How to accommodate a general aviation aircraft as approach

Use vertical separation to your advantage when trying to work general aviation aircraft in as a radar controller.

One of the methods I use is to simply have the slower performance aircraft, let’s say it’s a C172, fly straight in. Meanwhile I have my higher performance line of aircraft all lined up as you normally would.

Say you have one of your legs at 5000ft MSL, slide the C172 under at 4000ft. Use that 1000ft of vertical separation to “expedite” that aircraft’s arrival. If needed, see the conflict and create the vertical spacing. It’s your best friend in dealing with general aviation aircraft.

I put “expedite” in quotes because you’re not really expediting the arrival in the sense that you are speeding it up, you’re just equaling out the amount of elapsed time in comparison to the jet aircraft.

The tricky part isn’t the arrival, it’s the final approach and how you create the necessary space. It would be wise to keep the aircraft on your frequency longer then normal to ensure the aircraft stays at an appropriate speed.

Should the pilot be self aware, yes. Will they see what you were trained to see in regards to spotting conflicts, no. Not even the most experienced pilots can, especially if they are task saturated. That’s your responsibility.

January 14, 2020 by Kyle Boas