Proposed change to HNL VFR arrival routes

The Honolulu Control Facility has created a working group to consider changes to VFR arrival procedures at HNL. Their primary goal is to minimize the potential for conflicts between 8L air carrier arrivals and VFR overfly operations for runway 4R.

The proposal calls for vectoring VFR aircraft inbound from the East over Koko Head offshore at 2000′ to make a straight in approach to runway 4R. This would replace the current Freeway VFR arrival during sunrise to sunset operations. After sunset, when air carriers move to runway 4R, the Freeway VFR arrival would be used, but would now lead to vectors for landing on runway 8L. These arrivals would be requested on 124.8.

Both the VFR Kona arrival and the VFR North arrival would remain unchanged.

An additional VFR arrival would be coordinated between JRF and HCF to permit VFR departures from JRF over the water to join the 4R final.

VFR Arrivals from NORBY or JULLE would be vectored for an “off shore” arrival as is presently done on pilot request. Arrivals from NORBY would use 124.8, and from JULLE the 119.1 frequency.


Any changes to arrival procedures would likely be implemented later this year.

The FAA is taking formalized input on this proposal from all stakeholders. GACH is prepared to accept your comments and pass them onto the FAA, or you may choose to provide input to the FAA Safety Risk Management panel directly. Please add your comments to this post for others to see, or email them to If you wish to provide in person comments to the SRM panel directly, please contact to get the teleconference information.

We’d appreciate all comments be submitted by August 25th. The SRM panel will be on Tuesday August 29th.

Any changes to arrival procedures would likely be implemented in mid-2018.

VFR Arrival Flow
Posted in GACH.


  1. I am a Private Pilot who has been flying in Hawaii on and off since 1979 under both VFR and IFR conditions, overall roughly 3,500 hours in PIC time. I have never experienced any difficulties with the current Freeway coded arrival, and I think it makes more sense than the proposed alternative of using vectors around to 4R. I have flown the vectored approach many times, too, and find it much longer, not to mention that it places us much farther from shore. Not much chance of staying within gliding distance to shore from 2,000 ASL using the proposed arrival! Is there really a problem with the existing Freeway arrival? This change can also be expected to cause delays in the use of 4R. In short, the vectored arrival/approach for light GA aircraft should be avoided whenever possible, and I can’t understand why it’s being proposed when the existing arrival works so much better. Thank you for hearing me out on this.

  2. The freeway arrival has always had 3 problems: 1. at 2000 feet, it is often very difficult to maintain VFR distance from clouds, 2. So close to the mountains, there is often turbulence, and 3. Many aircraft have difficulty descending from 2000 feet down to pattern altitude along the downwind. However, this proposal brings too many other problems. It requires going far beyond gliding distance from shore. It requires greater skills, since following exact headings from radar vectors takes more skill than just following a prominent road. This is no issue for IFR pilots, but for VFR pilots, this may present a difficulty. I could support this proposal if the vectoring were kept within maybe 4 miles from shore, and would allow turning to the 4R before reaching the straight-in course, rather than being what looks like 10 miles from shore and all the way to the 4R localizer. Even IFR vectors for visual to 4R are less lengthy than the diagrammed vectored route. As it is pictured, the route is just too cumbersome. If deconflicting with jet traffic into 8L is the goal, a better solution would be to change the existing freeway arrival to turn left at and over Aloha Tower for a right downwind to 4R instead of a left downwind. I realize that this results in a pattern miles wider than typical, but it is better than being vectored ten miles offshore along the whole arrival. Jets inbound/outbound using 8’s would have several miles between them and the freeway arrivals, deconflicting the traffic.

  3. The result of the SRM panel on the 29th was to defer the VFR changes indefinitely.

    Mahalo to those who provided input. GACH will continue to be involved with any future plans that effect General Aviation aircraft in Hawaii.

  4. A great tool for training the ear to radio communications ( Just click on the green listen button for the comms group desired. I like to listen to both Tower Control and Arrival/Departure before I go flying. An excellent way to warm up the ear if unfamiliar with Honolulu or any other airfield. Also great for the less frequent Kama aina flyer. Pass this along, CFI’s. Your students are clamoring for a comms training aid. Stay safe and Aloha!

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