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Ask the Pilot, with Captain Mike Bowers


Q: Near the end of a flight, sometimes I can tell the plane is decelerating well before the pilot makes the landing announcement. When a plane decelerates, what does that usually mean with respect to how far we are from landing, distance- and time-wise?
A: The time and distance varies at different airports based on the amount of traffic in the area, specifically from other airports near your destination airport. Typically, we start our descent from altitude about 120 miles from the airport. That is when you sense the engine power being reduced. The time also varies because air traffic controllers may require us to fly at a lower airspeed to maintain our separation at busy airports. For most airports, 20 to 30 minutes is what
you can expect.

Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? You can write to him at askthepilot@united.com

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