IFR systems equipment

RAAS Remote Alternate Altimeter Setting has been removed from many plates. Removal ceased in April of 2000 but no removed RAAS is planned for reinstatement.

Why Jepp Charts and not NOS?

Profile of descents is truly representative of what happens.
Procedure turns are fully charted.
The localizer frequency is near the localizer
Jepp uses a better font
An arrow points directly from the obstacle elevation to the obstacle.
The taxi chart can be used for taxiing.
Everything is made to scale if possible.
Loose-leaf format is easier to use.
Departure procedures and standard terminal arrival routes are on the approach charts.
Alternate status and departure procedures are on the chart.

Charts are made by the Office of Aeronautical Charting and Cartography (AC&C) from FAA and Department of Defence National Imagery and Mapping Agencies (NIMA) as well as the FCC and industry inputs. Over 7000 airport changes and 2500 navaid changes are processed. Additionally, the FAA's National Flight Data Digest has an additional 20,000+ lines of change related to the Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW) program which now totals over 80,0000 obstacles. Some 700 airspace changes occur annually along with over 500 airway changes. 500 GPS charts are created each year to go with over 6,500 Instrument Approach Procedure changes which totals over 20 volumes. These procedures are always issued in narrative form which is then charted graphically for pilot use with changes occurring in a 56 day cycle.

How reliable are your charts? There are over 10,000 changes in airports and navaids per year. Errors often are not corrected over a number of issues. Errors in charts are available through NOTAMs-distant, local and FDC. Distant NOTAMs are sent to all ATC facilities and FSSs. Local NOTAMs are sent only locally and are apt to be unavailable until you get near a far destination. Temporary flight restrictions and navaid problems appear as FDC NOTAMs.

Most chart errors, when they do occur, are not critical to flight safety. When flight safety errors do occur, ATC picks up the slack and warns pilots. Under 91.103 and using NOS Charts you do not have all available information unless you also have the latest change notices. The requirement that you have the latest charts also includes that you have the change notices. Current Jeppesen charts will automatically include the change notices.

One of the worst chart problems is running off the edge. Jepp charts have border information that can save your day. When an intersection is the next en route fix the border information will give the name and distance to that intersection. The use of the Lambert Conformal Conic Projection for en route charts make it so that a straight line between two points represents a great circle route--the shortest distance between two points.

All Jepp VORs have the 360 tick and compass rose. The box gives name, frequency, identifier, code, and class (power). A shadow box indicates that it is on an airway. If VOR information is not in a box it means that the VOR is not part of an airway. scalloped circle on the compass rose and/or a D before the frequency indicates DME. A black triangle in the rose means a mandatory reporting point. A small number in a black dot means that more related information is placed elsewhere. NDBs are depicted in green. Localizers are shown to show availability frequencies are given only when the localizer is used to form an intersection.

You cannot use any charted runway length as an accurate measure of distance since the charted figures are all rounded off. The front panels of the charts have the communications information. Each city has a chart panel identification for ease of locating. Bold print identifies the proper radio term to use for the facility.

For essentials, use post-its, and any other aid that comes to mind. As you develop preparation skills you will be building toward the time when you can meet the demands of reading the plate in the cockpit. Diagram the airport on the approach plate to orient yourself for a minimums break-out, or circling approaches. Very important for airports with intersecting runways.

The MDA is protected from obstacles from one mile after receiving the FAF to the MAP. DA is the lowest descent altitude authorized without use of a glide slope. Because of this above the MDA must be held all the way to the missed approach point. (MAP) The straight-in obstacle clearance can be as low as 250' but is usually higher through the use of remote altimeter and other factors. The circling under the same conditions is based on 350'.

For aircraft equipped for VNAV (vertical navigation equipment) almost every non-precision approach can be flown as though there were an electronic glide slope. This slope begins at the FAF and ends at 50' above the threshold. The descent angle is close to the three-degree considered optimum. This is the same slope as would be achieved using the fpm descent scale given on the plate for various approach speeds. .

Any runway with a VASI or PAPI has had an obstacle evaluation that allows an RNAV approach with a decision altitude inside of the MDA. A VDP (visual descent point) should be where the descent angle meets the MDA. The purpose of vertical assistance in non-precision approaches is to reduce the number of CFIT accidents.

Gift from the Internet
IThe www.naco.faa.gov web site is little cumbersome to download and print approach plates. So I created a little tool that simplifies the process and thought others might find it useful. The tool will assemble a single PDF document of all terminal procedures publications for one or more (max. of 3) airports. You can also select which types of approaches you'd like included and can also include airport diagrams, takeoff min. and radar min. Please be patient as the downloading and PDF assembling can take some time.
username/password is guest/guest

The IFR Approach Chart
The charted courses and altitudes are 'FAA guaranteed' safe. You cannot leave courses or altitudes until you see the runway. You cannot descend below VASI red over white in either VFR, IFR or night conditions.

When flying an approach we must know both straight-in and circling MDA. Once we go below circling minimums. The options are land or go missed. I have read several conflicting opinions as to the right to climb back to circling MDA or not. If wind conditions do not permit a straight-in and visibility does permit, you can climb to circling minimums with ATC clearance to use a different runway. All that counts is the visibility between you and the runway. On a circling approach stay at the MDA until turning final.

Night non-precision approaches should be limited to VASI equipped runways. A charted VDP is useless to a fast airplane and a short runway. Repeated attempts to make instrument approaches usually end in disaster.

GPS charts are now named RNAV because the FAA standard will put all forms of RNAV on one chart. The minimums for different systems will be different. LNAV minimums apply to IFR certified GPS.

Approach plates are designed to allow pilot nav operations. This makes the load on ATC lighter.

