Instrument Approach Charts and Arrivals

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Arrivals and Approach Charts

2 classes of navigation:
Class I operations within service volumes of the nav aids
Class II operations outside normal service volumes (transoceanic, artic ect.)
INS, GNSS, Doppler

Descent Planning
Most of what we do is taken care of in form of step downs given by ATC
If you’re flying something faster; fuel, time, distance and descent rates become critical planning components
The “approach gate” resides 1NM outside the FAF, no closer than 5NM from the threshold
Rule of thumb for descent planning:
Divide altitude to be lost by 300
For example 6,000/300 = 20NM

Descent Planning
For a 3 degree glidepath:
Multiply groundspeed by 5
120kts x 5 = 600 fpm
Top of descent (TOD)
Used in VNAV computers to start the descent
A lot of GPS’s will do this for you
Also FMS does this
For jets, use a 3 to 1 formula
It takes 3 NM to descent 1,000 feet

Descent Clearances
Crossing restrictions given by ATC
“cross PEWYE at 4,000 cleared approach”
“cross PEWYE at or above 4,000 cleared approach”
Descend at optimum descent rate until within 1,000 feet then slow to 500-1,500 fpm
If a lesser descent than 500 feet must be made, tell ATC
“at pilots discretion” gives you the option of descending when you choose
You may level off temporarily but may not climb back to an altitude you have departed without clearance
Same idea as the climb at pilots discretion we covered earlier
If you want pilot discretion you may request it by the way
Handy for when you’re picking up ice

9,000 people have bought the farm here
7.2% happened during the descent phase
Poor situational awareness is a common factor
Poor communication between aircrew and ATC is another
Don’t always count on ATC to correct your readback
You actually have to use your head sometimes

Standard Terminal Arrival Routes
Published in the front of the TPP
These start at the enroute phase and dump you out close to where the approach begins
The objective of the STAR is to facilitate movement from the enroute structure to an approach gate, outer fix, approach fix or arrival waypoint
Like a SID they lower controller workload and give the pilot a heads up on what’s coming
They can serve more than 1 airport
Descent gradients
Above 10,000 msl typical descent gradient is 318 fpnm (3 degrees)
Below 10,000 msl it’s 330 fpnm (3.1 degrees)

Jepp Version
Need FMS or GPS to fly these
Usually have flyby waypoints
Just like the SID for obstacle clearance, max turn angles and leg length in the primary and secondary areas

STAR Clearance
4 ways:
1. “cleared zoomer 1 arrival, descend and maintain 8,000”
Fly the procedure but level at 8,000 even though 5,000 is on the chart
2. “descend via the zoomer 1 arrival”
Fly the procedure and adhere to altitudes published
3. “descend via the zoomer 1 arrival except cross zoomer at 8,000”
4. “proceed direct knock, descend via the zoomer 1 arrival”

STAR Clearance
This term “descend via” is brand new and is catching some people
So watch out
STAR’s are usually named for the fix at which they begin
When enough data changes they renumber it
STAR Procedures
Just like the SID you can file for a specific STAR in the remarks section
ATC may add one even if you didn’t file for it
You can’t comply
You don’t have the charted procedure
If RNAV STAR, has to be in the database
You just don’t feel like flying a STAR today
ATC will probably get a little upset at this unless you give them a heads up on the flight plan

STAR Procedures
So how do you know what STAR to expect?
3 ways:
What did the guy in front of you get?
The controller tells you
Most of these have comm failure procedures
However, radar vectors from the terminating fix to the approach may exist
In this case have a plan B

Descent Rules
Once cleared for an instrument approach, maintain the last assigned altitude until established on a published segment of the approach or segment of a published route
This keeps you from descending too soon and CFIT
If no altitude is assigned then you should already be established on a published segment and you may descend to that published altitude

ATC may request a speed adjustment
Usually no lower than 150 kts
If you can’t maintain that speed advise ATC
“Resume normal speed” is what you will hear when speed restrictions have been lifted
We don’t have this problem
Instead we usually get “best possible speed, Boeing 787 5 miles in trail”
Part 91 speed limits still apply in this case so be sure not to exceed 200 kts
Remember below 10,000 the limit is 250 kts, you’re expected to comply without being asked

The Need For Speed
It’s normal to level at 10,000 to slow to 250 kts
It’s normal to level at 2,500 to slow to 200 kts
Controllers plan for this tactic
The 250 kt limit doesn’t apply beyond 12NM from the coast
Under class B it’s 200 kts max
When you get cleared approach speed restrictions are lifted

