Instrument Pilot IFR Tips – Using GPS on a VOR or ILS approach, Foreflight + GA News


Last week we talked about briefing the approach and said one of the first things you should do is check to see whether GPS is in the title of the approach. For example, you might look to see whether the title is just VOR 21 approach or if it’s VOR 21 OR GPS. If it’s the latter, it’s obvious you can use GPS in lieu of a VOR signal for the entire approach. But what’s less clear is when you can use GPS for a portion of the approach if it says just VOR 21 and doesn’t have GPS in the title of the approach.

Although GPS receivers have been around for over 20 years, pilots are still unclear as to when they can use GPS on non-GPS approaches such as ILS and VOR approaches. As Max explains, the rules are different for VOR and ILS approaches. The regulatory basis can be found in FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-108, dated March 3, 2011, and in the AIM, the Aeronautical Information Manual, in section 1-2-3, sub-paragraphs c4 and c-5, updated May 26, 2016.

These tell us that for a VOR or NDB approach, you can now use GPS for the entire approach, even if GPS is not listed in the title of the approach. So in our example, if the title of the approach is VOR 21, and GPS is not in the title, you can still now use GPS for the entire approach, but with one caveat. The VOR or NDB signal MUST be in service, and you MUST monitor that signal for the final approach course.

But for an ILS or Localizer approach, as soon as you turn onto a localizer or ILS, you need to display course guidance from the Nav radio. On the Garmin 430/530, that means as soon as you turn onto the localizer, you must push the CDI button so VLOC is displayed. You can, if you wish, monitor RNAV (GPS) data as you fly along a localizer, but GPS cannot be used for primary guidance at any time while on a localizer.

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Instrument Pilot IFR Tips – Briefing the Approach, iPhone iOS 11 update + GA News


Everyone knows that when flying VFR, that a pilot’s priorities are to aviate, navigate, and communicate. But when flying IFR, pilots are often confused by their priorities when faced with a high task load while preparing to fly an instrument approach. 2008 National Flight Instructor of the Year Max Trescott explains that IFR pilots should prioritize these three things above all other activities. 1. Rolling out onto headings 2. Leveling off at Altitudes 3. Intercepting the final approach course Getting the ATIS, briefing the approach, talking to ATC and everything else are all lower priorities. Max then talks about how to brief an instrument approach while in cruise flight and setting up for an instrument approach.

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Unstable Approach Definition and Private Pilot Tips for How to Fly a Stable Approach + GA News


You’ve undoubtedly heard of a stabilized approach and know it’s helpful to have one prior to landing. But many pilots don’t know all of the elements of a stabilized approach, or the potential expense of an unstable approach. Last year, two pilots I know dug deep into their wallets to pay for damage resulting from landings that followed unstable approaches. Both considered going around, but didn’t. The pilots of an IFR charter fight into Akron, Ohio in November 2015 weren’t so lucky; everyone died after their unstable approach.

So what is a stabilized approach, and why does it matter? Cirrus Aircraft’s Flight Operations Manual gives a good description. It says: “A stabilized approach is characterized by a constant angle and constant rate of descent approach profile ending near the touch-down point. Stabilized approach criteria apply to all approaches including practice power-off approaches.“ It goes on to say that for VFR landings, an “approach is considered stabilized when all of the following criteria are achieved by 500′ AGL:

  • Proper airspeed,
  • Correct flight path,
  • Correct aircraft configuration for phase of flight,
  • Appropriate power setting for aircraft configuration,
  • Normal angle and rate of descent,
  • Only minor corrections are required to correct deviations.

A go-around must be executed if the above conditions are not met, and the aircraft is not stabilized by 500′ AGL.” This episode contains lots of tips to help you consistently fly stable approaches every time you fly the traffic pattern, including tips for long, straight-in approaches, which often lead to unstable approaches.

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