An ATC clearance allows an aircraft to proceed under specified traffic conditions within controlled airspace for the purpose of providing separation between known aircraft. A major contributor to runway incursions is lack of communication with ATC and not understanding the instructions that they give. The primary way the pilot and ATC communicate is by voice. […]

As specified in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, no person may operate an aircraft in controlled airspace under IFR unless that person has filed an IFR flight plan. Flight plans may be submitted to the nearest FSS or air traffic control tower (ATCT) either in person, by telephone […]

The following resources are available for a pilot planning a flight conducted under IFR. National Aeronautical Navigation Products (AeroNav Products) Group publications: IFR en route charts Area charts United States Terminal Procedures Publications (TPP) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications: Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP) for flight planning […]

Radar works by transmitting a pulse of RF energy in a specific direction. The return of the echo or bounce of that pulse from a target is precisely timed. From this, the distance traveled by the pulse and its echo is determined and displayed on a radar screen in such a manner that the distance […]

A flight management system (FMS) is not a navigation system in itself. Rather, it is a system that automates the tasks of managing the onboard navigation systems. FMS may perform other onboard management tasks, but this discussion is limited to its navigation function. FMS is an interface between flight crews and flightdeck systems. FMS can […]

RNP is a navigation system that provides a specified level of accuracy defined by a lateral area of confined airspace in which an RNP-certified aircraft operates. The continuing growth of aviation places increasing demands on airspace capacity and emphasizes the need for the best use of the available airspace. These factors, along with the accuracy […]

Simplified Directional Facility (SDF) The simplified directional facility (SDF) provides a final approach course similar to the ILS localizer. The SDF course may or may not be aligned with the runway and the course may be wider than a standard ILS localizer, resulting in less precision. Usable off-course indications are limited to 35° either side of […]

ILS Function The localizer needle indicates, by deflection, whether the aircraft is right or left of the localizer centerline, regardless of the position or heading of the aircraft. Rotating the OBS has no effect on the operation of the localizer needle, although it is useful to rotate the OBS to put the LOC inbound course […]

Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) Normal approach and letdown on the ILS is divided into two distinct stages: the instrument approach stage using only radio guidance, and the visual stage, when visual contact with the ground runway environment is necessary for accuracy and safety. The most critical period of an instrument approach, particularly during low ceiling/visibility […]

Most navigation systems approved for en route and terminal operations under IFR, such as VOR, NDB, and GPS, may also be approved to conduct IAPs. The most common systems in use in the United States are the ILS, simplified directional facility (SDF), localizer-type directional aid (LDA), and microwave landing system (MLS). These systems operate independently […]