LOWI for pilots

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About this document

This wiki page is intended as a starter and briefer for first-time or inexperienced pilots to get into or out of Innsbruck/LOWI whilst also providing experienced pilots with new and updated information and support' The reason to write such a document is that many people fly there while making errors that could be avoided. It is after all a default airport for the X-Plane series, extremely beautiful to fly in (great mountains, deep valley) and a welcome challenge to many pilots. The result: VATSIM traffic exceeds real-life traffic on a daily basis. On an annual average vLOWI sees 3 times the real world pre-COVID traffic but can see around 7 to 8 times the legal limit on busy Vatsim days. These situations can only be handled if vATC but most importantly pilots understand what their actions and can help to reduce delays. Many pilots make fatal errors, they trigger go-arounds, smash holes into the virtual mountains and make the already stressful lives of Vatsim controllers and pilots more complicated than necessary.

The structure of this document covers in sequence

  • arrival,
  • approach,
  • ground and
  • departure.

Data status and AIRAC cycles

AIRAC status is 2111 as of November 2021.

There has been made some Changes to STAR´s at AIRAC 2109. That AIRAC is highly suggested Navigraph data do not include approaches and departures with non-RNAV parts in it. This is normal - you should not fly them with AP on auto anyway. What can you do?

  1. Do it like any pilot: Take the chart, tune in the navaids and fly them "the old way".
  2. evade: request one of the RNAV departures or arrivals you are able to perform. Please note that they are all special performance procedures and will (as-real-as-it-gets) only be cleared on request.

Major recent Changes

  • 1 September 2021: BRENO STAR´s have been changed. ELMEM and RTT STAR to the other end of the valley have been added
  • 24 May 2019: Major Changes in SID Structure
  • 27 April 2017: Absam NDB was shut down. As replacement RUM NDB will be activated in the vicinity.
  • November 2016: added some information on SAXFRA, which changes a little in Innsbruck, but a great deal in the rest of Austria. If you fly East, you should know. Read this section for details: #A note on SAXFRA.

Last major changes were 2015:

  • The airspace has changed considerably in 2015 SRA were replaced by TMA - sections updated.
  • New RNAV approaches were introduced for runway 08 and 26
  • The old LOC DME West has changed and starts now in ELMEM (like all other RNAV approaches from the West) instead of KTI NDB.

September 2016: A new section "airspace" has been added for clearance

Things you need to be able to do

Unlike other major airports, Innsbruck requires pilots to have certain basic skills, which you should train before trying to land here:

  • Aviate: You must be able to fly your plane by hand: Keep it straight and level, make controlled (tight) turns while holding level, being able to descend and climb in a controlled way. This means that you are able to control speed, altitude, vertical speed and still be able to deploy/retract flaps, speedbrakes and gear.
  • Navigate: You must be able to keep a course you have in mind (and in the chart next to you). You must be able to watch your radar,VOR and ADF (for NDB´s) instruments. Never point the nose of your aircraft where your mind hasn't been a minute before and read here why.
  • Communicate: If you fly online@vatsim, you also have to be able to talk and listen to ATC too, report positions, give readbacks, and remember clearances. A note from us controllers: When traffic is heavy, we strongly ask for voice or - at least - voice receive. Communication is intense and in doubt, text users have to wait.
  • Fly procedures! Innsbruck is unique in one way at least: There are no vectors to the runway, under no circumstances. See the topology section below if you want to know why. In any case: You have to fly published procedures, and that's what you learn with this wiki document!

An example: On downwind for runway 08, you have to keep straight and maintain 3700-4000ft altitude and maintain terrain separation visually and put flaps and gear down and reduce to landing speed and watch one DME indicator to decrease first and increase to 3,6 when you have to turn for final, where you have to descend and bank 30° right and keep visual separation to terrain and read back your landing clearance. No wonder that large birds have two pilots.

One more thing: be reasonable with your aircraft selection. Consider airport elevation (1900ft), runway length (2000m), obstacles (mountains) and aircraft weight and you will find out that Concorde, A380, B747 and the like do not really fit with LOWI. Largest aircraft in real so far was an A330 weight restricted with fuel to Vienna only.


  • Read a chart and understand it
  • Able to fly a holding
  • Able to fly a Localiser or RNP approach
  • Intervene when your plane is not doing what it is supposed to do
  • Able to hand-fly your aircraft

Charts you need to have

If you fly Innsbruck, you have to know the charts - it it's busy, expect diversion if you don't have them. The overview for all charts is here at the VATSIM Austria homepage. You need to study the charts in advance to understand them. Browse them together with this tutorial.

Some folks fly in just with their FMC loaded - In general, that's not enough, as every approach contains a visual part - you need to see the charts to find your way. Remember: No vectors, if you are lost.

Overview from the air(space)

LOWI is in a deep valley which runs east-west roughly. At a more detailed look, you see that exactly at Innsbruck the valley bends to a "smile". This narrows the options to reach the airport without hitting a mountain: For large birds, only east and west are possible. For VFR, two more add to it: from the North via Seefeld (NOVEMBER route) and from the south (BRENNER-SIERRA). To VFR, see later.

Airspace around LOWI

As space is tight around LOWI, airspace is packed with regulations, namely: There are TMA (Terminal Mandatory Areas) and a CTR (Controlled Traffic Region or simply "control zone").

The CTR part

Innsbruck CTR covers the valley up to 7000ft altitude (blue in the graphic below). Remember that you have to request and receive permission from LOWI_TWR (of LOWI_APP if TWR is offline, or LOVV_CTR if LOWI_APP is offline) to fly into it.

The "outside" and "upper" part

Innsbruck is surrounded by TMA that govern entry and exit into the valley. As almost everywhere, they stack like an "inverted pyramid": The further away, the further they reach out. To name them:

  • TMA LOWI 1 sits right on top of the CTR (green-and-blue), but reaches out into the upper Inn valley towards the VFR reporting point WHISKEY 1, and up towards the Brenner to VFR reporting point SIERRA (the green "ears").
  • TMA LOWI 2 and 3 reach out Westwards towards the upper Inn valley with rising bottoms
  • TMA LOWI 4 and 5 do the same Eastwards.