Speed for holding was covered earlier
DME and GPS holding may require leg lengths instead of time
These patterns use the same entry and holding procedures as conventional holding patterns pg 3-21IPH
Some cases the controller may issue a leg length

Approach Clearance
Cleared for approach is a clearance to do any of the approaches to that runway
Eg. VOR, ILS, NDB and GPS all serve 32R
If they want you to do a specific approach the clearance will state which
Clearance direct to the IAF
Maintain last assigned altitude until established
Radar Vectors to final
Usually you are vectored into a race track pattern similar to the traffic pattern
No closer than 2 miles from the approach gate if IFR
If 500 feet above MVA and 3 SM you may get a close in turn
If your vectors take you across final, query ATC cause that’s not right
“60501, 5 miles from PELLY, turn left heading 350, maintain 3000 until established on the localizer, cleared ILS 32R approach
Normally you get handed off to tower just outside the FAF

Weather the Approach
Part 135 operators can’t list an airport as a destination unless at ETA the weather is at or above the minimums list on the approach
In fact they can’t even start the approach unless the wx is at or above mins
Part 91 has no wx requirements for doing an approach
You can do an approach over and over and nobody cares
Except for the school yard full of kids when you run out of fuel and crash into their playground equipment

Aircraft Approach Categories
Located in the front of the TPP
Based on 1.3 Vso
Helicopters may use the Cat A minima
Category A: Speed less than 91 knots.
Category B: Speed 91 knots or more but less than 121 knots.
Category C: Speed 121 knots or more but less than 141 knots.
Category D: Speed 141 knots or more but less than 166 knots.
Category E: Speed 166 knots or more.

Aircraft Approach Categories
So why all the fuss about how fast we do an approach?
So we don’t hit something while we circle

The Circle
300 feet obstacle clearance is maintained for circling altitudes
You must remain at circling altitude until the plane is in position to make a continuous descent to landing using normal descent rates
Circling only approaches are published when
Course is greater than 30 degrees from the runway heading
Descent gradient is greater than 400 fpnm to the threshold
A runway is not clearly defined (like a grass strip)

Missed Approach Off the Circle
Miss on the circle
Can you duck under?
Back in the clouds:
Start a climbing turn towards the landing runway
And continue the turn until established on the missed approach procedure

Chart Layout
Pilot briefing and procedural notes
Plan view
Profile view
Aerodrome sketch

Instrument Approach Charts
How are they named?
Procedure name based on
Airport location
If there are more than 1 approaches that use the same nav type they are lettered starting with Z and going backwards through the alphabet
For approaches that do not have straight in minima they are lettered starting with A and going forwards through the alphabet

It’s All In The Name
Primary navaid should appear in the name
If more than 1 navaid is required it will be separated with a /
Some approaches have no primary navaid like GPS
FAA control number
Date the approach was amended in Julian calendar format

It’s All In The Name
The city name
The airport name
Approach Charts
Pilot briefing section
Contains frequency
Approach course
Runway length
Touch down zone elevation
Airport elevation

Approach Charts
Nonstandard takeoff and alternate data
Notes section
Approach lighting
Negative symbology indicates pilot controlled lighting
Missed approach

Approach Charts
Communications strip
Arranged in the order you use them from left to right

Approach Charts
Plan View
Conformal projection that displays correct angular relationships
Main procedure course in bold
Missed in dashes
Highest altitude in bold
5NM to 1inch
Jepp charts have a scale on them

Minimum Safe Altitude
For emergency use only
Based on the primary navaid
Gives 1000 feet obstacle clearance no matter in mountainous or not
25 NM some are 30 NM

Approach Charts
Profile view
Read it along the line
Approach slopes
Vertical distance
In feet MSL
Threshold crossing height
Theoretical height above the runway threshold if on glideslope
Missed approach instructions

Approach Charts
Minima section
Performance categories
Straight in minimums
RVR or vis in SM
Height of MDA or DH in AGL
HAT – Height above touchdown
Circling minimums
Numbers in parenthesis are military minimums

Approach Charts
GPS minima

VDP visual descent point
Point at which using a normal descent rate the threshold will be made
After this point a higher than normal descent will be needed
Descent prior to this point may be dangerous

Approach Charts
Aerodrome sketch
ELEV is the highest point on the landing area of the airport
Reference for cloud ceiling
Touchdown Zone Elevation
Highest point in the first 3000 feet of the runway
Runway lengths, widths, gradients
FAF to MAP distance
Groundspeed time reference for MAP
D indicates runway declared distance information available, published in AFD