Magnetic directions of the earth change over the years. An ILS may become an LDA with glide slope
Concentric rings on a chart means that nothing is to scale beyond ten miles.
Obstacle and terrain information usually exists between the rings.
Textual information is usually warning you of 'killer' information

Military Field IFR Charts Are Available

750 plates available
These airports are PPRs or prior permission required to actually land.

The New Terminal Procedures Publications of NOS
Jepp type grouping of essential information.
Has Terminal Arrival Area for RNAV
PA when on chart indicates precision approach

Nice to Know Things

122.2 is the ‘universal’ FSS frequency using this is likely to blanket several stations.
Seldom used FSS discrete frequencies are 123.65, 122.75, and 122.05
RCOs or remote communication outlets have boxed titles as to location but the actual location is a dot within a small circle.
Some flight watch outlets are identified this way.
NDB information is in green. An NDB can have a DME.
When the airport is all capital letters there is an instrument approach available. Non-IFR airports are a mix of upper and lower case letters.
Where no-gyro approaches exist they are shown on the sectional chart legend by the letters ASR

Chart Legend

Tint colours range from light green to brown. The top colour gives highest elevation. All shading is based on lighting from the northwest. Contours are basic at 500’ apart with intermediate contours down to every 50 feet.

Boldface dot and number gives critical highest elevation. Other elevations are not boldface. An x marking an elevation is only approximate.

Highlight the Approach Plates:

Main NAV frequency
Final approach heading
First part of missed approach
Minimum descent altitude/decision altitude
Missed approach fix

Approach Plates

10mile distance rings are not limitation unless stated as a limitation.
Only data within the reference circle is drawn to scale.
Other dashed circles used to give information but not to scale
When distance is stated as "remain within" it is a critical safety altitude and distance.
Primary area gives 1000 feet of clearance
Secondary area gives 500 feet at innermost edge tapering to zero at the outer edge.

IFR Charts
The top heading boxes contain the frequencies most likely to be required in the order of common use. If multiple frequencies exist they will appear on other charts. An asterisk means part-time use and CTAF appears. Approach charts are diagrammed and listed under the assumption that they will be used for arrival. Airport diagram charts have frequencies listed as for departure.

Chart NOTAMs
These change with every new issue of Jepp charts. En route charts are listed first then terminal charts. These highlight things that did not arrive in time for inclusion in the new charts issued. these must always be updated by requesting NOTAMs from the FSS prior to flight.

The Mean Level of the Sea
Water level measurements at primary tide stations show that the problem is somewhat more complex than that. For one thing, mean sea level measured relative to the land - is changing.

Today, global sea level rise is occurring everywhere due to increases in water volume in the world’s oceans. But the chief reason for the difference in trend shown above lies within the earth’s crust.

Along with most of the U.S. East Coast, falls within a region where the crust is sinking – adding to the effect of a global rise in sea level. However, in many parts of the U.S. West Coast, and especially in Alaska, the crust is actually emerging faster than the global sea level rise rate.

Tidal Factors
Nothing is going to prevent sea level from changing in response to these and other factors. However, we can take sea level averages over several years to obtain a tidal datum - a vertical reference based on some phase of the tide - to slow the process if only temporarily. This is a workable idea because, in addition to sinking crusts and melting ice, tidal variations also have their effect on sea level.

One such effect is the 18.6-year cycle of the lunar nodes – a cycle accompanied by variations in tidal range. Another force for change is the annual variation in solar declination that modulates solar heating and density of ocean waters.

To account for both, a 19-year period of water level averaging – the National Tidal Datum Epoch (NTDE) – has been established in the United States. NTDEs have included the years 1924-1942, 1941-1959, 1960-1978, and most recently, 1983-2001. NTDEs thus are being updated roughly every twenty years.

1) Why nineteen years and not twenty?
"We can take sea level averages over several years to obtain a tidal datum - a vertical reference based on some phase of the tide - to slow the process if only temporarily. This is a workable idea because, in addition to sinking crusts and melting ice, tidal variations also have their effect on sea level.

One such effect is the 18.6-year cycle of the lunar nodes – a cycle accompanied by variations in tidal range. Another force for change is the annual variation in solar declination that modulates solar heating and density of ocean waters.

Basic definitions commonly used in the U.S. and its territories:
Mean Sea Level (MSL) Arithmetic mean of hourly water levels observed during current NTDE.
Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) – Mean of higher high water heights during current NTDE.
Mean High Water (MHW) – Mean of all high water heights observed during current NTDE.
Mean Low Water (MLW) – Mean of all low water heights observed during current NTDE.
Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) – Mean of lower low water heights during current NTDE.
Mean Tide Level (MTL) – A datum located midway between MHW and MLW
All tidal datums have elevations above some arbitrary but well-protected reference – usually the station datum or staff zero

Tidal Datum Transfers
1) Tidal datum elevations vary from place to place as dictated by tide wave hydrodynamics
2) Establishing the datum by direct means (19-year series every 20 years) is an exacting and expensive operation conducted at a relatively small number of primary tide stations. Fortunately, there’s an easier way called simultaneous comparisons.:

At a primary tide station, get the NOS tidal datum elevations for the current NTDE.
Obtain a month of tidal observations at station B matched by simultaneous readings at station A.
Calculate monthly mean tide level at both stations
Calculate the monthly mean range and the range ratio between the stations
If stations A and B are connected by a tidal waterway and we assume that both experience similar monthly deviations from mean tide level.

There are 175 stations all over the world. Here's a link that allows you to see each station:
http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov is a very cool web site! Check it out!

Altimeter Setting:
Any altimeter setting more than five miles from the ARP affects the landing minimums. No remote setting can be used beyond 75-miles or different than 6000 feet.