For IFR aircraft, these TMA and CTR are pretty negligible, as you are guided by ATC through, but for VFR, your and others' life depends on it - see the VFR section for details.

Graph (from Alex Arlow - thank you!): LOWI airspace arlow scn.jpg

A note on SAXFRA

SAXFRA ist the Slovenian / Austrian Cross Border Free Route Airspace. It took effect with AIRAC 1612 and is a sweeping change in airspace. In fact, it is a giant simplification of air movement. There are no airways anymore - just entry and exit points, between which you fly straight. Some STARs and SIDs have changed, but very little has changed for Innsbruck. Look out for the following:

  • If you come from the East, then fly straight to an Approach Point for Innsbruck. Luckily, they stayed the same: RTT, NANIT. No RASTA anymore - that's an entry Point for Salzburg.
  • If you fly out towards the East, then you will be cleared to an entry point for SAXFRA (RTT or OBEDI), and your next waypoint will be the exit point out of SAXFRA. Very simple, unless your FMC wants you to do something different (smile).
  • If your briefing includes a RASTA departure: forget it: RASTA is only an approach point - expect a RTT clearance instead.
  • To all other directions, things stay as they ever were :-)

If you want to see more, see [this chart]

IFR approach

Please do not ask per private message or on frequency for the active runway, Innsbruck does not have a acitve runway. All approaches are to be considered as cloud breaking approaches and non published visual approaches from both sides are in use all the time.

Coming in via RTT you should expect LOC DME East app (called LOC26 in your FMC), Coming in via ELMEM you shoudl expect RNP Y or Z 08

The STAR chart (here) shows: You have two standard and two RNAV approaches into the valley. There are two more which are visual and not charted. Be aware that all non-RNAV approaches lead to all runways - always with visual approach, some with steep turns. The RNAV approaches lead to a defined runway only. In case of changing winds or if traffic requires you must be also aware of a visual swing over for any RNP approach.

The STARs guide you to one of two entry points into the valley:

  • RTT NDB (Rattenberg NDB)
  • ELMEM, a RNAV Fix out to the West

Do not expect to be cleared on a STAR and file one in your flightplan. Expect to be cleared on a STAR only, when your STAR does not end on your required IAF(initial approach fix). Otherwise expect a direct to your IAF

If you come from the West, approaches are complex and you don´t have much of a choice. There are only 2 RNP approaches and one LOC approach (LOC DME WEST). If you have any prefference request it by Radar.

Innsbruck Radar, Leipzig Air 123, inbound ELMEM at FL150, requesting RNP Z Approach RWY08

Approach will then tell you if that's ok or offer alternatives.


  1. LOC DME East approach with (1.a) runway 26 and (1.b) circling runway 08
  2. LOC DME West approach with (2.b) circling 26 and (2.b) double circling 08
  3. LOC R APP RWY26
  4. RNP Approach Z 08 via ELMEM
  5. RNP Approach Y 08 via ELMEM
  6. RNP Z RWY26 via RTT NDB
  7. RNP E RWY26 via RTT NDB
  8. Visual BRENO approach
  9. Special Föhn approach

1. LOC DME EAST approach

... is the most common approach into Innsbruck. See the LOC DME East chart (here). This approach is fairly easy, but it's like getting a thread into a needle's hole: Don't miss it.


Be aware, that the phrase LOC DME East means something: The localizer OEV leads to the runway, but with a 3° offset to the north - it's NOT an ILS and you can't land with it! The primary means for descent is the profile as shown in the charts. Additional descent guidance is given by a glideslope. It is intended to bring you close to the airport, but then you have to disconnect AP and land visually. See the Visual Approach Chart (here) for details.

  1. Maybe you are told to enter the holding over RTT NDB (225° inbound,right turns, 1 minute. If you turn left, lift your feet to avoid touching trees.)
  1. The LOC DME EAST approach is not in your FMC as such. You will usually only find LOC26 approach. Use this for guidance but remember: this approach still can lead to both Runways! Do not mistake the LOC26 for the LOC R RWY26. This is a approach for low ceiling and other missed approach. More to that later.
  1. When Tower is online, do not expect that the Radar can tell you the Runway you can expect. This decision is made by the Tower. Please do not ask the Radar for the Runway because he has no clue as well.
  1. when cleared LOC DME East approach, you leave RTT NDB at 9500ft (use caution Airspace E goes up to 9500ft as well) and proceed direct to ADWIG. At ADWIG intercept the Localizer. Use caution: you must not descend immediatly after intercepting the Localizer but wait until DME 19.0 of OEV. When passing that point descend with an Angle of 3,77 degrees. It is mandatory to reduce speed prior to intercepting the Localizer. Already put down flaps to a certain degree. You cant reduce the speed enough once established. Strictly, the glideslope is only an indicator and you have to follow the altitude limits on the chart, but you might as well do the other way around: grab the glideslope and monitor altitude and OEV DME. Why that? Because in real life, the beacon could be mislead by reflections from the mountains.
  1. It is completly normal, when you have an Radio Altimeter to get callouts from him after ADWIG. You are getting close to a mountain. When you descend according to the profil this should not be a factor for you.
  1. When established on the LOC, you are transferred to Innsbruck Tower (120.10) who will tell you wind, which runway to expect, and to report runway in sight. Continue descent on the glideslope, slow down according to speed instructions and plan to reach 6,3dme OEV at 160kts or less. In high traffic situation expect speed control to last until 6 DME. Yes, Tower tells you the runway, but be prepared for changes during the approach. That means: Be prepared to fly either straight into 26 or circle for runway 08 - see later in this document how. If you are unable for circling (maybe you are a Heavy bird), then tell Tower at contact.
  1. When there is a lot of traffic hold your advised speed as long as practisable or when Controller tells you to reduce. When getting clearance: mantain speed 180KTs or less try to keep the highest cleared speed as long as practisable. You can also expect late landing clearance automatically and be prepared for it, because departures often require a backtrack.
  1. Go-around is difficult, as there are mountains everywhere but behind you. You have to climb with max rate at approach course. At 1nm DME OEV (that's one mile before the airport) turn tight left (1600m radius, that is roughly 25-30° bank). In real life, pilots must fly this by hand and so should you (autopilots usually don't turn that steep and sometimes even turn the wrong way). Advise ATC once you hae completed the turn and continue climb according to the missed approach procedure to 9500ft. You can expect to be cleared even higher in case of missed approach.

