Czech Virtual Area Control Center on VATSIM network

Approach speed control a pilot you need to maintain certain speed during individual approach phases.

To ensure safety and fluent flow control it's necessary to abide by some rules. However the rules are even more important when there are more aircrafts operating in a smaller area, where the most critical example is the approach phase after passing the initial approach fix, i.e. between IAF, IF, FAF and THR.

You can find on the next lines primarily the Prague airport situation however you can extend the rule to any other airport = at least in Czech Republic. You can find slightly different rules in other countries.

The TMA Prague defines so called SLP which limit aircraft on speed a) when entering the TMA with limit 250 kts and b) in an active runway downwind with limit 220 kts.

Then the speed control depends on approach type. In case of a precision approach (like ILS) the pilot shoud start to reduce the speed at about 12 nm track miles before THR to reach 160 kts at the FAF. This speed should be maintaind until 4 nm final, then it's possible to slow down to final approach speed.

In case of anon-precision approach (like VOR or NDB) the pilot should from the dwonwind position start reducing the speed to the final approach speed before reaching FAF and keep the speed until ground.

In case of a visual approach the speed control is individual, the ATC counts on this and it can only be cleared with regards to other traffic which then must be takeninto consideration by the pilot as the separation responsibility from the anonced traffic (which must be visible from the cockpit or at least on TCAS) is handed over from the ATC to the pilot.

Important: If an aircraft is unable to follow the speed requirements the crew is obliged to report that to the respective ATC.

You can find more information on the approach speed control in the Ruzyne SOP document.
You can find more information


  • IAF: Initial approach fix - end of STAR (or transition where applicable) and the first fix of the initial approach phase (to IF)
  • FAF: Final approach fix
  • IF: Intermediate fix
  • THR: Threshold - runway threshold
  • SOP: Standard Operational Procedures
  • SLP: Speed Limit Point