Minimum Sector Altitudes
MSA give 1000' obstruction clearance within 25 NM including mountains. MSA is measured from markers on ILS approaches, the NDB on NDB approaches and runway threshold on GPSs. MSA does not apply in mountains, which require 2000' obstacle clearance.

Minimum Safe Altitude
The Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) circle has nothing to do with the approach or the initial approach altitude or the approach segments or the procedure. The MSA is for emergency purposes only. Minimum vector altitudes (MVA)are usually below the MSA. The required obstacle clearance (ROC)of the TERPS procedures for making an instrument approach procedure also set that the ROC of the MSA must be 1000’ higher than any obstacle within the circle. The MSA circle may be divided into sectors for any approach except for the GPS approaches. The MSA is essentially a non-functional part of the approach plate.

Departure Procedure Plate Calls

After 400' AGL you are free to fly direct to first en route fix unless ATC applies a restriction.
Runway takeoff minimums for a runway apply to all departures unless departure itself has charted minimums.
200 feet per nautical ground mile climb applies if no gradient is specified.
A non-IFR runway can be used ONLY by Part 91 aircraft in good visual conditions.
Takeoff minimums apply only to commercial operations
Visual circling airport climbs should be used if climb gradient cannot be met.
ATC assigned departure procedure and climb gradient is mandatory regardless of higher ceiling and visibility.
IMC turns may be made passing 400' AGL when departure procedure requires turn of more than fifteen degrees with no turning fix or altitude specified.
VMC turns only at end of runway unless instructed by ATC.
Some runways have obstacles that prohibit publication of a climb gradient. Some runways have obstacles that require an early turn below 400'.
Pilot should challenge any ATC assignment in a departure procedure that changes or deletes a climb gradient. Part 91 can depart but are liable of obstacle avoidance. See: 91.177(a)(2)
ATC and RNAV departure procedures will be charted but simple one will be in text only and not be charted.
You can file any of the charted procedures or they may be assigned by ATC.
Category A and B aircraft may be restricted to holding pattern airspeeds.
Non-precision straight in approach plates will depict gradient and threshold crossing heights (TCH) unless on a precision plate.
Gradient is expressed as angle and feet per nautical mile from the FAF to threshold unless a step down fix exists and is used.
route funnels traffic into a narrow corridor.

Departure Procedures
There are no published takeoff minimums for Part 91 operations but where there are nonstandard minimums for the other FARs where the 200 feet per mile standard climb is not enough. Along with the non-standard required climb rate the procedure must specify a higher ceiling and visibility. The 200 feet per mile gives you 48' over the first obstacle a mile from the runway and 96' at two miles and so on. The standard departure expects that you cross the end of the runway at 35' agl. So at one mile you would be at least 283 feet above the ground and 83 feet above the obstacle.

Jepp Charts
Charts are portrayals of FARs approach procedures or TERPS (Terminal Instrument Procedures). Wording on charts is the same as on en route charts. Charts are alphabetical by state and city AS written and selected by the FAA. FAA selections often do not make sense. You can best find a difficult to locate airport by finding terminology used on enroute charts.

Charts are indexed by numbers. The lower the number the greater the precision. The codes are:
0--Area, departure procedure, STAR, taxiway facilities, Class B airspace
5-- reserved
6--NDB (ADF)
8--GPS, PAR, ASR, SRA, SRE (??)
9--VOR DME RNAV, Vicinity Charts, Visual Arrival, Visual Departure

The last digits of any two charts of the same approach type are sequenced by runway number. Airport diagrams are 10-9 so as to be sequenced before approaches. Diagrams on back of charts have chart number.

Communication frequencies are placed across the chart in sequential order. Missed approach is now at the top of the page. Navigation notes and MSA are always in the same place.

Heading data-briefing strip contains primary navaid, final approach course, field elevation and procedure identification and straight-in runway. Sidestep runways have higher minimums. Straight-n is not legal if approach is over 30 degrees off runway heading. --Any approach with DME in the title must use DME on the approach. Mention of DME in the plan view makes its use optional.

The title stated by ATC in the clearance is the approach to use.
Lowest ILS minimums require the localizer, glide slope, outer marker (or substitute like an ATC call), and visual aids. Otherwise higher minimums apply. ILS charts give altitude of glide slope at LOM as an altimeter crosscheck.
Briefing strip has final approach course, FAF and lowest minimums
Definition: Field elevation is the highest useable runway surface.
There may be an ATIS for both arrivals and departures. A D-ATIS has digital transmission capability.
R in Approach control box means radar while absence of R does not preclude existence of radar. Some approaches have an initial contact frequency instead of sector frequencies to use son arrivals.

Chart Notes
Approach plates can contain important information that is not prominent on the plan or profile view. Some notes are trivial. Life and death notes also exist. Life and death notes usually include reference to night approaches. Notes related to altimeter settings, and required equipment. Critical notices usually, but not always have the words 'caution', 'note, or 'warning'. Every approach aircraft is expected to have a VOR. 'Radar Required notes appear in larger type. Jepp charts often include NOTAM information not on NOS charts.

You can request and expect ATC to give you the particulars of an approach plate. (FAR 91.175) FAR 91.503 requires large aircraft, turbines, PART 125 and 13l5 to have a full complement of charts. the FAA has on record a letter that says that failure to have needed charts is a prima facie violation of FAR 91.103 relating to careless or reckless operation. The use of expired charts is not kosher according to the FAA. Jepps do not have expiration dates. (Oh!) A pilot in violation of any FAR can expect to have FAR 91.13 attached as a matter of course. A handheld GPS is not recognized by the FAA as part of the aircraft. Such a GPS therefore does not need a current data base.