a. Runway 26 for landing

This is the easy way, and still many pilots screw it up: Tower will clear to land. Your MAPt (Missed Approach Point) is latest at DME 3.5 or even earlier (up to DME 7.5) when you cant get the minimum missed approach climb gradient. You have to go around if you do not have the terrain in sight. Use caution. you must not have the Runway in sight, but at least the Approach light system. If neither is in sight GO AROUND. The other reason is very logic: when you are not cleared to land or informed about late clearance.

Anyway, you disconnect your AP latest at your Missed approach point and continue visually. As the runway is some degrees banked to the right, you fly a dog's leg over Innsbruck (left, then right) to align with the centerline. If you don't see the runway or approach light system in sight: go around! Fly the go-around manually or end up in the Sistrans Airmen's Cemetery.

The one most common mistake here is to think that OEV is an ILS aligned with the RWY. Those folks smash some GAC aircraft on the apron and hit the terminal building. Do not follow the LNAV profile done as well. This might lead you direct to the Runway but in a mountain shortly after ADWIG as well.

b. Circling Runway 08 for landing

The other option is a visual circling approach to runway 08. The usual phrase on initial contact is:

LOWI_TWR: Leipzig Air 123, Innsbruck Tower, servus. Wind calm, expect circling runway 08, report breaking off.

This clearance is valid all the way to runway 08 final. You have to report your turning off, so called brake off, but you continue as charted. TWR may tell you to report other points: downwind (south of the airport), base or final.

  1. Before turning left: set your radar altitude warning to 400ft - gives you a chime when you get too low.
  2. prepare to level off at 4000ft altitude for the downwind circle (that will be the case about 6dme OEV).
  3. Fly the OEV localizer and glideslope until dme 4,2 OEV. Set your plane to approach (speed, flaps)
  4. At MAP or latest DME 4,2: Check, if you have ground view, or go around, because the rest is purely visual.
  5. Now disconnect the AP and level off between 3700ft and 4000ft MSL - the chart is only a guideline, fly visually!
  6. At D;E 4,2 OEV turn left (230° is a guideline - fly visually!). if you have correct scenery you should see a Ski jump and a valley. Try to fly a bit right of the Ski jump in the direction of the mountain. The route leads you over the green fields on the left side below the Patscherkofel. Scary? Watch your altimeter and stay between 3700 and 4000ft. Caution: From here on, go-around is right around! The 400ft "minimums" warning will prevent you from getting too low.
  7. Shortly before reaching the mountain turn right approximately heading 264 to join the right hand downwind. Use the INN NDB as reference for your turn.
  8. On downwind, Prepare your plane for landing (speed, flaps all down, gear) and coninuously check your altitude: 3700-4000ft or you hit the church tower of Aldrans. Boy, this is a catholic country, they crucify you if you damage it!
  9. Watch OEV DME (OEV is directly at the airport) decrease below 3nm and increase again as you fly past the airport.
  10. When OEV DME has risen again to 3.5nm (that just about when you say "ooh sh.." as the mountain ahead approaches), do a sharp right turn (25-30 degree bank mandatory) and smoothly descend into the valley - don't be too shy, but don't dive. Perfect would be: Start the turn firmly, and when you have settled in the 25-30° bank, descend smoothly (you still have a hill below you). When you have completed a 90° turn, look to the right for the runway (the hill will most likely be behind you now), turn and descend firmly for the centerline. With a bit of training you find yourself head on runway 08 for landing.
  1. As visual cue you have the Axams Church, wich is mostly used as Fix for the right base. Once turning you should see two things: A deep valley opening on your right side, in wich you are turning into and a power line. Follow that valley in the right turn and use caution with the power line to not crash into it.

Common mistakes are:

  • First too low: Pilots leave the AP with ILS on and get too low at dme 6,3 OEV. Disconnect early to level off at 3.700 (better 4.000) ft.
  • AP on: Pilots fly the circle with heading and v/s mode of the Autopilot and hit the Patscherkofel Airmens' cemetery. Fly by hand, this is what pilots are here for.
  • Then too high: Pilots don't descend at the final turn and end up too high, desperately dive and land way too fast or too late. You have to turn and descend (again, by hand). It is a nice, gradual descent - no need for a vomit-dive. If you are too high, request go-around or (very smart!) another visual circle.
  • or too fast: If you forget to prepare your aircraft for landing on downwind (when the airport is to your right), you won't have another chance, as you have to descend firmly on final. If that happens to you, go around or request another visual circle. Luckily, the hospital is at the end of runway 08, so you might crash close to help.

Special LOC DME East approach

... is a special performance for bad visibility: It starts the same as the normal LOC DME East approach, but you continue to fly the LOC and glideslope to the RUM Locator, where you have about 3.500ft and then do the circle (the dotted line on the visual approach chart here). You need to have a special performance plane for this. In real life, this is rarely used, because the minima today is the same (or with special authorization a bit lower) as on the LOC DME EAST approach and only meant for multi engine piston Aircraft.

