Part 3 concludes the final chapter of this series. The approach is the last segment on our flight plan that will ultimately guide us down to the runway if planned appropriately. Most of us are familiar and proficient with flying and getting setup for approaches. But in update 20.1, things have changed slightly on the flight planning side.
At the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to:
- Add an Approach and be able to understand the different types of approaches available to you.
Approach: Approach is the final segment of your flight. By this point, flaps have been extended, your aircraft is slower, and you’re within a few thousand feet from the ground. Approach controllers have been trained to give aircraft a 30 degree intercept to the final approach course (runway that you’re expecting to land on) . To ensure a good capture of the ILS it’s important to be at a speed that still provides good maneuverability for the aircraft. A good estimate is about 170-200kts for an airliner.
Initial Approach Fix (IAF): The Initial Approach Fix is the starting point for an approach. You can look at this like a transition. Something that we’ve covered in Parts 1 and 2. The IAF is where aircraft from the arrivals will funnel to for a specified runway. Approaches will sometimes have more than one IAF. Again, choose the one that will be along your route of flight and most direct.
Route of Flight
For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be planning a flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (KPHX) to Denver International Airport (KDEN) via the MRBIL1 Mr. Bill One departure – LARKS2 Larks Two arrival – ILS35L to land on Runway 35L.
Route: KPHX MRBIL1.JARPA RSK.LARKS2 KDEN
The approach planning will include some guesswork and you’ll need to be understanding and flexible in the event that ATC changes the approach up on you. Something that’s different than what you planned. Other than that, setting up the approach follows the same basic steps as found on Parts 1 and 2.
Step 1: Procedure Menu
To begin, tap on the airport to bring up the airport information tab. Tap on the airport tab to bring up the expanded view and click on PROC at the bottom of that tab to bring up what you would find in Image 3.1 . Once you’re in this view, tap on “Select Approach”.
Step 2: Procedure Overview
We’re now greeted with all of the possible approaches that Denver has to offer. For this example, Denver is landing north. So I’ll choose any of the runways, 34L or R and 35L or R to land on. I’ve decided to choose 35L and would like to fly the ILS35L. I’ll find I35L and select that.
Step 3: Procedure Selection
With our approach selected, it now shows as the sole approach on my map. I have a few initial approach fixes to choose from which we’ll do in the next step.
Note: In Image 3.3 the leg that is drawn from KDEN to the VOR directly north is the missed approach procedure. In Image 3.4 the holding altitude for the missed approach procedure is shown. Although this leg is not input into the flight plan, it would be good to make a mental note of where your holding point is and what the altitude will be.
IMPORTANT: Do not fly to your missed approach point if ATC issues a “Go-Around” or “Execute Missed approach” command. ATC will provide further instructions. This will be recognized as deviation from ATC Instructions.
Step 4: IAF Selection
We now have our IAFs available to use. We have 4 defined waypoints and Vectors to Final. Vectors to final will plot a straight line from the runway threshold towards the end of the cone. In otherwords, it’s drawing an extended centerline.
I have decided to go with LDORA as my IAF and have selected it. Click “Add to Flight Plan”.
Note: You will notice that my FPL looks a bit odd as its drawing a line to a VOR over KAPA and to a VOR. There will be times when you need to edit your FPL after you’ve gotten your approach set up to ensure there are no discrepancies that would otherwise alter your course from what is desired. In my situation here, I removed the Falcon VOR (FQF) from my FPL. Review Image 3.5 for comparison.
Step 5: FPL Overview
Once we have our approach loaded in, we have one last waypoint to add and that’s the airport itself. We can now review our entire FPL to look for any errors or discrepancies that could pose an issue.
Note: The last fix in our STAR (see Image 3.3 and/or 3.4), “FQF” cuts across our final, and then doubles back over to get to our Initial Approach Fix. Remember deleting waypoints within a grouping will remove the grouping as a whole yet keep your waypoints in there. As mentioned here,
To work around or work with this, allow yourself to progress down the arrival a bit longer before editing your FPL. You can may amend your FPL slightly so long as it doesn’t take you entirely off an arrival or approach. ATC is expecting aircraft to follow the ATC preferred routes and will be able to see if aircraft are deviating.
Once you have finally reviewed everything along your FPL, you’re done! Load up the fuel, passengers, and/or cargo, grab the updated weather and you’re ready to call for pushback.
Using the following example below, use this legend to determine what approach you wish to choose when looking at the procedure selection view.
- Example: H35LZ
H - RNAV (RNP) Approach
35L - Runway 35L
Z - Zulu
Below you’ll find a list what each of the prefixes represent:
- H - RNAV (RNP) Approach
- I - ILS Approach
- L - Localizer Only Approach
- R - RNAV (GPS) Approach
- D - VOR/DME DME Arcs can be found under these approaches as well
- S - VOR only Approach
- N - NDB Approach
- Q - NDB, VOR, DME, ILS - This type of approach procedure includes a combination (two or more) navigation sources for the specified runway.
- (Example: DAAG Runway 09, Chart 11-2 / LTAC Runway 21L & 21R, Charts 13-4 and 13-5 respectively for those using Jeppesen Charts)
Suffixes following the runway on approach selection:
- L - Left
- R - Right
- Y or Z - Differentiates straight in runways that utilize the same guidance
- 1, 2, etc. - Commonly found on the VOR/DME/NDB approaches. Indicates same guidance is used. Different approach paths for the same runway.
Do not fly to your missed approach point if ATC issues a “Go-Around” or “Execute Missed approach” command. ATC will provide further instructions. This will be recognized as deviation from ATC Instructions.
A leg that is drawn from your arrival airport to a random fix is your missed approach waypoint. Generally within 20nm of the airport. This is found during the building phase only. Although this leg is not input into the flight plan, it would be good to make a mental note of where your holding point is and what the altitude will be.
Do not follow your FPL if you are instructed to “Go-Around” or “Execute Missed Approach” as directed by ATC. Follow their vectors and instructions. Failure to do so will likely result in a violation being issued.
Be careful when deleting waypoints from your FPL that are within a grouping. Deleting waypoints from STARs will inhibit you from requesting descent via. Delete waypoints and modify your FPL between STAR and Approach phases AFTER you have received clearance to descend.
You may now tune in your desired runway ILS frequency at your destination from your departure airport. However, its important to pay close attention that ATC may change runways on you requiring you to tune into a new runway.
I hope this three part series is of some benefit to you in your Infinite Flight adventures. A lot of information was covered in these three tutorials and I hope you were able to take something away. That said, if you still are unsure about something, I encourage you to go back and look through the steps covered in each tutorial again. Each “Part” in this series has its own summary. Each include helpful tips, advisories to potential issues and other notable information that would be worth keeping in your pocket.
- Don’t forget, to AVIATE, NAVIGATE, then COMMUNICATE. Fly the aircraft. Then figure out where it is you’re going. And finally communicate with ATC or communicate your intentions so others know what to expect.
- For those on the Expert Server, keep in mind that ATC instructions have priority over your flight plan.
- Choose procedures that would take you in the direction of your destination. Remember that you may need to choose a procedure that takes you away from your destination temporarily before you can turning on course.
If you have any questions on any of these tutorials, please don’t hesitate to drop your question in the comments below. Please try to keep the questions separated in each topic so that myself or another helpful community member can answer your question in a prompt manner.