The Profile View
The profile view is a depiction of the procedure from the side and illustrates the vertical approach path altitudes, headings, distances, and fixes. [Figures 1-10, 1-11, and 1-12] The view includes the minimum altitude and the maximum distance for the procedure turn, altitudes over prescribed fixes, distances between fixes, and the missed approach procedure. The profile view aids in the pilot’s interpretation of the IAP. The profile view is not drawn to scale. [Figures 1-10, 1-11, 1-12, and 1-16]
The precision approach glideslope (GS) intercept altitude is a minimum altitude for GS interception after completion of the procedure turn, illustrated by an altitude number and “zigzag” line. It applies to precision approaches, and except where otherwise prescribed, also applies as a minimum altitude for crossing the FAF when the GS is inoperative or not used. Precision approach profiles also depict the GS angle of descent, threshold crossing height (TCH), and GS altitude at the outer marker (OM).
For nonprecision approaches, a final descent is initiated and the final segment begins at either the FAF or the final approach point (FAP). The FAF is identified by use of the Maltese cross symbol in the profile view (see below). [Figure 1-11] When no FAF is depicted, the final approach point is the point at which the aircraft is established inbound on the final approach course. [Figure 1-16]
Stepdown fixes in nonprecision procedures are provided between the FAF and the airport for authorizing a lower minimum descent altitude (MDA) after passing an obstruction. Stepdown fixes can be identified by NAVAID, NAVAID fix, waypoint, or radar and are depicted by a hash marked line. Normally, there is only one stepdown fix between the FAF and the MAP, but there can be several. If the stepdown fix cannot be identified for any reason, the minimum altitude at the stepdown fix becomes the MDA for the approach. However, circling minimums apply if they are higher than the stepdown fix minimum altitude, and a circling approach is required.
The visual descent point (VDP) is a defined point on the final approach course of a nonprecision straight-in approach procedure. A normal descent from the MDA to the runway touchdown point may be commenced, provided visual reference is established. The VDP is identified on the profile view of the approach chart by the symbol “V.” [Figure 1-12]
The MAP varies depending upon the approach flown. For the ILS, the MAP is at the decision altitude/decision height (DA/DH). For nonprecision procedures, the pilot determines the MAP by timing from FAF when the approach aid is away from the airport, by a fix or NAVAID when the navigation facility is located on the field, or by waypoints as defined by GPS or VOR/DME RNAV. The pilot may execute the MAP early, but pilots should, unless otherwise cleared by ATC, fly the IAP as specified on the approach plate to the MAP at or above the MDA or DA/DH before executing a turning maneuver.
A complete description of the MAP appears in the pilot briefing section. [Figure 1-16] Icons indicating what is to be accomplished at the MAP are located in the profile view. When initiating a missed approach, the pilot is directed to climb straight ahead (e.g., “Climb to 2,000”) or commence a turning climb to a specified altitude (e.g., “Climbing right turn to 2,000.”). In some cases, the procedure directs the pilot to climb straight ahead to an initial altitude, then turn or enter a climbing turn to the holding altitude (e.g., “Climb to 900, then climbing right turn to 2,500 direct ABC VOR and hold.”)
When the MAP specifies holding at a facility or fix, the pilot proceeds according to the missed approach track and pattern depicted on the plan view. An alternate MAP may also be issued by ATC. The textual description also specifies the NAVAID(s) or radials that identify the holding fix.
The profile view also depicts minimum, maximum, recommended, and mandatory block altitudes used in approaches. The minimum altitude is depicted with the altitude underscored. On final approach, aircraft are required to maintain an altitude at or above the depicted altitude until reaching the subsequent fix. The maximum altitude is depicted with the altitude overscored, and aircraft must remain at or below the depicted altitude. Mandatory altitudes are depicted with the altitude both underscored and overscored, and altitude is to be maintained at the depicted value. Recommended altitudes are advisory altitudes and are neither over- nor underscored. When an over- or underscore spans two numbers, a mandatory block altitude is indicated, and aircraft are required to maintain altitude within the range of the two numbers. [Figures 1-11 and 1-12]
The Vertical Descent Angle (VDA) found on nonprecision approach charts provides the pilot with information required to establish a stabilized approach descent from the FAF or stepdown fix to the TCH. [Figure 1-17] Pilots can use the published angle and estimated or actual groundspeed to find a target rate of descent using the rate of descent table in the back of the TPP.