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Top 10 Stabilised Approach Considerations for Air Traffic Controllers

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Category: Toolkit for ATC - Stabilised Approach Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC
Content source: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL
Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL

Introduction

Annually, approximately 30% of commercial transport aviation accidents are runway excursions. A significant amount of these excursions are the result of unstable approaches. The responsibility for the achievement and execution of a stabilised approach lies with the flight crew, nevertheless controllers can play their part and contribute to the in achievement of a stabilised approach.

The Top 10 stabilised approach considerations for ATCOs provided below form part of the "Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC" accessible from "Further reading".

Do you help pilots to make their flight predictable?

1. Delayed descent instructions or significant shortcuts may result in pilots requesting additional distance or contribute to high energy unstabilised approaches. read more...

2. The crew typically conducts the approach briefing before reaching top-of descent. Changing runway, especially when reducing the distance to fly, induces significant crew workload. read more...

3. Non-precision approach implies higher crew workload and less possibility for deceleration during the final approach compared with an ILS approach. Controllers should aim to position the aircraft on final at a greater distance from touchdown. read more...

4. Flight crew uncertainty about distance to touchdown affects the optimal profile management and can result in aircraft being high and fast on final approach. read more...


Do your clearances and procedures allow aircraft to be stabilised by the heights at which typical operator stabilisation gates are set?

(note that stabilisation heights are typically set at 1000 ft aal but may be as high as 1500 ft aal)

5. Modern jet aircraft need longer distance to descend and decelerate than propeller-driven aircraft. read more...

6. Instructing an aircraft to reduce speed during the upper parts of the descent will usually cause it to drift above its descent profile. read more...

7. 160 knots is the maximum acceptable speed to 4 nm from touchdown in order for most (but not all) aircraft types to get the approach stabilised at the speed which will typically be needed when 1000 feet above the runway. read more...

8. Be aware of forecast winds both aloft and at the surface and actively monitor them so as to minimise exposure to an excessive tail wind component on approach and minimise any tailwind component for landing. read more...

9. Optimal vectoring will typically result in an aircraft being fully established on final approach not later than 6 NM (and 2000ft) from touchdown. read more...

10. Vector so that the glide slope is intercepted when an aircraft is in level flight. read more...

Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC

Related Articles

Further Reading

CANSO Information Flyers

Part of the Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC