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IFR Fix: The IFP gatewayIFR Fix: The IFP gateway

Wouldn’t it be something if the FAA notified you any time a change is made to an instrument flight procedure you rely on, like that familiar ILS approach to the home airport that you usually fly after a long, tiring journey?

Perhaps you learned the hard way that an instrument approach procedure you can recite from memory—down to frequencies, headings, altitudes, and the published miss—isn’t immune to being amended in some small but significant detail. You do your best to check notams and stay informed, but it would be helpful to receive a heads-up about changes in the works.

Taking this pilot’s pipe dream a step further, many instrument pilots wish there were a way for them to tell the FAA about an airport where establishing an instrument flight procedure would make a difference in the safety and utility of flight, or comment on a change being studied.

Turns out, there is. It’s the FAA’s Instrument Flight Procedures Information Gateway. AOPA is working with the FAA to make it even easier for pilots to use the gateway to request a new procedure, fix, or route, according to Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.

Duke is AOPA’s in-house source of answers about the Instrument Flight Procedures Information Gateway. He recommends that members look over the updated AOPA fact sheet, Establishing an Instrument Approach, and its discussion of how the gateway serves as an interactive portal with the FAA on procedures.

Note that you can subscribe to receive notifications about procedure changes at airports of your choice. (Remember, information under development is not to be used for flight. Consult current charts and notams before flight.)

The website “allows users to see the legal forms that create each procedure, any obstructions, and any waivers from FAA criteria,” he said.

Duke added that a new feature that may launch this year would give pilots a way to request a route or fix directly, rather than use the general FAA email contact information the gateway currently provides.

A good instrument pilot flies with patience—and patience will be needed after submitting a request. It can take up to two years for a proposal to become a published procedure. That’s because of the existing back log and “the tremendous amount of work procedure designers take on” when modifying the instrument flying architecture, he said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: ATC, FAA publications, Instrument Rating

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