An instrument approach or instrument approach procedure (IAP) is a type of air navigation that allows pilots to land an aircraft in reduced visibility (known as instrument meteorological conditions or IMC), or to reach visual conditions permitting a visual landing. The principles of air navigation are the same for all Aircraft, big or Small. Landing is the last part of a Flight, where a flying Animal, Aircraft, or Spacecraft returns to the ground Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC sometimes referred to as Blind flying, is an aviation term that describes weather conditions that normally require pilots to In Aviation, visual meteorological conditions (or VMC) are those in which Visual flight rules (VFR Flight is permitted—that is conditions
Approaches are classified as either precision or nonprecision, depending on the accuracy and capabilities of the navigational aids (navaids) used. Radio navigation or radionavigation is the application of Radio frequencies to determining a position on the Earth. Precision approaches utilize both lateral (localizer) and vertical (glideslope) information. The Instrument Landing System (ILS is a ground-based Instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an Aircraft approaching a Runway Nonprecision approaches provide lateral course information only.
The publications depicting instrument approach procedures are called Terminal Procedures, but are commonly referred to by pilots as "approach plates". Approach Plates is a common term used to describe the printed procedures or charts more formally Instrument Approach Procedures, that pilots use to These documents graphically depict the specific procedure to be followed by a pilot for a particular type of approach to a given runway. They depict prescribed altitudes and headings to be flown, as well as obstacles, terrain, and potentially conflicting airspace. In addition, they also list missed approach procedures and commonly-used radio frequencies.
Instrument approaches are generally designed such that a pilot of an aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), by the means of radio, GPS or INS navigation with no assistance from air traffic control, can navigate to the airport, hold in the vicinity of the airport if required, then fly to a position from where he or she can obtain sufficient visual reference of the runway for a safe landing to be made, or execute a missed approach if the visibility is below the minimums required to execute a safe landing. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC sometimes referred to as Blind flying, is an aviation term that describes weather conditions that normally require pilots to Radio navigation or radionavigation is the application of Radio frequencies to determining a position on the Earth. Basic concept of GPS operation A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the constellation of GPS Satellites high above the Earth An Inertial Navigation System (INS is a Navigation aid that uses a Computer and motion sensors to continuously track the position orientation and Velocity Air traffic control ( ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct Aircraft on the ground and in the air In Aviation, holding (or flying a hold) is a maneuver designed to delay an aircraft already in flight while keeping it within a specified airspace The whole of the approach is defined and published in this way so that aircraft can land if they suffer from radio failure; it also allows instrument approaches to be made procedurally at airports where air traffic control does not use radar or in the case of radar failure. Procedural control is a method of providing Air traffic control services without the use of Radar.
Instrument approaches generally involve five phases of flight:
When aircraft are under radar control, air traffic controllers may replace some or all of these phases of the approach with radar vectors (the provision of headings on which the controller expects the pilot to navigate his aircraft) to the final approach, to allow traffic levels to be increased over those of which a fully procedural approach is capable. Radar control is a method of providing Air traffic control services with the use of Radar and Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS-B It is very common for air traffic controllers to vector aircraft to the final approach aid, e. g. the ILS, which is then used for the final approach. The Instrument Landing System (ILS is a ground-based Instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an Aircraft approaching a Runway In the case of the rarely-used Ground-Controlled Approach (GCA), the instrumentation (normally Precision Approach Radar) is on the ground and monitored by a controller, who then relays precise instructions for adjustment of heading and altitude to the pilot in the approaching aircraft. In Aviation a ground-controlled approach (GCA is a type of service provided by air-traffic controllers whereby they guide aircraft to a safe landing in adverse weather conditions In Aviation a ground-controlled approach (GCA is a type of service provided by air-traffic controllers whereby they guide aircraft to a safe landing in adverse weather conditions Precision approach radar (PAR is a type of Radar guidance system designed to provide lateral and vertical guidance to an aircraft pilot for landing until the missed
Many instrument approaches allow for landing in conditions of low visibility. ICAO classifies ILS approaches as being in one of the following categories:
|Category||Decision Height (above threshold)||RVR limit|
|1||200 ft or greater||550m or 1800 ft|
|2||between 100 ft and 200 ft||350m or 1200 ft|
|3a||less than 100 ft||150m - 200m (see below)|
|3b||less than 50 ft||75m - 150m (see below)|
|3c||No DH||No RVR|
Cat 3 mimima depend on Roll Out Control & Redundancy of the Autopilot. Runway Visual Range (RVR is a term used in Aviation Meteorology to define the distance over which a pilot of an aircraft on the centreline of the runway can see the
Low visibility approaches are those in categories 2 and 3.
