Planning An Efficient Radar Session

March, 18, 2022 by

When you enter radar training and are assigned a radar airport, it’s required that you plan before your session. When planning a session, it’s essential that you know how to implement inbounds from all sides. Let’s go over how to efficiently plan a radar session.

For our example we’ll use Nellis AFB (KLSV) Runway 21L to plan our session. When planning, you should always ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the airport elevation?
  • Will terrain affect my inbounds and patterns?
  • Can I avoid that terrain?
  • How will I know where the terrain is once on my screen?

For KLSV, we’ll be planning to implement ILS, GPS, VIS, and RV. With this in mind, we want to ensure we’re not planning just for the airports in a given radius as that’s not what we want to do. You need to plan for inbounds coming from different directions, as that’s what you will see on expert; not only aircrafts departing on a 50nm radius.

It’s better to rather plan for inbounds so they can be in a familiar pattern. Such as Downwind, Base, or Final. Though, this might not always be the case. During peak times like say during the ATC Schedule, you may have to use holding patterns or an S pattern.

It’s also recommended to use SIDs and STARS as they can help greatly when organizing inbounds. Many airports will have SIDs and STARs. You can highlight your preferred SID/STARs in the Airport Information menu if you are open on a Center frequency. Otherwise, a SID or STAR will show up on a pilot’s user information if they have filed one.

We also want to avoid terrain. In this case, Runway 21L for KLSV has a 6K MSA on base, but the GS altitude is 5K. In this case, we would keep the pattern tight. ILS downwinds are recommended to be 6-7NM and not any farther as it could mean a bust or crash when turning a pilot on base. This way no pilot is farther out and may crash into a mountain.


Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.