• Tutorial: ILS Approach with Procedure Turn

    Tutorial: ILS Approach with Procedure Turn

    IFR Flight KDDC to KGCK

    By Joel Johnson

    ILS Chart

    This is a very much needed tutorial for pilots encountering instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

    Knowledge of how to effectively transition IMC airspace and navigate to, capture and follow an ILS at an airport is highly important and one that X-Plane and MSFS pilots will find extremely useful.

    While the following tutorial was created using X-Plane, pilots of MSFS will also benefit from it, as the procedures are almost identical.

    The two airports mentioned in this tutorial are:

    Dodge City Regional Airport

    Dodge City Regional Airport is three miles east of Dodge City, in Ford County, Kansas. The airport is mainly used for general aviation and has two asphalt runways: 14/32 is 6,899 by 100 feet (2,103 x 30 m) and 2/20 is 4,649 by 100 feet (1,417 x 30 m).

    Garden City Regional Airport

    Garden City Regional Airport is nine miles southeast of Garden City, in Finney County, Kansas. It has two runways with concrete surfaces: 17/35 is 7,300 by 100 feet (2,225 x 30 m) and 12/30 is 5,700 by 100 feet (1,737 x 30 m).


    1. CRS refers to Course. This is set on your HSI, or VOR instrument. The aircraft will intercept and fly the course you have dialed in when NAV mode is active on the autopilot.

    a. The exception is an ILS. You need not dial in the ILS CRS because there is only one course per ILS. The instrument knows this. HOWEVER, it is always a good idea to select your CRS manually for situational awareness.

    2. HDG refers to Heading. This is what is set on the directional gyro. The aircraft will fly this when HDG mode is active on the autopilot.

    Setup: (use our autopilot for this flight).

    WX: Wind 340/08.

    Clouds and visibility are up to you. Suggest progressively lower as you gain experience.

    Remember when you set cloud ceilings in X-Plane it is done in MSL (height above Mean Sea Level).

    Therefore, to set cloud deck at 500' above the ground at KGCK you would set in 3584' in X-Plane.

    Depart KDDC: RWY 32

    NAV #1 - set to DDC VOR (108.2) with course set to 269° (V10).

    NAV #2 - set to GCK VOR (113.3) with course set to 266° (V10) [reciprocal of 086 shown on chart].

    Altitude - climb to 6000'. In a Bonanza this would normally be at 500 fpm but adjust for your selected aircraft.

    After Departure

    Fly heading 310° to join V10 Airway (DDC VOR 269).

    When established on your 310 heading select the NAV function on the autopilot.

    The AP (autopilot) will intercept and fly outbound on the course you have set on NAV #1, which is your HSI if your aircraft has one.

    When level at 6000' adjust to cruise power.


    The airway between DDC and GCK is 34 nm. Therefore your Changeover Point (where you switch over to navigate off of the GCK VOR) is at 17 nm. Watch your DME.

    Tune your ADF to the LOM (Locator Outer Marker) for the approach to GCK, PIEVE NDB (347).

    At 17 DME from DDC, switch to GCK VOR for primary nav (113.3). Remember your inbound to GCK has changed slightly to 266°. Change the course selector on your HSI to 266.

    While you have time during the enroute phase study the Approach Chart.

    Make sure you either have your radios set up in standby for the approach, or know what is needed and are ready to select them.

    1. dc7drvr's Avatar
      dc7drvr -
      Great tutorial. Thanks for your efforts. A few comments as a real world Commercial Pilot, AMEL, ASEL, Instrument airplane ratings.

      First, an interesting approach choice for the tutorial. The pilot actually as a choice (unless restricted by ATC) for either a DME-Arc approach to the IAF (initial approach fix) to intercept the localizer, or the PT (procedure turn) to intercept. Just a quick comment for those that may want to practice either or both. The DME Arc used to be a bit more of a challenge flying with just to NAV radios and DME radio. Now with GPS and an autopilot, they are super easy.

      A few comments for the full approach with PT. For the procedure turn outbound (HDG 127 on the chart) the IFR procedure is to start your timer/stopwatch after you make the turn and wings are level on HDG 127 (in this example). Then, fly outbound for two minute. (This is standard in the US. In other countries such as Transport Canada it is 45 to 60 seconds, but depending upon winds aloft that may not be enough time to perform a course reversal and intercept the localizer before being blown through it.) I prefer 2 minutes, but it is important to know that terrain clearance is on guaranteed within a 10 mile radius.

      Second, we are trained in smaller GA aircraft to drop approach flaps and the gear at the FAF (final approach fix) in this example, crossing PIEVE inbound. On larger jets, flaps come in earlier, but still approach flaps and gear at the FAF.

      Great tutorial and thank you to your service for the community.
    1. Bamboo Cougar's Avatar
      Bamboo Cougar -
      On behalf of JetJerry, a retired MIL/CIV/COM pilot with more hours as PIC than I've been alive (and I'm no spring chicken :lol: ), thank you for your nice comment.

      GPS's have changed much for sure but there are a whole host of us at our bush flying VA site (EPOCH Alaska Air) who like the 'good old days' and set up flights, training and missions often with everything from dead reckoning through steam panel instrument flight. We tend to use our GPS equipment while on line together mostly just to check in on distances, coupled with landmarks - being GA low and slows for the most part

      So a special shout out to JetJerry and Ottopilot9, the real horsepower behind this tutorial. I'm just a tester, flier, low-time RW GA pilot (health-retired) and happen to be the C.O.O. of our VA which is why the candy and flowers were sent to my office :lol:

    1. ksg's Avatar
      ksg -
      Hey guys.

      Maybe I'm misreading things here, but is the outbound course from Pieve 172? The tutorial has it as 127. Perhaps simply a typo.

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