For larger aircraft it is typical that these approaches are under the control of the flight control system with the flight crew providing a supervisory role.
Traditionally smaller aircraft which lacked redundancy in the flight control systems could not fly these approaches. (Imagine a radio getting a glitch at the moment of flare which causes the airplane to "think" that a large correction is required. The result would, most likely, be a sudden turn which at low altitude would be catastrophic. ) A Head-Up Display allows the flight crew to fly the aircraft using the guidance cues from the ILS sensors so that if such a large deviation were seen, the pilot would be able to respond in an appropriate and safe manner. A head-up display, or HUD, is any transparent display that presents data without requiring the user to look away from his or her usual viewpont This is becoming increasingly popular with "feeder" airlines and most manufactures of regional jets are now offering HUDs as either standard or optional equipment. In addition a HUD can provide a low visibility take off capability.
For both automatic and HUD landing systems, the equipment requires special approval for its design and also for each individual installation. The design takes into consideration all of the additional safety requirements for operating an aircraft in close proximity to the ground and takes into consideration the ability of the flight crew to react to a "system anomaly. " Once installed, the equipment also has additional maintenance requirements to ensure that it is fully capable of supporting reduced visibility operations.
In all cases, additional crew training is required for such approaches, and a certain number of low visibility approaches must either be performed or simulated in a set period of time for pilots to stay 'current' in performing them.
For practical reasons Category 3c approaches are rare, but category 3b approaches are relatively common at major airports.
There are also air traffic control considerations with low visibility approaches: when using ILS, the integrity of the signal must be protected, which requires that certain areas of the airport close to the installations being free of other aircraft and vehicles. Also there must be bigger gaps between aircraft on final approach to both protect the ILS signal and to cope with slower runway vacation times. In addition, the airport itself has special considerations for low visibility operations including different lighting for approach, runways, and taxiways as well as the location of emergency equipment.
A decision height (DH) or decision altitude (DA) is a specified height or altitude in the precision approach at which a missed approach must be initiated if the required visual reference to continue the approach has not been acquired. The Instrument Landing System (ILS is a ground-based Instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an Aircraft approaching a Runway The Microwave Landing System (MLS is an all-weather precision landing system originally intended to replace or supplement the Instrument Landing System (ILS Precision approach radar (PAR is a type of Radar guidance system designed to provide lateral and vertical guidance to an aircraft pilot for landing until the missed A military is an Organization authorized by its Nation to use force usually including use of Weapons in defending its Country (or by attacking Basic concept of GPS operation A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the constellation of GPS Satellites high above the Earth WAAS Objectives Accuracy The WAAS specification requires it to provide a position accuracy of 7 The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS is a Satellite based augmentation system (SBAS under development by the European Space Agency, the The Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS is an all-weather aircraft landing system based on real-time differential correction of the GPS signal The Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS is a military all-weather landing system based on real-time differential correction of the GPS signal augmented In Aviation a ground-controlled approach (GCA is a type of service provided by air-traffic controllers whereby they guide aircraft to a safe landing in adverse weather conditions A localizer is one component of an Instrument Landing System (ILS This article is about the radio navigation aid see VOR for other uses A Non-directional beacon ( NDB) is a Radio transmitter at a known location used as an aviation or marine Navigational aid A radio direction finder ( RDF) is a device for finding the direction to a Radio source Localizer Type Directional Aid is of a comparable accuracy and use to the Localizer, except that LDA is not aligned with the runway Simplified Directional Facility or SDF is similar to a Localizer, although is not as precise Basic concept of GPS operation A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the constellation of GPS Satellites high above the Earth TACtical Air Navigation, or TACAN, is a Navigation system used by military aircraft A Surveillance Radar Approach (SRA or ASR is an Aviation term for a type of Instrument approach provided with active assistance from Air Traffic Control Height is the measurement of vertical Distance, but has two meanings in common use Altitude is the Elevation of a point or object from a known level or datum (plural data An instrument approach or instrument approach procedure (IAP is a type of Air navigation that allows pilots to land an Aircraft in Missed approach is an Instrument flight rules procedure which is a standard (but optional component segment of an Instrument approach. This allows the pilot sufficient time to safely re-configure the aircraft to climb and execute the missed approach procedures while avoiding terrain and obstacles.
