FLIGHT TRAINING PUBLICATION (FLIP) STUDENT GUIDE
Final Approach Phase
The final approach phase of the instrument approach procedure begins at the FAF and ends at the
MAP. The TACAN FAF is a DME fix which is normally located between five and nine miles
from the approach end of the runway. The FAF for an NDB approach will, of necessity, be by
the radio beacon itself (if the beacon is located away form the field) since the procedure does not
require DME. The FAF is a transition point at which the penetration ends and the final approach
or procedure track begins. The final approach phase terminates at the MAP at which time the
pilot will visually acquire the runway environment and proceed to a landing or, if the field is not
in sight, execute a missed approach. The means, by which a pilot proceeds to a landing, can be
categorized as either straight-in or circling. A straight-in approach must have the Final
Approach Course (FAC) within 30° of the landing runway heading. Any other relationship
between FAC and the duty runway heading requires a circling maneuver. The advantages of a
straight-in vs. circling approach are the lower weather minima required for the approach.
To make a landing from an instrument approach, the pilot must have the runway environment in
sight upon reaching a specified point. For precision approaches, that point is a minimum altitude
on glidepath called Decision Height. Non-precision approaches may mark the MAP by a DME
fix, station passage, or elapsed time. If the pilot does not acquire the field he shall execute a
missed approach climb-out, following published instructions on the approach plate or those
issued by the controller.
Explanation of Terms
In order to understand the published landing information, you must be familiar with the terms
used in the Minima Section.
Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) - This is the lowest altitude, expressed in feet above Mean
Sea Level, to which descent is authorized on final approach or during a circle-to-land maneuver
in execution of a standard instrument approach procedure where no electronic glideslope is
provided (non-precision approach) (Figure 7-5).
Decision Height (DH) - This is the Mean Sea Level altitude, as read on your altimeter, at which
you will initiate a missed approach on a precision approach if you don't have the runway
environment in sight or if, in the pilot's judgment, you are not in a position to make a safe
landing. DH also corresponds to the Missed Approach Point (MAP) distance.
Unlike a non-precision approach, you are in a constant rate of descent to the runway and will go
below the DH when adding power, cleaning up your aircraft, and commencing a climb; however,
you must initiate this missed approach when first reaching the Mean Sea Level Decision Height