You should know that there is a real possibility that instead of the step down approaches so common in non-precision charts, pilots may be given the option of a constant rate descent such as is available in Europe.

Climbs and Descents
Departure charts give minimum rates in feet per minute. Where charts give feet per mine you are well advised to make the conversion to fpm. Only by keeping your altitude higher that the minimums can you avoid terrain. For descents your gradient can be set with power, ground speed and checked with the vertical speed indicator.

The point of planned jet descent can be determined by selection of a distance that is three times the altitude you have to lose. To lose 4000 feet begin your descent twelve miles out. In prop planes a slower rate of descent can be projected over a greater distance. Plan your descent but be flexible in making power adjustments as power increases with descent. An approach descent must be based upon getting a selected ground speed and keeping it.

Training Standards
Every pilot is charged with knowledge of the regulations that pertain to him. You are supposed to know what you are supposed to know. Ignorance is never an excuse rather, it is an indictment of culpability. The training program should so prepare you that there is no guess work. Planning and preparation makes it so you are ready when there is more to do and less time to do it. Configure the aircraft and follow the black lines.

To help you focus on the specific information you need you will prepare two Post-Its with plate calls. One is for you and the other for the second pilot. A more permanent plate might be made for frequently used plates. A plate call is the numbers of the black lines on the plate. Some of these lines are in the plan view. others are from the profile view, the last is the initial missed approach figures.

Always list the columns and numbers in the same order for a plate call as left column Com frequency, Nav frequencies /idents, right column airspeed, heading, altitude, DME and time (as required). Airspeed implies aircraft configuration. There is no use practicing approaches until you have the power settings, airspeeds, trim, and configuration for the aircraft set so that you can takeoff and climb, cruise, approach, descend and configure with assurance, ease, and smoothness. Once you can fly the aircraft in a consistent profile you are ready to set up approaches.

One sequence of plate calls are:
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
1. Approach Frequencies ias, HI, alt
2. Inbound DME, time
3. Marker x-ing
4. DH-time
5. Missed

The training expectation is that you have studied, prepared and even memorized specific aspects of the charts at your destination. You need to have FAF altitude, time, DH/MDAs and initial missed information memorized, post-it posted or highlighted on the chart.

Jeppeson shows instrument airports by using all capital letters. Jeppesen are indexed by city; not airport name. Jeppesen charts have range rings are called airport reference circles of 5 statute miles in diameter, centred on the airport (See NOS rings). Jeppesen chart step downs are as they would be flown. A descent, level flight to the next step, descent, level flight etc. Jepps put frequencies in upper left corner. Sometimes difficult to tell if frequency goes with facility above or below.

Practice improvement in your chart reading skills by taking a strange plate. Looking up mentally ask yourself to locate some information that should be on the chart. Give yourself a count of three to get that information before looking up. Do this repeatedly until all essential information is acquired. Any chart search that takes over three seconds would indicate that you have probably initiated a heading excursion.

Some pilots never remove their plates from the binder. They find an innate advantage exists in having alternate plates instantly available. Plates currently in use can be held with heavy paper clips. Each instrument airport has a minimum of two plates - the airport chart and the approach chart.

Jeppesen "notes that kill" contain special instructions for altimeter settings, equipment requirements, circling instructions. Circling minimums are predicated on performance parameters of aircraft. Circling in the wrong area is a big NO. Circling minimums can never be lower than straight-in minimums.

The plan view is drawn to scale. This view gives transition routes, minimum altitudes, courses and initial missed route. It includes information required for determining fixes and highest obstacle. The profile view, below the plan view, gives the vertical cross section needed to determine crossing altitudes at fixes, procedure turn altitude and TDZ altitude of runway.  Jeppeson has added coloured contours when terrain exceeds 4000' above airport reference point (ARP).

Inoperative Tables
The Chart gives the inoperative components tables, why and wherefore of straight-ins versus circling and the category differences. When there are inoperative components plan for the missed approach The middle marker no longer changes minimums (1993) Your minimums do not change with a failure of equipment unless the minimums box list new DH/MDA or visibility for that failure.

Transition Routes (Feeders)
Transition routes are made so that an approach can be flown without ATC involvement. Pilots call them transitions and ATC calls them feeders. Feeders exist where the initial approach fix is not part of the en route structure. Feeders don't exist if the IAF is an intersection or a VOR shown on both charts and plates. An approved transition route is usually, but not always, depicted as a heavy line with a minimum altitude, course and distance. In a cluttered plate the routes may be a finer line with the information placed elsewhere on the plate. In the radar environment these routes are under used. The IAF is required in a non-radar situation. Some dead reckoning is allowed.

With a clearance you can fly off-route but become responsible for obstacle clearance. Transitions have minimum altitudes and distance given on the chart. A defining radial does not have these. A transition can be flown by DR but most have positive course guidance.

Preferred Routes
Computerized IFR routes really care nothing about how you have filed. Computers have canned standard preferred routes and tower enroute clearances. Some are published while others are both unpublished and unknown except by the local controllers. The difference between them is altitude. Between points filing at one altitude will/may give a completely different direction and route. The computer wants an end-to-end continuous route line. If the computer rejects your plan the specialist can specify "full route clearance" that tells clearance delivery to read the approved plan to you in full. You will not get "cleared as filed" in such an instance. No all preferred routes are published. If you don't like a particular clearance tell ATC. If you properly explain your situation the specialist will try to help.

Tower En Route Control
The tower En Route procedure offers the pilot flying the length of California another away around the program of the ATC route computer. Tower En route (TEC) can be found in the En route section just after the preferred route section of Jeppesen. The TEC system joins adjoining approach control facilities and avoids centre controlled airspace. TEC routes are short routes. Some transitions to centre can be accomplished. The TEC routes have identification names and altitude codes below 10,000.