4 different configurations:
1. minimum 3000
2. maximum 4000
3. recommended 5000
4. mandatory 2000



Types of Approaches
In the NAS, there are approximately
1,105 VOR stations
916 NDB stations
1,194 ILS
25 LOC- type directional aids (LDAs)
11 simplified directional facilities (SDFs)
235 LOC only facilities
Approach types
Of course the push is for GNSS approaches of which there are more than 10,000

Visual Approach
ATC may assign this type of approach
You may request this as well
Got to have the airport or preceding aircraft in sight
Once you report traffic in sight you are responsible for separation and wake turbulence
Must have VFR conditions 1000 and 3
Must remain clear of clouds at all times
You are responsible for obstacle clearance

ILS Categories
CAT I – 200 & ½ or 2400 RVR or 1800 RVR with touchdown and centerline lighting
CAT II – 100 & 1200 RVR and you have to be special in a special airplane or Helo
CAT IIIa – No DH (DH below 100) & 700 RVR
CAT IIIb – No DH (DH below 50) & less than 700 – 150 RVR
CAT IIIc – No DH & No RVR limits

The ILS plate has 2 approaches printed on the same sheet
The ILS and the LOC
They use the same basic fixes
They use the same basic navaids
Missed is the same ect.
The Final Approach Fix FAF is the lightning bolt for the ILS
The FAF for the LOC approach is the Maltese cross
You may execute the LOC approach at any time even on final
When loosing glideslope information transition to LOC straight in or circle
For this reason we always take the time at the FAF for the LOC
Rate of descent on a 3 degree ILS @ 90 knots is 478fpm
Know what power setting gives you this
Flight check for a job, ask or watch
The missed usually requires a climb straight ahead for a short time because you are so low

Parallel ILS
Parallel ILS – at least 2500 feet apart
Aircraft are staggered by 1½ NM if there is a special final monitor controller
Runways 4300 to 9000 feet apart, aircraft are staggered 2NM apart
If a final monitor controller is running the show no staggering is needed
Simultaneous parallel – 4300 to 9000 feet apart
Simultaneous close parallel – 3400 to 4300 feet apart
Precision runway monitor (PRM)
Certified to provide simultaneous independent approaches to closely spaced parallel runways
Radar updates every second
software projects where the plane will be 10 seconds in the future
2 tower frequencies are used simultaneously so no one misses a call
Special pilot training is required
Converging ILS – runways with an angle of 15 to 100 degrees
Each runway has its own ILS
MAP procedures can’t cross
Higher mins apply (700 & 2)
Side step maneuver
You are expected to commence the sidestep as soon as the runway environment is in sight

LOC and LOC Back Course
Non precision with 250 foot MDA minimum
The back course is the opposite runway approach
May have false glideslope, so ignore any glideslope indications
Reverse sensing with traditional VOR equipment
Reverse sensing can be defeated with an HSI set to the front course heading

Generally not aligned with the runway
May have straight in minima if within 30 degrees
Circling only if outside the 30 degree alignment
Some may have glideslope
Will be in the name if it has glideslope

Non precision
MDA as low as 250 feet
No glideslope information
Max descent rates of 400 fpnm
May not be aligned with the runway
May have a wider course of 6 or 12 degrees

Non precision
MDAs as low as 250 feet
Final approach course is usually set up so the runway centerline intersects at about 3000 feet out
For straight in, no more than 30 degree angle
Provides 300 feet obstacle clearance in the final approach area
Watch the descent rates on these, you want to be at your MDA and level so you can look for the runway before hitting your MAP

These are only as accurate as you can fly your heading (or have the DG set)
Getting phased out, but we still have one
Based off of magnetic bearings
Mag bearing measured clockwise from mag north
Relative bearing measured clockwise from the nose of the aircraft

Some approaches are for helicopters only
They are designated with the COPTER heading

Here is an ILS COPTER approach
Vectors to final course
Notice this is a CAT II
Takes you down to 100 feet

Radar Approaches
Located in the front of the TPP
2 kinds
PAR Precision Approach Radar
ASR Airport Surveillance Radar
The PAR gives both azimuth and vertical guidance and range
Basically an audio ILS
The ASR gives just azimuth and range
Basically and audio LOC
These are done over the comm with a special controller using special radar

Contact Approaches
You have to request this one
Must have 1SM vis and remain clear of clouds
No need to fly the IAP, so it saves time
You retain your IFR clearance
Separation from IFR and SVFR traffic included- no extra charge

