Instrument approach plates provide a wealth of information to enable pilots to fly approaches safely in instrument conditions, but sometimes the plates can be confusing. The FAA, general aviation associations, and the charting industry are working to update the plates to make it easier for pilots to look at the plate and know immediately what kind of navigation is required for the entire approach and any segment of the approach.
The FAA will be adding a box near the top of the approach plate above the briefing area that lists the type of navigation equipment necessary to enter the procedure and to fly any portion of the procedure. The title of the approach plate will continue to list the equipment required to fly the final approach segment, such as ILS or LOC.
The National Business Aviation Association raised the issue, and the Performance Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee developed the solution. The International Civil Aviation Organization also has adopted the same charting solution.
“This charting change will allow pilots to quickly determine the equipment required to fly a procedure,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic, who participated on the Performance Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee. “This change will not increase the requirements for any procedure and is solely a reorganization of information.”
It will be assumed that all aircraft flying IFR are equipped with at least one VOR, as it is today, so there will not be a note stipulating that a VOR is required. The new plates, expected to begin in 2018, will clearly state in the equipment requirements box what is required to execute the procedure, such as, “ADF Required for Procedure Entry.” If multiple options are available for procedure entry, the area will list each, separated with “or”: “ADF or DME Required for Procedure Entry.” For approaches that require other navigation equipment for certain segments, they will be listed as well. For example, “DME Required for LOC Only.” Also, on a non-NDB approach that requires an ADF for one part of the segment, perhaps the intermediate or missed approach or both, it would simply say, “ADF Required.”
The area also will spell out when radar is the only way to define a fix by stating, “Radar Required To Define [insert name of fix].”
Performance-based navigation approaches will be handled in the same way, Duke explained. What might be new are details on navigation specification requirements. AOPA will be creating a fact sheet that will discuss the changes to the instrument approach plates; the fact sheet will detail the navigation specifications contained in FAA guidance to help pilots understand the changes.