A minimum descent height (MDH) or minimum descent altitude (MDA) is the equivalent of the DA for non-precision approaches, however there are some significant differences. It is the level below which a pilot making such an approach must not allow his or her aircraft to descend unless the required visual reference to continue the approach has been established. Unlike a DA, a missed approach need not be initiated once the aircraft has descended to the MDH, that decision can be deferred to the missed approach point (MAP). Missed approach point (MAPt or MAP is the "point prescribed in each Instrument approach at which a missed approach procedure shall be executed if the required visual reference So a pilot flying a non-precision approach may descend to the minimum descent altitude and maintain it until reaching the MAP, then initiate a missed approach if the required visual reference was not obtained. An aircraft must not descend below the MDH until visual reference is obtained, which differs from a DH in that an aircraft may descend below DH without visual reference so long as the missed approach procedure was initiated at or prior to the DH. For example, with a DH of 500ft AMSL, it is legal for a pilot to allow the aircraft to descend to 450ft AMSL if the missed approach procedure was initiated at or prior to 500ft. This would not be legal during a non-precision approach with a MDH of 500ft. This difference is due to the presence of vertical guidance during a precision approach, and thus terrain clearance near DH being less of an issue than near MDH during a non-precision approach.
If a runway has both precision and non-precision approaches defined, the MDA of the non-precision approach is almost always greater than the DA of the precision approach, due to the lack of vertical guidance of the non-precision approach: the actual difference will also depend on the accuracy of the navaid upon which the approach is based, with ADF approaches and SRAs tending to have the highest MDAs.
A straight in instrument approach is one where the final approach is begun without first having executed a procedure turn, not necessarily completed with a straight-in landing or made to straight-in landing minimums.
A circle to land maneuver is a maneuver used when a runway is not aligned to within 30 degrees of the track of the instrument approach procedure or the final approach requires 400 feet of descent (or more) per nautical mile, and therefore requires some visual maneuvering of the aircraft in the vicinity of the airport after the instrument portion of the approach is completed for the aircraft to become aligned with the runway to land.
It's very common for a circle to land maneuver be executed during a straight-in approach to a different runway, e. g. an ILS approach to one runway, followed by a low-altitude pattern flying, ending in a landing on a different runway. This way, approach procedures to one runway can be used to land on any runway at the airport, as the other runways may lack instrument procedures or their approaches cannot be used for other reasons (traffic considerations, navigation aids being out of service, etc).
Circling to land is considered more difficult and less safe than a straight-in landing, especially under Instrument meteorological conditions. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC sometimes referred to as Blind flying, is an aviation term that describes weather conditions that normally require pilots to
In some countries Instrument Rated Pilots are required to perform a minimum number of instrument approaches in a set period to remain current. Pilots may also have to fly a certain number of low visibility approaches (Cat 2 or Cat 3) to remain current at performing these. When practicing instrument approaches in visual meteorological conditions, a safety pilot is required. In Aviation, visual meteorological conditions (or VMC) are those in which Visual flight rules (VFR Flight is permitted—that is conditions A safety pilot is a certified pilot who scans for other aircraft while another pilot practices Instrument approaches or other maneuvers under simulated low visibility This is because the pilot practicing instrument approach must wear a view limiting device, which restricts his field of view to the instrument panel. A safety pilot's basic role is to observe and help to avoid traffic.
The requirements for an airport to offer instrument approaches is contained in FAA Order 8200. 97 AIRMAN AND AIRCRAFT APPROVAL FOR REDUCED VISIBILITY FLIGHT OPERATIONS, INCLUDING CATEGORY II/III OPERATIONS.