IFR Fix: ADF Required

January 27, 2012

ifr fix

Pilots, don't throw away your automatic direction finders just yet.

As many readers of the Jan. 20 “ IFR Fix: Take a left, then a right” who took up a proofreading challenge discovered, there was a typographical error in the notes to this instrument approach procedure. Instead of “ADF Required,” it says “AFD Required.” Tricky because an AFD exists—actually abbreviated A/FD.

Readers pounced. Some sportingly mused a requirement to have a “little green book” handy while shooting an ILS. Others lavished new contempt on ADFs.

Some readers missed the note but tussled tersely with TERPS terminology. There were successful skeptics—one wondering if it was a “trick question.” Another found the typo but suspected that he was walking into a trap. “That was easy—I think,” he wrote.

If the quiz amounted to a ground school homework assignment, then homework cuts two ways. Numerous responses, on point and off, raised other questions not to be dismissed without study by… guess who.

Several wondered why “ADF Required” would appear in notes instead of in large letters on the planview. That depends on what stage of the approach requires using the equipment. See AIM Section 5-4-5.

An FAA employee checked in, acknowledging the “charting error” and assuring that they are on the case.

What to do with an A/FD carried aboard in compliance with the supposed requirement provoked several wry observations.

“An AFD is never required for an approach (though it's not a bad idea to have one with which to slap your copilot to wake him up) but ADF is,” wrote reader Joe Steim.

“I always carry my Airport Facilities Directory with me even though my Cirrus does not have an ADF,” wrote Alex Wasilewski (signing his message “Successfully, Alex L. Wasilewski”).

“For some strange reason, this plate wants us to carry a little green book aboard the airplane rather than a device for identifying the NDB at CLERA,” wrote Mike Hounslow.

From Fred Clark: “Unless for some strange reason they want you to carry an Airport Facility Directory (AFD) in your lap while flying this approach, then yes, there is a typo.”

G. Stone played the wag, suggesting that “maybe you're supposed to attach the green book to your panel.”

Numerous readers sought truth in the real A/FD. One pointed out that the clearance delivery frequency shown on the approach plate differs from one that appears on the airport's A/FD page.

Another reader focused on runway lengths, but LDA (landing distance available) and TODA (takeoff distance available) differ. Good try.

Kevin Bertonazzi performed a detailed examination of the plate before spotting the typo. He shared his angst. “Well when you guys question it like that, it influences us to over think and over scrutinize and expect to find some rare undetectable mistake that only the most aware pilot will notice,” he wrote.

Apologies, Kevin—and thanks to all who participated in parsing the plate.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.

Topics IFR, Technique