Localizer R Approach Runway 26

... is the only approach where you can expect straight in Runway 26 when cleared on it. This is the latest approach added for the OEV Localizer and specially designed for bad weather situations. The minimum can go down as low as 356ft AGL. This does not mean, that this is an ILS! Once you are visual, even before your minimum, turn off your autopilot, brake off and establish your plane in the extended Centerline for Runway 26. Latest at DME 0.9 OEV you have your Missed approach Point (MAPt). When you don´t see the Runway GO AROUND!

  1. This is a special approach and only cleared when the ceiling and/or visibility is too low for any other conventional approach
  2. there is no chance you can circle on this approach
  3. To fly this approach, and especially the Missed approach you must be RNAV equipt! When unable to fly this approach, let the approach Controller know and expect a diversion
  4. the approach starts as a normal LOC DME EAST Approach and is flown the same way. The only difference is the lower minimum and the missed approach
  5. when you are at your minimums or latest at the MAPt and you dont have the approach light system (ALS) or Runway in sight, Go around immediatly.
  6. check your GPS/GNSS Equipment prior to the approach. You require at least a RNP 0.3 accuracy for the approach
  7. at the Go around climb with maximum rate at least until 8500ft and do not accelarate above 165KTs until passng WI008

LOC DME West Approach

For decades, this was the west entry into the valley. With new RNAV approaches via ELMEM, the LOC DME West is a remnant of past fly-by-hand glory - and it's fun to fly! Request it and experience the thrill. If you fail, then you go around to RTT for the East approach.

Caution for "old" MSFS users: For this approach, you need the OEJ LLZ. In FS09/FS2004, this localizer is missing! You can buy [Gianni's "Approaching Innsbruck"] at Aerosoft or get this free patch [from the AVSIM library]. In MSFS 2020 you cannot fly this approach as such, because the OEJ Localizer is not implemented correctly.

LOC DME West Approach

Arriving at ELMEM

Mountains to the West are higher, so you level off at ELMEM at 13.000ft (local QNH!). If you come from the South, you cross mountains even higher, so you fly a teardrop entry (see here) as if you were to enter the holding, and maybe you must enter the holding too.

Grabbing the localizer

The usual ATC phrase is:

LOWI_APP: LHA123, cleared LOC DME West approach.

This means:

  1. Leave ELMEM and proceed direct to KUDAV at 13.000ft. Descend to 11.500ft and start reducing speed. (in a A320 you require Flaps 3, gear down at KUDAV)
  2. Turn your OBS to 65° radial.
  3. Make sure you have the localizer OEJ 109.70 tuned and receive a signal before KUDAV (If not, report to ATC and expect vectors to RTT NDB for a LOC DME East approach).
  4. Arm the localizer.
  5. Enough before KUDAV, Check your speed and configuration again! You should have 160kts at KUDAV for the descend. If you are unsure, prepare for landing (speed, flaps, gear). A trap awaits you: If you don't slow down at the beginning, you will be too fast for flaps and gear to slow down later - go-around is the only escape.
  6. Join OEJ CRS 067° and descend according to the profile shown on the charts (IT IS A LOCALIZER ONLY, no glideslope guidance).
  7. at descent, you have time to set your radar altitude warning to 400ft - comes handy with circling 08.
  8. This is by far the steepest descend path in central Europe with 4.7 degrees. When you start descending too early you can see mountains getting close, when you start too late, you are too high

A thrilling experience to descend from the snow-capped mountains into the valley!

  • If you have a light plane, you may opt for a visual approach via WHISKEY. To do this, you request it from APP already at ELMEM. You turn off course after ELMEM into the valley - you could head for 08, if Tower permits. This is visual, so you can only do this when you have clear ground view.

Most common mistakes at ELMEM

  • Too fast: The western descent is twice as steep as any ordinary descent into an airport. Once you are too fast to lower flaps, there is no way out except go-around.
  • No localizer: OEJ (109.70) is NOT part of the standard FS2002 and 2004/FS09 sceneries (but included in X-Plane 9 and FSX). Check in advance, if you have it. Check before KUDAV, if you have the right localizer, and if not, request vectors to RTT (as you can't download and install the patch on the fly).
  • Wrong localizer: Some pilots use the back course of LOC DME east (OEV), which gives smashing results in the Stubai mountains.

Descending on the localizer

Once established on the localizer, you are handed to Tower. Bear in mind:

  • No, there is no glideslope - descend with v/s, FPA or manually watching the table on the chart.
  • Watch speed, DME and altitude simultaneously (this is why large birds have two pilots!)
  • Go-around is easy: 67° radial to OEJ and 65° radial out of OEJ to RTT. Don't miss it - mountains on all sides, and there may be arriving traffic on LOC DME East head-on (max rate of climb!).
  • Bear in mind, where the approach ends: NOT at runway 08, but at 5000ft altitude over RUM NDB. This means: You fly over the airport at about 7000ft.
  • Level off at 5000ft. You should reach this at DME 6.5 and continue on 500ft to DME 4.4 for the visual part of the missed approach
  • Arrive at RUM NDB with 160kt or less. The final approach begins, and it is visual.

Most common mistakes at descent

  • too fast: Pilots who descend the glideslope with 250kts or more will unlikely to slow to 160 or below at the end and need to go around. Those who still turn right for final end up in the Sistrans cemetery.
  • Dive for 08: Some pilots seem to think that the LOC DME West approach leads to runway 08 (deadly wrong!). When you see runway 08, you are still more than 5000ft above the airport. Pilots who try end up with a smashing 300kt landing on the LOWI cemetery. Luckily, the hospital is on the extended centerline 1nm down the runway, so maybe you crash close to help.

Two options are available again:

a. Circling runway 26

Initial clearance from tower might look like this:

LOWI_TWR: LHA123, continue,  wind 300° 8kts, expect circling runway 26, report RUM NDB.

This clearance is valid all the way to final. Report RUM, but continue to final 26! When you reached RUM NDB, the airport is behind you, you have to turn.

