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Initial Approach Vs. Final Approach?  
User currently offlinePAAPURSER From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 6 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4072 times:

I have noticed recently that when preparing the cabin for landing, F/As use the terminology "Final Approach" inconsistently. I was always under the impression that "top of descent" was when the the aircraft first departed cruising altitude, initial approach was when the aircraft starting positioning for landing using flaps and speed reductions, and "final approach" was when the field was in sight (weather permitting), landing gear lowered, flaps fully extended, and in the old days, the "no smoking" light illuminated.

I have noticed recently that "final approach" is used anytime during the sequence of activities described above, which leads for situations when the cabin is fully prepared for landing - laptops and ipods off and stowed - and there are at least 20 minutes or more left of flight.

Anyone else notice this?

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineB727LVR From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 630 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4053 times:

Yeah I have noticed this as well. I have noticed a few things like this a lil more now that I have become a FA. I guess a brief background on me... I am an A&P, avionics by trade, and a flight mechanic. But where I work to be a flight mechanic they require us to be certified FA's. I don't have my FA manual right in front of me, but I believe it described our "Final Descent" as passing down through 10,000 feet. I wonder if the carriers define this phase of flight for the cabin differently for each carrier?


I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to planes!
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2572 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3984 times:

The only official definitions of initial and final approaches deal with aircraft on instrument approaches (i.e. low visibility approaches). The initial approach begins when the aircraft is on a portion of the published approach procedure that is prior to the final approach fix. The 'final' approach is that portion after the final approach fix. That fix is normally where the aircraft is aligned with, and begins a steady decent to, the runway. Those definitions are mainly for the pilots.

As far a FA's making announcements that they are on 'initial' or 'final' approach, that is either something that the airline suggests in the FA procedures, or is just left up to the FA's themselves. There is no official guidance or definitions for what (or when) the FA's announce what part of the approach they're on.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineSafetyDemo From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 310 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3868 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
As far a FA's making announcements that they are on 'initial' or 'final' approach, that is either something that the airline suggests in the FA procedures, or is just left up to the FA's themselves.

At my airline we use the phrase "initial descent" when the pilots make an announcement informing the cabin that we've begun our initial descent. All we do at this point is pick up trash.

At 10,000 feet we prepare the cabin for landing but the announcement does not include the phrase "final descent".

Quoting PAAPURSER (Thread starter):
I have noticed recently that "final approach" is used anytime during the sequence of activities described above, which leads for situations when the cabin is fully prepared for landing - laptops and ipods off and stowed - and there are at least 20 minutes or more left of flight.

At 10,000 feet you can still have 20 minutes of flying left in some busy airports such as PHL. Some of them love to vector you more than others  Wink Either way, at 10,000 feet, electronics should be off, regardless of remaining flight time.

-safetyDemo



Please direct your attention to the flight attendants in the cabin...
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