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Arrival Procedures and Separation — Landing Procedures Last updated: 2017-12-02

1. Landing Information

Provide current landing information, as appropriate, to arriving aircraft. Landing information contained in the ATIS broadcast may be omitted if the pilot states the appropriate ATIS code. Runway, wind, and altimeter may be omitted if a pilot uses the phrase “have numbers.” Issue landing information by including the following:

Pilot use of “have numbers” does not indicate receipt of the ATIS broadcast.

a. Specific traffic pattern information (may be omitted if the aircraft is to circle the airport to the left).

b. Runway in use.

c. Surface wind.

d. Altimeter setting.

e. Any supplementary information.

f. Clearance to land.

g. When necessary, requests for additional position reports. Use prominent geographical fixes which can be easily recognized from the air, preferably those depicted on sectional charts. This does not preclude the use of the legs of the traffic pattern as reporting points.

h. Ceiling and visibility if either is below basic VFR minima.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-1 “Landing Information”}

2. Landing Clearance

a. Issue landing clearance. Restate the landing runway whenever more than one runway is active, or an instrument approach is being conducted to a closed runway.


b. Do not clear an aircraft for a full-stop, touch-and-go, stop-and-go, option, or unrestricted low approach when a departing aircraft has been instructed to taxi into position and hold, is taxiing into position, or is holding in position on the same runway. The landing clearance may be issued once the aircraft in position has started takeoff roll.

c. Inform the closest aircraft that is requesting a full-stop, touch-and-go, stop-and-go, option, or unrestricted low approaches when there is traffic authorized to taxi into position and hold on the same runway.

“Delta One, continue, traffic holding in position.”
“Delta One, runway one eight, continue, traffic holding in position.”

A clearance to land means that appropriate separation on the landing runway will be ensured. A landing clearance does not relieve the pilot from compliance with any previously issued restriction.

d. When aircraft operates on a runway with a tailwind component, always state both wind direction and velocity.

“Wind zero six zero at seven, runway 24R, cleared to land.”

The wind may be described as “calm” when appropriate.

Although stating wind direction and velocity is not necessary when there’s no tailwind component, it’s a common courtesy to do so when workload permits.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-5 “Landing Clearance,” 3-5-3 “Tailwind Components.”}

3. Anticipating Separation

a. Landing clearance to succeeding aircraft in a landing sequence need not be withheld if you observe the positions of the aircraft and determine that prescribed runway separation will exist when the aircraft cross the landing threshold. Issue traffic information to the succeeding aircraft if not previously reported and appropriate traffic holding in position or departing prior to their arrival.

“American Two Forty-Five cleared to land, number two following United Boeing Seven-Thirty-Seven two mile final, traffic will depart prior to your arrival.”

Landing sequence number is optional at tower facilities where arrivals are sequenced by the approach control.

b. Anticipating separation must not be applied when conducting LUAW operations.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-6 “Anticipating Separation.”}

4. Landing Clearance without Visual Observation

When an arriving aircraft reports at a position where he/she should be seen but has not been visually observed, advise the aircraft as a part of the landing clearance that it is not in sight and restate the landing runway.


Aircraft observance on the CTRD satisfies the visually observed requirement.

On VATSIM, you’ll always see the aircraft on the radar screen, but if in RW the airport is not equipped with a CTRD, you may simulate this condition when you’re aware that the weather at the airport would not allow you to observe the aircraft visually from the tower cab.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-7 “Landing Clearance without Visual Observation.”}

5. Go-around Procedures

Go-around may be initiated by a pilot on final approach at any time, or assigned by ATC for separation if it becomes apparent that an aircraft on approach will conflict with another aircraft (which could be an aircraft on the runway or another aircraft on approach that the trailing aircraft is catching on.) “Go-around” is an instruction for a pilot to abandon his/her approach to landing.

Tower must ensure that the aircraft going around is separated from other traffic before handing it off to departure control. For this purpose, a specific heading and/or altitude may be required.
At some airports, the local SOPs may required go-arounds to be established on a specific heading/altitude prior to handoff to departure. Such SOP provisions should be applied after the go-around is successfully separated from any conflicting traffic. If the SOP provisions may impact the separation, coordinate with departure controller for an alternative.

Unless otherwise advised by ATC, a VFR aircraft or an IFR aircraft conducting visual approach should overfly the runway while climbing to traffic pattern altitude and enter the traffic pattern via the crosswind leg. A pilot on an IFR flight plan making an instrument approach should execute the published missed approach procedure or proceed as instructed by ATC.

and if required
TURN LEFT/RIGHT HEADING (assigned heading),
CLIMB AND MAINTAIN (assigned altitude)

“American Five Twenty-One, go around. Contact Socal Departure 124.3”
“American Five Twenty-One, go around. Fly runway heading, maintain 2,000. Contact Socal Departure 124.3” (The pilot will disregard the published missed approach procedure and follow ATC instructions.)

{Reference: FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary}

6. Runway Exiting

a. Instruct aircraft where to turn off the runway after landing, when appropriate, and advise the aircraft to hold short of a runway or taxiway if required for traffic.

TURN LEFT/RIGHT (taxiway/runway),
IF ABLE, TURN LEFT/RIGHT (taxiway/runway)
and if required
HOLD SHORT OF (runway).

Runway exiting or taxi instructions should not normally be issued to an aircraft prior to, or immediately after, touchdown. If not in Virtual Tower view, you can estimate that an aircraft has touched down when its groundspeed starts decelarating rapidly.

b. Taxi instructions shall be provided to the aircraft by the local controller when:

1. Compliance with ATC instructions will be required before the aircraft can change to ground control, or
2. The aircraft will be required to enter an active runway in order to taxi clear of the landing runway.

“U.S. Air Ten Forty Two, turn right next taxiway, cross runway two one, contact ground point seven.”
“U.S. Air Ten Forty Two, turn right on Alfa/next taxiway, cross Bravo, hold short of Charlie, contact ground point seven.”

1. An aircraft is expected to taxi clear of the runway unless otherwise directed by ATC. Pilots shall not exit the landing runway on to an intersecting runway unless authorized by ATC. In the absence of ATC instructions, an aircraft should taxi clear of the landing runway by clearing the hold position marking associated with the landing runway even if that requires the aircraft to protrude into or enter another taxiway/ramp area. This does not authorize an aircraft to cross a subsequent taxiway or ramp after clearing the landing runway.
2. The pilot is responsible for ascertaining when the aircraft is clear of the runway by clearing the runway holding position marking associated with the landing runway.

c. Ground control and local control shall protect a taxiway/runway/ramp intersection if an aircraft is required to enter that intersection to clear the landing runway.

d. Request a read back of runway hold short instructions when not received from the pilot.

“American Four Ninety-two, turn left at Taxiway Charlie, hold short of Runway 27 Right.”
“American Four Ninety-two, turn left at Charlie, hold short of Runway 27 Right.”
“American Four Ninety Two, Roger.”
“American Four Ninety-two, read back hold instructions.”

Read back hold instructions phraseology may be initiated for any point on a movement area when the controller believes the read back is necessary.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-9 “Runway Exiting.”}

7. Closed Traffic

Approve/disapprove pilot requests to remain in closed traffic for successive operations subject to local traffic conditions.

LEFT/RIGHT (if required) CLOSED TRAFFIC APPROVED. REPORT (position if required),
UNABLE CLOSED TRAFFIC, (additional information as required).

Controllers should strive to accommodate every close traffic request as long as it does not negatively impact IFR traffic or is not prohibited by the airport SOP.

{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 3-10-11 “Closed Traffic.”}