  1. Disconnect the AP now!
  1. If you have more than 160kt, ask TWR to extend your downwind beyond RUM or go around (or crash when turning)
  1. RUM NDB is on the north side of the valley. Behind the NDB do a steep right turn into final behind you (bank hard and be slow!), simultaneously descend visually to between 4000 and 3700ft. The valley has a step on the southern side and below 3700ft you end up in the Sistrans cemetery.
  1. When the runway is ahead, continue descent and land.

b. (Double) Circling runway 08

The clearance for this approach will be this, given to you at handshake on the localizer. Again, this clearance is valid all the way to final:

LOWI_TWR: LHA123, continue,  wind calm, expect circling runway 08, report RUM NDB.

This is really fun! You have to circle twice, and you need to fly this by hand.

  1. At RUM NDB, the first right turn leads you to the southern side of the valley (bank hard and be slow!) while holding level. Don't wait for the turn without reason - you mess up spacing of arriving aircraft. Request an extension from TWR if you need to slow down or Go around.
  2. Proceed towards INN NDB, descend to an altitude between 3700 and 4000ft.
  3. Before INN NDB (where you will hit trees) turn right for downwind. Watch your altitude to stay between 4000 and 3700ft. The radar altitude warning set at 400ft will help you with a chime if you are too low.
  4. prepare for landing (speed, flaps, gear)
  5. watch DME OEJ indicator increase to D14.1 OEJ,
  6. turn-and-descend onto final runway 08.

Most common errors at visual approach from LOC DME West

  • too fast at RUM NDB (160kt or above) and turning anyway: You hit the Patscherkofel cemetery.
  • continue descent after RUM NDB: when you turn too low, you hit the step in the valley at 3500ft and end up at the Sistrans cemetery. Maintain 3700ft or above while turning west.
  • turning into final too early (before D14.1 OEJ) and forgetting to descend: You end up above the airport and need to go around.
  • turning into final too slowly: You end up in the Martinswand cemetery.

RNP Approaches for Runway 26

When you are unable to find the LOC or are unsure about the procedure, there are 2 RNP (RNAV) approaches down into Innsbruck from the east. You will get cleared via Rattenberg (RTT) on the approaches. These approaches are guiding you down towards a specified Runway. Sometimes it can happen that the Tower asks you if you are able for a ``visual Swingover Runway 08``. Only fly this if you are sure what you are doing and the weather is suitable for this (Runway in sight latest 4000ft AMSL). When you are unsure just say unable and continue. The RNP approaches require you to be either LPV (Localizer performance with vertical guidance) capable or have a accuracity of at least RNP 0.3 . In any way flightsimulators are simulating LPV usually or guiding you down as LNAV/VANV approach path. Use caution, when you cannot reach the required Minima ther is a good chance you crash into a mountain, altough your FMC says you are perfectly on course. When you are performing a missed approach climb with maximum rate to get out of the valley and avoid the terrain around you.

  1. check the approach Waypoints and ALT after entering
  2. make yourself familiar with the missed approaches
  3. latest when cleared on the approach you get the local QNH. Set it prior descending because your FMC takes the Baro ALT as refference for your descend profile
  4. reduce speed and set flaps to a certain degree to avoid beeing too fast for the approach


This RNP approach is one of the latest added to the approaches into Innsbruck. It requires you to be LPV equipt, altough most Simulators are guiding you down regardless. In real life this approach is barely flown and when only by small Aircrafts. The IAF is WI610 where you have to be at 9500ft on local QNH. Usually you will be cleared via RTT. After passsing RTT proceed direct to WI610 and descend according to the profil. You won´t get a descend clearance lower than 9500ft and the Controller is expecting you to descend. Your minimum variies due to the required minimum missed approach climb gradient. Do not underastimate the mountains around you. when you are unsure take not the lowest minimum. This approach will guide you directly towards Runway 26. Once you are at the Minimum you must handfly the rest of the approach. Use caution when executing the missed approach. As soon as you decide or hear Go around from the Controller start climbing as soon as possible with maximum rate and without increasing your speed. continue to WI614 and then make a sharp left turn (minimum 25 degree bank, max speed 153 KTS) back to WI103. Accelerating before WI103 is a deadly mistake, where you end up in the mountains. This turn is very steep so do not underastimate that turn. The missed approach will end up in the RTT holding.


Unlike the other approach this one ``only`` requires you to have a FMC with a certain accuracity. It is absolutly necessary to check this prior flying the approach. You will see on your Charts that behind that approach stands (AR). This means Authorization required. This is not because of the approach itself, but only for the missed approach procedure as such. Make sure the tunr between WI007 and WI008 is correctly shown to you or reject that approach and fly the LOC DME EAST or RNP E instead. Now lets start. This approach starts at RTT where you are required to have 9500ft. Start your speed reduction latest here and start setting flaps. Continue to WI002 and start your descend according to the Profile. You only have to published minima, they depend on how accurate your FMC works, if unsure take the higher minima. Your minima is behind the Final approach Fix (FAP WI003). When performing a Go around start climbing as soon as practisable and without increasing speed. Follow the RNP Track back to RTT. Do not accelerate above 165KTs until passing WI008.

RNP Approaches for Runway 08

In earlier times, before there was the possibility of an RNP/RNAV approach coming from the west and approaching Innsbruck was very challenging. You only had the chance flying the LOC DME WEST approach or visually through the valley. Many pilots performing the LOC DME WEST approach requested to continue visual when there was good weather. Out of this two RNP Approaches comming from ELMEM were establsihed to avoid using the time expensive LOC DME WEST approach. Preparing this approach is the same as for Runway 26. You must confrim that the Fixes on the approach and missed approach are correct, as well as the ALT and speeds. Familiarize with the approach prior to flying it. These are probably some of the most stunning RNP approaches there are in Europe, they will lead you through the valley to the Airport. This again comes with the concern of NAV accuracity. check it before flying it!


