SHOULD YOU FOLLOW THE VASI ON FINAL APPROACH?
It’s a question debated by flight instructors and pilots around the country… after flying a traffic pattern, should you use the VASI as a descent aid for final approach, or should you land close to the numbers to avoid wasting valuable runway?
The short answer? Use the VASI when you can, and here’s why…
PAPI VS. VASI
Before diving into how you should plan a descent using visual guidance systems, it’s important to know a little bit about how they work. For the purpose of this article, we’ll use “VASI” as a synonymous term for any vertical guidance lighting system.
According to the AIM, the Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI) is a system of lights arranged to provide visual descent guidance information during the approach to a runway. These lights are visible from 3-5 miles during the day and up to 20 miles or more at night. The visual glide path of the VASI provides safe obstruction clearance within plus or minus 10 degrees of the extended runway centerline and to 4 NM from the runway threshold.