Back of Lead chart as a "to-file-as alternate" block. If NA, it means that it cannot be filed as an alternate but it may still be used.

NOS Charts
Printed every 56 days with revisions on the 28th day as a Change Notice. Charts are indexed by city not be airport name. There is no consistency in this in sectionals or en route charts. Pilots need to search throughout NOS plates for information that is not consistently located. A/FD or airport guide required. Changes are best posted on to the chart on reception. You should never assume that a flip chart has not changed no matter how often you fly the approach. 16 booklets cover the U.S. FAA exam is bases on NOS charts.

NOS Layout
Index of airport terminal chart pages

Approach charts
"Notes that can kill you are below the minima box."
Airport diagram charts
Do not give centre of airport for LORAN or GPS
Standard Instrument Departure (SID)
IFR takeoff minimums and departure procedures
Textual/graphic display of standard terminal route clearances.
IFR alternate minimums
General information and abbreviations
STAR and profile descent charts
Airport Terminal charts

NOS Inoperative Tables
The Chart gives the inoperative components tables, why and wherefore of straight-ins versus circling and the category differences. When there are inoperative components plan for the missed approach The middle marker no longer changes minimums (1993)

Open Triangle
NOS charts use an open triangle to show obstacles. The elevation is shown as MSL and a + indicates the position is only accurate to 600'. All obstacles do not appear on a chart. Power lines less than 200' high are not shown.

Black Triangle T
Nonstandard takeoff minimums apply when the plate displays a black triangle with a T inside beneath the minima section. You must turn to the takeoff minimums section of the booklet. If your IFR departure instructions are not given in the clearance and the triangle T is there, you must refer to the takeoff minimums section and check for a special IFR departure procedure.

Black triangle A
Nonstandard alternate airport plate displays an A inside a triangle beneath the minima section. You must turn to alternate minima section in the book to find specifics.

Other Items

Frequencies in small type may be on left or right. Frequencies may not be visible if overprinted on water depiction.
NOS rings are called distance rings. Usually but not always 10 nautical miles in diameter. May not be centred on airport.
f an approach fix requires DME, the approach requires DME and should so state on the approach plate.
The lightning bolt where the glide slope intersects the arrival altitude set the FAF for the ILS.
The Maltese cross on the glide slope sets the FAF for non-precision approaches.
NOS plate has continuous descent line with no level flight depicted for a step-down approach.
Offset localizer has small dot-circle to warn chart reader. Offset is shown on airport view in lower right.
Plates are not to scale beyond 15 miles.
Every clearance must have an altitude restriction
Holding is 230 kts six to 14,000 and 265 at 14,001 on up.
the MOCA on an airway keeps you from CFIT
PLASI lights are pulsating visual approach slope indicator
MEHT is the minimum eye height over threshold (lowest height to see on glide path indication.
SSALR light is simplified short approach light system with runway alignment indicator lights
HST-B is a high speed taxi turnoff named Bravo
TRCV is tri-colour visual approach slope indicator with amber, green and red colours

NOS En route

En route charts are reissued every 8 weeks. Jeppesen lists changes.
Printed in four colours.
VOR airways and data are black.
Civil only instrument airports are green.
Special, B, and C airspace, ARTCC boundaries, and Civil/military instrument airports are blue.
NDBs, MOAs, MTRs and non-instrument airports are brown.
Local Airport Advisory frequencies (LAA) are in shadow box with FSS name and frequency above.
VORs latitude and longitude are given in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
Minimum Crossing altitudes are noted by X-flag with restriction.
MOCAs are preceded with an asterisk.
ORTOCAs by NOS or MORAs by Jeppesen or off-route obstruction clearance altitudes are now being included on en route charts. This gives terrain clearance related to the chart one degree rectangles. The numerals, very much the same as those on the sectional, give 1000’ clearance over level terrain and 2000’ in the mountains. the exact location of the obstacle used for this determination is not given.
MEA GAP indicates that communications/navigation may be lost. Such intersections are marked with an R-flag.
DME distances are inside an open arrow D pointing to the intersection.
The size of the compass rose is for clarity and has no significance.
The small bar bell is a military FSS facility
A circled G means a military radar facility
A small brown arrow on a chart indicates that a LOM (Localizer outer marker) has an en route function such as
identifying an intersection.
The flag x symbolizes a minimum crossing altitude beyond which a higher MEA applies.
The routes between two VORs may often have non-reciprocal radials due to magnetic variation differences.
Some L-class VOR have expanded service volume for the purpose of identifying intersections.
A blue airport has an instrument approach. A brown airport does not.
The cross-hatch area represents the 30-mile mode C veil. Jeppseen does not show this.
Blue MRAs (minimum reception altitudes) apply to VORs, brown ones to NDBs.
VOT (test ) frequencies are not given.
--Airways do not exist below published MEA or MOCA
NOS scale is near WAC scale of 1" = 14 nautical but will vary from 10 to 20 nautical from New York to Montana.

The ILS Has Five Components
Part 1 the Localizer
The localizer at departure end of runway provides lateral references. Frequencies are 108.l by odd tenths to 111.9. It is identified by "I" (..) as first of four letters. Fan width varies from 3 to 6 degrees and may not be aligned with the runway. It is useable within 35 degrees of course. An LDA’s range of tolerance is identical to that of the ILS’s but is more likely to be in the 6 degree range. It is 4 times more sensitive than VORs. One degree of localizer fan sensitivity is only 25' at one mile. Back course should not be used for navigation unless authorized. An ADF (simplified directional facility) is fixed at either 6 or 12 degrees, whichever is best at the site.