One of the first published RNP Approaches in Austria. This beautiful approach can nowerdays be seen as a cloud breaking procedure with a visual part thereafter. it is mostly cleared with good weather and gives the pilot a lot of chances of manual reajusting when necessary. This approach is only LNAV published and has therefore the highest minimum of any approach in Austria (7100ft AMSL). Tower is using the wide visual part often for visual swingovers when needed, so prepare for them as well! But let´s start at the beginning. this approach starts, like every other approach from the west, at ELMEM. As for every other approach start reducing speed here and set flaps. Also you must set your Local QNH when cleared on the approach. Thereafter follow the approach to WI814. when passing 7100ft you must be able to see the ground (not the Airport) to continue down the valley. It is highly succested to turn off the AP latest WI814 and continue visually. After WI814 it is a visual maneuvor and the Waypoints given thereafter are only for orientation purposes. Enjoy that approach on a beautiful day and be stunned by the surrounding mountains around you. When you don´t have the Runway in sight at WI814 go around to RTT and try it again from the other side. when you continue and get a go around expect to go visual to RTT.


The complete opposite of our wonderful cloud breaking procedure is this approach. This one leads you directly through the valley as guided RNP approach. As you can see this approach has the (AR) tag as well and needs in real life special authorization. This comes from 2! predetermend curves between WI751 and WI752 and WI753 and WI754. Make sure your plane can fly these turns otherwise you will have a big problem sucessfully getting down the valley. Also make sure your FMC has a accuracity of at least RNP 0.3 to avoid dating a mountain on your way down. With a descend Angle of 3.6 degrees this approach is nearly as deep as the LOC DME EAST approach. So don´t forget to reduce speed and set flaps prior to starting the approach. The RNP Z approach Runway 08 itself starts at ELMEM. Don´t forget to set the local QNH prior to starting your descend. After passing ELMEM proceed to WI749 and mantain 13.000ft. When passing 13.000ft start your descend according to the profile. Watch closely when flying the turns during the approach. The Decision ALT is only 1000ft AGL so over 4000ft lower as the RNP Y approach. This approach doesn´t include a visual part as well and can guide you down to the Runway completly. The missed approach goes via WI103 and WI102 to RTT. When Airport is not insight at the minimum Go around. The missed APP ends in the RTT holding. This approach is cleared, when coming from the west and weather minima do not allow the RNP Y approach. If unable to fly this expect direct RTT and expect approach from the other side.

Föhn procedures

"Föhn" procedures are at pilot's request. Föhn operations lead to rwy08 only and are visual only (with Föhn, view is excellent).

  • Arrivals come from RTT and descend high along the northern ridge between 8000 and 5000ft, were turbulence is least. Above the airport (sometimes as far as Seefeld) aircraft turn left and dive for base and final rwy08. There is no LOC DME West Approach at Föhn.
  • Departures leave 08 with max rate of climb and drift left to the northern slope to climb out visually.
  • ADILO departures also climb on the northern slope and turn westwards above the turbulent area.
  • KPT departures are not recommended, as this SID turns very early = low in the middle of turbulence. Rather do the Föhn departure to the East, and when clear of peaks, request direct KPT.

VFR Approach and departure

... is really nice in Innsbruck. Be aware of the following points:

  • Innsbruck is CTR and TMA, which means: Don't fly around uncontrolled. You have to say your intentions and cleared by Tower (in CTR) or Approach (in TMA) and receive clearance to do that. "Flying in the vicinity" is too vague to be cleared. DO NOT ENTER CTR OR TMA WITHOUT CLEARANCE! There are plenty of large birds flying around IFR - they are not obliged to look out for you (and they never do).
  • Helicopters from the heli station south or the airport (ICAO: LOJO, pronounced "Lojo" by Locals) are not part of the airport: You need clearance to fly in CTR, but TWR will tell you "takeoff at own discretion". Helis from the airport need a takeoff clearance.
  • Gliders operating from the grass runway north of the tarmac is the same. Local procedures require winch operators or pilots to ask for CTR entry, but not for takeoff clearance. Same is for landing: If you operate within the glider area (see VFR chart), then act at your discretion. You might want to avoid a B777's wingtip turbulence though.

Entry and exit altitudes

Innsbruck is a CTR, so you need to request clearance from Innsbruck Tower before entering and leaving. The Innsbruck CTR reaches up to A7000ft (see the blue area on Alex Arlow's map):

LOWI airspace arlow scn.jpg

Around and above, there are TMA, which are controlled by Innsbruck Approach. Their purpose is to protect IFR aircraft from VFR thin air heroes.

Usually, you won't want to mess with TMA unless you fly a scenic high route over the alps. If you do, you need to make sure, where you are and how high you are.

  • If you leave CTR to the above, you hit a LOWI 1 TMA for sure.
  • If you leave up the Brenner valley and stay less than 1000ft over ground, you are free after leaving CTR.
  • If you fly down the Valley (to Germany) and you stay below A8500ft, you're free after leaving CTR.
  • If you fly up the Valley (towards Arlberg), stay within 1000ft above ground and you're free. Same for leaving via Seefeld to Germany.

If you are about to enter a controlled area, you need to request permission:

  • For CTR, request entry from Innsbruck Tower.
  • For TMA, request entry from Innsbruck Radar (Approach).
  • For CTA in Class D (that's outside TMA and between FL125 and FL195), request entry from Innsbruck Radar (Approach).
  • Hell knows why you want to fly VFR above FL195, and only Hell will clear you - it's IFR only.

VFR entry

If you have clear view, then avoid all TMA - Approach is busy with IFR and won't be happy. That means, you have to stay below the TMA lower limits. You will only have to request entry into CTR from Innsbruck Tower.

From the North: Mostly coming from Munich, aircraft use the wide valley at Mittenwald and Seefeld. What is called the NOVEMBER route (NOVEMBER1-NOVEMBER2-WHISKEY2-INDIA) lets you approach the airport from the West. You should contact LOWI_TWR at NOVEMBER 1 at the latest and be at 7000ft or below to avoid TMA.

