taking off, flying around, and trying to manage my way to some airport, and get on the ground in one piece, not really flying properly. I also have done alot of final approaches with the AP and GPS procedures.

Thanks for any light the experienced can shed on this topic.

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

Also, is this kind of approach only used for VFR? I can't see big commercial jets flying the traffic pattern, they just fly straight in right?

Flying a traffic pattern means flying VFR for a visual approach (usually). You're right, big jetliners don't usually opt for visual approaches, as they are non-precision. In IFR you fly a STAR, or follow ATC vectors, then execute either a VORDME or an ILS approach (both precision approaches).

Pro Member First Officer
beerbadger First Officer

I prefer to fly a route i know such as hearthow to alicante this helps, or if your really stuck land at a airport with 1 runway Laughing

Don Wood Guest

Bindolaf: It is not correct that commercial traffic rarely flys visual approaches. If visibility is bad or if the flight is coming in from the same general direction as the runway is oriented, then they rarely use a visual approach since it is not necessary and has no advantages.

However, with good visibility and with the aircraft approaching from any direction but the same as runway orientation, visual approaches are very common. The reasons for this are they save considerable flight time and thus fuel compared to being vectored for a standard ILS and they allow the airport to handle more arrivals in the same amount of time.

If you set up at any busy airport and listen to the approach control frequencies, you'll hear jet after jet announce "airport in sight" and immediately following, ATC will announce "cleared for the visual approach to runway x". Often there will also be an altitude restriction to avoid mingling this arrival with the pattern traffic the airport is working. At one airport I am familiar with, the altitude restriction is "maintain 4,000 feet until established on base (leg)".

All times are GMT Page 1 of 1

Related Questions