Charted Visual Flight Procedures
CVFP for noise or environmental reasons as well as safety and efficiency
Must have the charted visual landmark in sight to continue
Wx must be 500 feet above the MVA/MIA and vis 3SM or more
If visual on the landmarks is lost or you loose the aircraft you’re following call ATC

Start by orientating yourself to which way to turn, check the plate
Figure an 80 degree turn
The book gives a lead of .5 if under 150kts, .7 actually works better if around 90kts
If using an HSI put the radial in front of you at the 90 degree point
From there on wait until crossing the next 10 degree radial then turn 10 degrees and rotate the OBS 10 degrees
Monitor the DME and adjust as necessary for wind drift

ARC Example
Reaching the 060 radial @ 10NM, turn left so that 050 is on the right hand 90 degree tick on the HSI
This will be a heading of 320
Set the OBS to 050, CDI needle will be in front of your position
Wait until the needle centers then turn to 310 on the heading
Set the OBS to 040 and repeat the process
Be sure to set 135 on #2 VOR so you don’t miss the turn inbound

ARCs to a runway are rare but here is one

Terminal Arrival Area

Must have a current database
Load the approach when you know which approach it will be
At 2NM from the FAF watch for it to go Active
If it doesn’t, RAIM is not available, you need to go missed
The minima:
LPV – localizer performance with vertical guidance
still non precision except on checkrides
HAT is published as a DA
200 & ½
Needs WAAS receiver no baro-aided allowed
May use baro-aided GPS
HAT is published as a DA
LNAV – lateral navigation
HAT is published as an MDA

These guys handle the enroute stuff and any approach stuff not handled by an Approach Control facility
An example is EAT, it is outside Grant Co Approach Control so Seattle Center handles the approach clearances
Look at the frequency box if your unsure who handles what
ARTCC radar is generally poorer than an approach control radar
As a result more reports may be necessary
Also higher altitudes may be required initially because of lack of radar coverage
You must close your own flight plan
When termination of the flight is at a towered airport they close it for you automatically

Approach Control
These guys handle all the instrument stuff in their domain
This would be Grant Co Approach 126.4

Tower vs Non Towered
Tower will handle both approaches and departures out to the limit of the class D
They are responsible for handing you off to approach
Sometimes they forget
An altitude call will remind them
Inbound make sure approach hands you to tower at the appropriate location, you are responsible for contacting tower prior to entering class D
At non towered airports you will be handed to unicom
If possible monitor CTAF on #2 at least 10 miles out before the hand off to see what the traffic is doing
You may have to cancel through FSS RCO if you can’t get center on the ground
If all else fails, use your cell phone, call FSS
You may cancel while airborne if you’re in VFR conditions and you’re damn sure you will remain VFR all the way to the ground
You can also relay a cancellation through another aircraft who is still airborne (last resort)

Approach Procedure Segments

Initial Segment
Feeder Routes are not part of the approach segment
DME arcs are because the whole arc is an IAF

Initial Segment
Starts at the IAF may include an intermediate fix (IF) after
Course reversal
Procedure turn, 45 degree angle to the course
Usually needs to be done within 10NM
Sometimes 5 NM for Copters
Speed limit of 200kts
4 times you don’t do a procedure turn:
Holding in lieu of a PT
Radar vectors
Timed approaches from a holding fix
Cleared for “straight in” approach

Obstacle Clearance In the PT
Primary area is 1000 feet
Secondary area is 500 feet at the inner edge tapering to 0 at the outer edge

Intermediate Segment
That part of the course aligned within 30 degrees of the final approach course
If an IF is published it begins there
If not it begins when you intercept the inbound course to the FAF

Final Segment
For precision approaches, minimum altitude for glide slope intercept
Usually depicted with a lightning bolt
For non-precision the FAF (Maltese Cross) or the point at which the aircraft is established inbound on the final approach course
Ends at the MAP
Some begin and end at the same fix

Missed Approach Segment
If no visual reference is made at the DH, DA or time is up on a MDA, it’s time to go missed
DH decision height is the point on the glideslope of an ILS if visual continue or if not go missed
DA decision altitude is the point on the GPS LPV if visual continue or if not go missed
MDA missed point is determined by:
If a turn is necessary do not start until crossing the MAP
You may be directed to fly straight ahead to an altitude before turning
Good rule of thumb is to climb to circling mins before turning if possible
You may go missed at any time, however you must fly the course after leveling off

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