From the East: ... comes up the Inn valley and is called the MIKE-route (MIKE1-MIKE2-MIKE3). This route somehow criss-crosses the valley for a good reason: It nicely squeezes VFR traffic under and besides the LOC DME East approach. If you come out the Zillertal (south of MIKE1: FOXTROT), then you could request clearance direct FOXTROT-MIKE2: You will climb high and descend fast, and the route crosses the LOC DME East approach, so maybe you are cleared FOXTROT-MIKE1-MIKE2. Stay below 9500ft (LOWI 5 TMA) and 8500ft (LOWI4 TMA) before entering CTR.

From the South is the route down the Brenner valley (BRENNER-SIERRA). Report to LOWI_TWR at BRENNER and then descend 1000ft over ground until you reach 7000ft to avoid LOWI 1 TMA.

From the West is the Whiskey-Route (WHISKEY1-WHISKEY2-INDIA) down the Inn valley. Stay below below 10500, 9000 and 7000ft (LOWI 3,2,1) to avoid TMA, or even simpler: Descend with 1000ft over ground until you reach 7000ft, and you are good.

VFR Approach and Landing

Tower will clear you how to approach the airport and land, and he might do that quite eclectic - TWR will tell you which route, which reporting points, where to hold and how to turn into final. DO NOT FLY NORTH OF THE AIRPORT without being told - Virtual rock climbers complain about the virtual holes and debris in the virtual mountains, made by virtual aircraft, and gliders operate there too.

Some common clearance examples:

OEDAP, enter Control Zone via Mike Routing in 3.500ft or below Squawk 7000 QNH 1001, expect Runway 26, report Mike 1.
OESWX, enter Control Zone via November routing, Whiskey 2 and Golf in 7000ft or below, Squawk 7000, QNH 1014, expect Runway 08

VFR leaving CTR

... is just the other way around, and you will usually receive exit clearance together with taxi or takeoff clearance.

Want a nice VFR round?

  • Fly out November route and turn right at NOVEMBER1, crossing the Karwendel until Achensee, where you can descend and enter CTR at MIKE1. Keep below 7000ft until NOVEMBER1 and then up to 1000ft above peaks, until you reach MIKE1 with 7000ft or below.
  • You can continue after MIKE1 across to FOXTROT up the Zillertal (below 7000ft or 1000ft over ground), fly up to the glacier-covered peaks and descend the valley to BRENNER, reporting back to land.

On the ground

(see the aerodrome chart, which is [here].)

X-Plane Screenshot of LOWI
  • The far eastern part is for General Aviation (GAC East).
  • The middle part of the apron is for larger birds.
  • Local General Aviation is at the very Western part in front of Hangars I, II and III.
  • In the western part is a "cutout" in the grass. On earlier charts, this was marked as helipad. Some choppers still use it.
  • Rescure and police helicopters operate from the "Flugrettungszentrum" (ICAO: LOJO), which is south of hangar III and the engine run stand. Local pilots pronounce it "Lojo" and don't spell it. LOJO is not part of any standard package. Giannis MSFS add on scenery has it, and X-Plane has it too. LOJO is not part of the airport, but within the airport's CTR, so you need entry clearance by TWR and route to LOJO, but no landing clearance - land at your discretion. Taking off is the other way around: CTR entry clearance by TWR and takeoff at your discretion.
  • The Apron has no predefined "stands" in real life. In real life, aircraft are handed off to the follow-me car. As there is no car at VATSIM, you are most likely to given instruction:
LOWI_TWR: LHA123, taxi to stand of your choice

IFR Departure

Caution (1): Innsbruck normally has no fixed runway configuration (unless required by wind or traffic). As heavy metal aircraft can only land runway 26 and only takeoff rwy08, expect to depart either way, or even be recleared from one direction to the other.

Caution (2): For most departures, you need OEJ VOR, which is not part of MSFS standard installations. Try X-Plane or look for an add-on, like [Gianni's "Approaching Innsbruck"] payware or fly an approximation.

Caution (3): With Navigraph AIRAC cycles >1213, you will not find all SIDs in your FMC - in fact: only very few. Look at the charts and fly them "the old fashioned way". SID´s with H are visual and might not be in your FMC. When unable to fly a SID with a visual part, expect clearance via a RTT departure and a direct thereafter

SIDs out of runway 08

(See the SID 08 Chart here)

Standard SIDs via RTT

The following SIDs all have the same pattern: RTT3J, OBEDI3J, UNKEN2J, KOGOL3J.

You take off on runway heading from runway 08 (max rate of climb), until you grab the 067° inbound LOC OEJ. You continue the 064° outbound radial until at 9.500 ft. There, you will most likely receive a direct instruction to your waypoint from Innsbruck Approach. If you are too low, you must fly past RTT NDB, do a left turn back to RTT and then continue. Usually you do not have to fly the holding entry, unless advised by the Radar, otherwise just continue after RTT as filed.

Important: If Tower tells you "max rate of climb", then do so. It is likely that an LOC DME East inbound aircraft is on its way, which should be way below you. If you don't have 5.000 feet at RUM NDB, you are not climbing enough. Standard climb rate is 4,8% minimum until passing 6700ft.

Clearance Altitude is FL160 at low traffic. At high traffic, you are cleared to a lower altitude (where a "hole" in the RTT holding is free to fly through). Stick to it or hit another fellow aircraft. All departures passing RTT can expect initial climb clearance of FL120. the rest FL160.


ADILO is to the west. How to get there from runway 08? Look at the chart: it's straight out to OEJ LOC (109,70 KHz) where you should have minimum 7500ft, then a steep right turn to INN NDB (420) with max speed 165 Kts and to ADILO.

Important: This SID is definitely "max rate of climb" - you won't manage the turn above OEJ at high-speed-and-low-altitude. The chart says that you need to climb at least 8,8% (535ft/nm) until OEJ and then 6,5% until completion of turn. Minimum bank is 25°. To be on the safe side: Stay below 160kt for the turn and set the bank to 30°.


