Aircraft will approach Canberra from all directions before they join the final approach path. Jet aircraft will join the final approach between 15 and 25 kilometres from Canberra Airport and fly towards the runway in a straight line. Jet aircraft will generally be at altitudes from 3000 to 4000 feet when they join the final approach. There is no minimum altitude for aircraft in the process of landing. Aircraft will generally descend on a glide slope of three degrees.
There are seven Smart Tracking approaches into Canberra. Smart Tracking aircraft have satellite-assisted guidance. While the Smart Tracking approaches are all located within pre-existing flight corridors, Smart Tracking aircraft will fly more concentrated paths within these corridors because they fly with greater accuracy than those using conventional navigation. Smart Tracking flight paths will be updated on 25 May 2017.
Departing jets will generally maintain a straight line from the runway for around 15 kilometres before turning to their heading.
The altitude of aircraft after departure will depend on factors such as the type of aircraft and its weight, how heavily laden it is with fuel and passengers, and the atmospheric conditions at the time. All these factors affect an aircraft’s climb rate. There is no regulated minimum altitude for an aircraft in the process of taking off.
Flight path information
See below for images of typical flight paths and how frequently they were used in the quarter indicated. Please note that aircraft do fly outside the shown swathes. For example, the swathes do not extend to all the areas that are overflown by arriving aircraft being vectored or show the full length of departure flight paths. Further, aircraft may be directed off the usual flight paths for reasons including the need to avoid bad weather or for traffic management, that is, to ensure safe separation between aircraft. See WebTrak for further information about where aircraft fly. More explanation is also available in the Why Aircraft Fly Where They Do fact sheet.