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Visual Descent Point???

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Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
I know this is a revisit on this subject, but frankly I'm not wanting to research back that far.
Can anyone give a succint, simple explanation of a VDP in layman's terms.
I had my poor student all confused :confused: after our discussion.
The point at which a "normal" 3 degree glide path to the runway is achievable. Do not descend before VDP or you will be too low for the approach. Continuing beyond VDP without the runway insight, should prepare you for the strong possibility that you're going missed.

In reality, you'll still probably chop and drop if you get the field insight, but that's not something you want to teach the student.....

I agree with the above. We used a similar concept at FlightSafety to train our Alitalia students in non-precision approaches. Alitalia's philosophy was that every approach, ILS or not, can and shall be flown as a precision approach with a continuous descent to landing, even without glideslope guidance; the basic idea being you don't chop and drop a DC-9. So, we learned and taught our students to calculate a point at which a three-degree decent profile would bring them to the runway surface. Just like a VDP.

At first, some of us didn't like the idea because we thought they'd run out of time and not be at mins to complete the approach to landing. The concept really works very well, though, but it is vital that rate of decent be held accurately. It was kind of amazing to see a descent commenced from several miles out and continue all the way to touchdown.
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