... is a departure route directly to the South. You fly out runway heading, turn left and grab the 67° inbound radial of OEJ. You have to climb hard (8.8%!) for this. Past OEJ you turn steeply right with max 165Kts to INN NDB, where you turn right to BRENO. If you miss the last turn, you can try an emergency landing at the Stubai Glacier.

KPT5J Special Performance

It is similar to ADILO2J, but you MUST climb really hard (10,2% or 620ft/nm until INN NDB) to reach RUM NDB at 4700ft or above, then make a steep right turn max speed 160Kts to meet INN at 9400ft (which is already almost clear of peaks). They you fly direct to MOGTI. When passing DME 39 of KPT you must be 11500ft or above. Thereafter direct to KPT VOR. Stay below 250kt (and well below for the turn) until 11500ft and have a bank angle of at least 25°.


The RTT2Q departure is other than the RTT3J departure a "standard" RNAV departure. Departing Runway 08 on heading 075 to WI520 with max speed 180Kts. Thereafter via WI521 (max speed 180Kts) and WI522 to RTT. Mantain max rate to 11.000ft. Do not enter the holding over RTT unless directly cleared to do so.

SIDs out of runway 26

Runway 26 is westbound. Still, most SIDs go to the East! All eastbound SIDs out of runway 26 start with a visual manoevre, except for one: The valley up the Inn is steep, but shortly after the airport it widens a bit. When you take off, configure your plane for slow-speed-and-max-rate-of-climb (165kt or below). You climb max rate, do a slight right turn to follow the big wall (Martinswand), and once above 3.200ft (terrain below!), you do a steeep (minimum 25° bank) left turn and grab the 67° inbound radial of OEJ (109,70). Make sure you receive the Localizer (Standard MSFS don't have it) and that you don't fly past the localizer to avoid the mountain.

Standard SIDs runway 26 via RTT

... are RTT4H, KOGOL4H, UNKEN3H and OBEDI4H: Fly out by hand, leaning slightly right after takeoff, then sharply turning left for more than a 180° turn to grab the OEJ 66° inbound radial. Past OEJ, fly 64° outbound radial past RTT and turn back left. Nobody flies this: As soon as you are clear of peaks (10.000 for KOGOL and UNKEN, 13.000 for OBEDI), APP clears you to cut the corner.

Since November 2016, there is no more RASTA3H departure. Expect the RTT2H departure to enter the SAXFRA area, from which you fly directly to your SAXFRA exit point.


You won´t find the BRENO3H departure in your FMC because the initial turn is made visually. You start by climbing on Runway heading up to 3200ft and make a sharp right turn (25-30 degree bank, max speed 160KTS) to heading 065 and intercept the RUM NDB. At RUM intercept OEJ on Course 065. When passing the station, you make a sharp right turn with not less than 25 degrees bank and not more than 165Kts to INN NDB. After passing INN direct BRENO. Start accelerating once above 13.000ft or after INN NDB

MOGTI3H departure

This departure is great fun. It's a visual departure straight out runway 26 (you are guided by fixes, but fly by hand until passing 4000ft). At WI506 you kick in the FMC and fly instrument via WI507 and WI802 and MOGTI.


... is a RNAV departure for heavy birds. This SID has by far the steepest initial climb (780ft/NM) until passing 8470ft, thereafter it is pretty low. This SID can only be flown by Jets and Turboprops due to the climb gradient required. This SID has no visual part in it and can be flown fully RNAV. This SID is only cleared on request.


... is a special performance departure due, to the navigational equipment required. This is the SID with the lowest rate of climb required towards MOGTI along waypoints. Expect to be cleared this SID when the weather is very bad.


... is a RNAV departure for heavy birds. You fly along waypoints up the valley, turn around, fly back over the airport and to RTT NDB. In Practice, you fly it until clear of peaks and then turn direct RTT NDB when instructed to do so by Approach. Do not increase speed above 165Kts until passing WI008!

Most common error

... on the initial visual circle is to tune in the 65° bearing of OEJ into the VOR localizer or heading and engage the autopilot after takeoff. These folks do not turn left, but right directly into the Martinswand wall. Why? Because most autopilots turn the shorter side, and the shorter side is a right turn! Virtual rock climbers will complain about the noise and the debris.

Visual climbouts

... are available on pilots' request towards either side. You are cleared for a visual departure along the valley. Once clear of peaks, you get a direct to the next waypoint of your route.

Weather minima

At VATSIM, weather minima are sort of - virtual, by definition. Pilots can fly in and out with CAVOK. However, if you fly "as-real-as-it-gets", you have the real weather tuned in. Please fly Real weather and winds when approaching Innsbruck. Otherwise keeping seperation between Aircrafts, especially in holdings or on approach is close to impossible. Let the Controller know, when you do not have real weather. Controllers in Innsbruck will clear approaches and SID´s according to the METAR and current weather situation.

VFR flight

Standard weather minima apply to this.

IFR arrivals

  • 5km flight visibility
    For LOC DME East this means: At 5,5 DME OEV you should see ground, slopes and the runway or go around.
    For LOC DME West this means: Overflying the airport, you should see the airport which is roughly 1,5km below you, and at RUM DNB you should see ground and the right mountain slope, which is a good 2km away (if you don't see the slope, you can't turn without hitting it).

It is up to pilots to monitor conditions at landing!

IFR departures

  • Ground visibility: 1.500m AND
  • Ceiling: 1.300m
  • Exception 1: for Special Performance Departure: RVR 300m.
  • Exception 2: For departure from Rwy 08, if low fog, mist or snow blowing over the airport:
    RVR 600m AND
    visibility >5km above this layer AND
    no further clouds 3.100ft AAL

It is up to pilots to monitor conditions, but Tower may deny takeoff clearance if visibility is below minima according to METAR (But VATSIM controllers are polite - they don't like to deny anyone taking off - so it's most likely up to pilots again).

More information


is an addition to show the sequence, when and where things have to be done, and can be found here: LOWI for pilots checklist