Part 2 the Glide Slope
The glide slope is abeam 1000' marker of runway and provides threshold crossing height (TCH). It is not useable if crossing threshold below 50'. The course width of the glide slope is 1.4 degrees. Useable course distance is 10 nautical miles. 

On the glide slope approach will give a touchdown at 1000' markers. UHF frequencies at 330 paired with localizer. Same angle as VASI. The reason for a glide slope interception altitude is because of higher "false slopes". May have DME but more often not. (see Reno). No levelling off at decision height (DH). Reverse sensing on back course standard VOR but not on HSI.

The glide slope angle is usually 3 degrees. You can determine the descent rate of the 3 degree slope by using the charts in Jeppesen or a rule of thumb based on your ground speed. The thumb rule is good for practice. Multiply your ground speed by 5 and add 50. (90 kts x 5 + 50 = 500 (Should be 485)

Part 3 Outer marker
You cannot fly an ILS if the outer marker is out and no other authorized definition/substitution for the fix exists. AIM 1010 and FAR 91.175(k) The outer marker is five miles from runway. It is the Blue light. Interception of ILS glide slope may be before, at or after OM. ILS final approach fix often is different from localizer only approach. Timing of localizer approach is always from OM as the non-precision FAF. Put this altitude into your need to know approach checklist. ILS Outer Marker (OM) is fan-shaped across ILS localizer course about 4 1/2 miles from approach end of runway.

Part 4 the Middle marker (amber)
A point on the ILS glide slope Final altimeter check. MM should be part of briefing. The middle marker is 1/2 (3500 feet) mile from runway at decision height which is typically 200' AGL above TDZ. MM inoperative does not change minimums as of 1993. Check the marker crossing altitude as an altimeter check. The middle marker is not a required component for full ILS minimums nor the localizer. The Inner Marker (IM) is fan shaped across ILS localizer course about 1/2 mile from approach end of runway. On a back-course the marker, if used, is white. The traditional inner marker is becoming obsolete. Removal of the inner marker does not affect minimums.

Up until the 1970s there were still LF/MF four course radio ranges in use known as radio range, Adcock range, standard radio range, A/N range and L/MF range. The range uses a 200-425 kilocycle (Hertz) signal to provide course guidance through the ADF. These ranges are still in use worldwide. Older aircraft will have an "Airway Marker Beacon" light along with Outer and Inner marker lights which transmit on 75 megacycles (Hertz) to provide definite position information.

Marker Beacons

Fan Marker:
100 watts power with 3000 cps (cycle per second) tone emitted in a fan shape three miles wide and 12 miles across an airway.
Dumbbell Marker
Same as fan marker but narrow middle is only 1-1/2 miles wide.
Z Marker (Station Locator Marker)
Located at radio range site and identifies centre of range. (cone of silence).

Part 5 Approach Lighting System (ALS)
(See AIM for variations)
MALSR and SSALR have runway alignment lights (R means runway)
MALS and SSALS do NOT have runway alignment lights

Approach Lights
Approach lights define the runway threshold. With approach lights an NDB can have minimums of 3/4-mile with 250’ height above touchdown (HAT). Approach lights do not affect DA or MDA just visibility. Any loss of approach lighting will increase visibility minimums from 1/4 to 1/2-mile.

(ODALS) Omni-directional approach light system gives 1/4 mile credit.
(MALS) Medium intensity approach light system of 1400’ likewise.
(SALS) Simplified approach light system 1200’+ light-bar likewise.
(SSALR/MASR) Simplified short approach light system, sequenced flashing lights and medium approach light system
from 1400’ to 2400’ NDB gets 1/4 mile credit while other non-precision get 1/2 mile.
(ALSF-1) Highest standard of non-precision approach lighting with sequenced flashers (‘the rabbit’) extending to 3000’
gives 1/2-mile credit. Has red termination bar. 5-levels of brightness. RAILS
(ALSF-1) Like ALSF-1 but has red side row bars and low/high modes.

Smaller Airports Will Have

(REILS) flashing runway end identifier lights
(LDIN( lead-in lights

No approach is allowed to legally descend below the glide slope provided by these lights. Any such descent loses all obstacle protection. Prior to every flight the pilot should confirm just how the lights at the airport are controlled. Pilot controlled lighting (PCL) by keying the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) and the side location of any VASI/PAPI. The rotating beacon is usually the only light on during the hours of darkness. The pilot should have a current A/FD to confirm the keying frequency for approach and runway lights as well as the number of clicks required.

In-Flight Visibility
Descent below MDA or DH requires, without exception, that either approach lights or one of the nine runway specific visual aids be in sight. The second decision height (unofficial) is when the runway comes in sight.

For a precision approach, sequence lights lights without ALS bars is unsafe and illegal. Without approach lights only the threshold allows descent. The non-decision approach permits descent on seeing approach lights to 100 feet above touchdown.

Prudence would require no descent below MDA without ;both lights and threshold in sight. At night a VASI or PAPI are essential for descent below MDA. A circling approach requires flying about an airport to a runway not part of the procedure.

Prudence requires sighting the airport before beginning the circle.

RVR System:
An approach requires RVR of 2400'. If the RVR equipment fails a ground visibility of one-half mile must be reported. FAR 91.175. Reported ground visibility or RVR doesn't enter into the approach/landing decision for Part 91 operations.. For flight below MDA or DH you must be continuously in a position to make a landing with a normal rate of descent, have the runway or its environment in sight and have the flight visibility required for the approach. The exception is with an approach lighting with sequenced flashing lights. (ALSF) Descent to, but not below, 100 feet above touchdown zone elevation is allowed unless the red side row or terminating bars are clearly visible.

Runway Visual Range (RVR) is the distance at which you are likely to be able to see the light intensity runway lights following touchdown RVR may be used with medium intensity light systems. RVR may be above minimums when prevailing visibility from the tower is below minimums. NOS charts give military values. Jepp charts convert RVR values to statute miles.

Transmissometer projector mounted several hundred feet from the…
Transmissometer receiver which receives a known intensity of light which varies with obscuration.
Analogue recorder measures the light intensity and sends it to the…
Signal data converter where the data is converted to an RVR number to be shown on the …
Remote display show RVR and makes changes every minute. Latest systems are digital.
Runway must have all-weather markings
For commercial operations RVR controls the procedure
Part 91 operations must have either RVR or reported visibility above minimums for landing but flight visibility controls.

RVR Is Not A Measure of …

Meteorological visibility
Surface or tower visibility
Seeing conditions on the airport
Seeing conditions related to MDA or DH
An human observer

Nine Required Visual Features for Landing.

1. Flight visibility be not less that required for the approach. Nor may he likewise land without the same conditions.
2. Approach light system
3. Threshold markings
4. Runway end identifier lights
6. Touchdown zone
7. Lights
8. Runway
9 Markings of Runway or TDZ

RVV or Runway visibility value is obsolete even though in the AIM.
A pilot's concept of visibility is often at variance with reality. This becomes especially true in unfamiliar territory.
The reported airport (ground visibility) can be at considerable variance to that visibility reported by a pilot.

The ASOS/AWOS visibility readings are said to be within 1/2-mile of observers readings. Accuracy seems to improve with distance. The automated systems use a reading from a black disk on the horizon for day and a small light at night.

Airport Lighting
The primary references for airport lighting is in the A/FD and approach charts. Civil airports with rotating beacons flash alternate white and green that flash an average of 28 times a minute from sunset to sunrise. A beacon on in daylight indicates that SVFR conditions exist.

Basic runway edge lights are spaced every 200' on both sides of the runway. The lighting intensity from low, medium, to high may exist as a variable controlled by the tower or be pilot controlled lighting (PCL) by 3(LIRL), 5(MIRL), or 7(HIRL) clicks of the microphone transmitter switch. The high intensity is great for runway location but lower is better during the flare. Pilot controlled lighting remains on for 15 minutes after each time it is reset so it is best not to set them from too far from the airport. The CTAF frequency usually activates the lighting system but there are exceptions that require reference to the A/FD.

Runway end identifier lights (REIL) are flashing strobes at each side of the threshold. Precision runways may have runway centreline lighting for the length of the runway. Additionally, rows of transverse white lights mark the first 3000' of runway. The last 3000' of runway from either end have bi-directional lights that are red-white and then red toward the end of the runway as a warning..

For really low visibilities an airport may have an ALS system. All ALS systems use a row of green lights to show the landing end of the runway. Combinations of differing intensity white and red lights extend up to 3000' from the threshold. NOTAMS should always be referenced on any flight where a lighting system is expected to be used. Out of service aspects of any system will raise the visibility and altitude requirements for an IFR approach.

Every approach lighting system has a 'decision bar' of white lights 1000 feet from the threshold green lights. The 'rabbit' lights stop running at the 'decision bar'. If you are at the middle marker (.6 mile from the threshold) and you can see the decision bar you have 1/2 mile visibility. This may be the required visibility for the approach.

Compass Locator
The compass locator while not technically part of an ILS procedure serves to maintain situational awareness especially in regard to being vectored outside or inside the FAF. Its range may be lower than 15 miles. Using the compass locator select a heading that will intercept the localizer outside the FAF. On interception a HI reference heading is selected. Expect reference headings to change on the approach.

A 1954 edition of the Pilots Radio Handbook revised by the Civil Aeronautics Administration describes the LF/MF (Low frequency/medium frequency) four course radio range as a ground located radio transmitting facility which defines four navigational radio courses which the pilot of an aircraft can locate and fly using a receiver operating in the 200-425 kilocycle band. This system was known under such names as four-course radio, radio range, Adcock range, standard radio range, A/N range and L/MF range. The last U.S. continental range was decommissioned in Maine about 1970. The ‘Radio Beacon" is a general term for LF/MF navigational aids for use with a direction finder to provide bearing information.

Radio Marker
The Radio Marker is a fixed ground transmitter operating on the frequency of 75 megacycles to provide definite position information to an aircraft directly above it. A high directional signal is transmitted directly above the ground antenna. The aircraft marker "marks" the passage over the antenna by coded tone bursts and lights. Although all at the same 75 megacycles frequency the different functions of the beacons are determined by their locations, power output, coded signals, and light colour.

Fan Marker
Fan Marker (FM) at 100 watts emits a 3000 cycle tone in a elliptical pattern. At 1000’ it is 4 NM wide and 12 NM long, at 10,000’ it is 12 wide and 35 long.

FM's are pretty rare these days. They were originally used as distance fixes along the old A-N airways. A FM has a wider radiation pattern than a standard OM. My guess is that an OM isn't wide enough to reach to the edges of the SDF course, so they use the wider FM instead. My recollection is that they have the same carrier frequency and audio keying frequency as the OM, so they light up the OM light on your panel.

Bone Marker
Or Dumb Bell Marker because of its shape gives a more precise check when exactly on course. At 1000’ it is 3 NM wide in the centre and 12 NM wide.

Z Marker (Obsolete)
Z Marker or Station Location Marker is located in the centre of a radio range site and gives a positive indication of the cone-of-silence by radiating a 5 watt signal vertically. Shows white light. These are still in use in other parts of the world. ILS Outer Marker (OM) transmits a fan about 4 ½ miles out on the ILS approach path. Shows blue light. ILS Middle Marker (MM) gives fan about 3500’ from approach end of runway.

On Top Terminology

  "VFR over the top" is when a VFR pilot flies over a ceiling
  "IFR over the top" is the act of flying VFR over a ceiling on an IFR flight plan
  "VFR on top" is the clearance an IFR pilot must request while on an IFR flight

If on an IFR flight but in ‘on top’ conditions you are refused an IFR climb to remain on top, you can request an ‘on top’ climb in which you have effectively told ATC that you will remain VFR during the climb and accept traffic avoidance responsibility. When climbing and when on top you are expected to:

Fly the centre line of the airway,
--Maintain a listening watch on the assigned frequency,
Fly the clearance route,
Make IFR position reports,
Maintain VFR,
Be responsible for traffic avoidance.

When nearing your destination you can request an ‘on top’ descent which will follow the same strictures as the ‘on top’ climb. ATC likes this because it relieves them of the traffic minimums imposed by IFR. Any time you cannot maintain VFR be sure to request a "hard’ altitude, climb or descent well ahead of time.

Radar is allowed to reduce the obstacle clearance for VFR on Top aircraft. OTP clearances releases ATC from separation responsibility. The ATC authorized VFR climb or descent has no separation standards until reaching the ATC assigned altitude. The VFR climb/descent or OTP are not allowed in Class A airspace.

IFR Terminology vs. Meaning

Altitude restrictions
Traffic procedure in which aircraft are assigned altitudes to expedite traffic, traffic separation or to balance
"You are held for release"
You may have your clearance but don’t leave until I tell you to.
Call for release
Actual departure time is to be announced later by ATC.. One ATC facility asks another to find a spot.
Controlled time of arrival
The time ATC uses to figure your departure time. May involve ground delay. Used to keep arrival runway within
arrival capacity.
Static restrictions
Routine restrictions on routes or at fixes to cope with high demand.
Ground stop
ATC refusal to allow departures due to traffic load. Only as necessary.
Fix balancing
Rerouting of traffic to ease work load. Allows traffic to arrive by other routes.
Gate hold
Absorbs delays and reduces workload by holding aircraft before taxi or takeoff. Applied with delays of over 15
Metering in progress
ATC control of traffic by assigning fix crossing times for arriving traffic. Use of timing keeps arrivals within airport acceptance rate.
"Radar Contact"
You are on my radar screen. Don’t run into anything.
"Radar Contact, fly heading..."
You are on my radar screen. Do what I tell you to do and you won’t run into anything. If not on a vector, terrain
avoidance is the responsibility of the pilot.
The pilot is well advised to fly the published IDP if you think an assigned heading will lead to CFIT.
"When able, proceed..."
Go to planned or assigned point but don’t run into anything along the way.
Procedure turn:
A method of reversing course usually by a one minute 45-degree leg, a 180-degree turn ; to intercept. The standard course-reversal of 90/270 is acceptable as long as it is to the same side as the published procedure turn. Maximum speed is 200 knots AIM 5-4-8
Feeder fix:
A beginning port for an instrument approach.
Decision height (DH):
Point where the required visual identification of the runway can be determined. Failure to identify requires a
missed approach.
Height above touchdown (Hat)
The decision height above the touchdown zone.
Final approach fix (FAF):
The beginning of the final approach segment

Departure/transition Charts
SIDs are now called DPs or Departure procedures. They are a non-direct routing given by ATC to reduce any concentration of inbound and outbound traffic. To accept such a procedure you must have either a pictorial or text description of the DP. As departures are changed the number of the chart increases by one. If you use a departure procedure when filing a flight plan, you should use the departure and transition code given on the plate.

Departure procedures have two parts. First comes the departure depicted in heavy solid lines and second comes any one of a number of transitions depicted with heavy dashed lines. The departure part begins at an airport and ends at a designated fix. This end fix of the departure becomes the beginning of the transition which will end at an en route fix which usually names the transition. The departure chart uses the same symbolism as the enroute charts. The main difference is that departure charts are not drawn to scale.

The flying of a departure/transition will, in the written text, specify weather restrictions, if any, climb rates, crossing altitudes and any special radio procedures

WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System)

WAAS can bring precision approaches to any runway.
RNP (Required Navigation Performance) is met by GPS with WAAS added.
RNP sets standards of accuracy, integrity, availability and continuity.
WAAS is a ground station that checks and corrects GPS signal use on precision approaches.
RNP standard is one failure for every 10,000,000 events (approaches)
The FAA is sitting on WAAS because it is not perfect.
The pre-WWII agencies did the same to the ILS prior to the war and killed more fliers than the enemy.

LDA and SDF Approaches

SDF may be either 6 or 12 degrees wide.
Runway alignment within 3-degrees
Centred SDF needle has localizer accuracy.
16 of the SDF approaches require use of ADF. ADF is required even having IFR GPS.
Even if vectored ADF may be needed to locate marker.
14 of the SDF airports do not ever qualify as an Alternate.


Angle off runway by reach 43-degrees.
Approach timing always requires a visual turn to the runway.
5 LDAs have glide slopes
Less than 30 degree offset has straight in minimums.
More than 30-degrees offset has circling minimums.
Two LDAs use localizers located at other airports.

VOR Basics for IFR

You determine the TO/FROM directions of the VOR using the OBS knob.
Time the needle/TO/FROM flip
Time to turn
Twist and reverse the OBS setting
Throttle reduction which was done three minutes before the fix
Talk to report procedure turn inbound.

ILS Antenna

A small 6x6x6 building by a thirty foot tower with three antenna arrays = a Capture Effect antenna
With only two arrays it is a Null Reference antenna.
The third antenna smoothes out obstacle caused variations in the signal