CHAPTER 3. Navigation

Awareness: Briefing the Approach

As with any instrument approach, you should develop and consistently use a briefing technique to ensure that you think through all the steps necessary to set up the approach correctly. One technique uses the mnemonic ICE-ATM:

I Identify primary navigation frequency

C Course (inbound) set

E Entry (direct, teardrop, parallel)

A Altitudes for transition, initial, final, and missed approach segments

T Timing/Distance(s)

M Missed approach procedure

Another briefing technique uses the mnemonic FARS:

F Frequencies set and identified

A Altitudes for transition, initial, final, and missed approach segments

R Radial (inbound course) noted and set

S Special notes (including missed approach procedure)

Common Error: Forgetting To Verify the Approach Mode

The most common error made during a GPS/RNAV approach is to forget to ensure that the approach mode has indeed engaged prior to beginning a descent to minimums. Routinely checking for the approach indication 2 NM before the final approach waypoint not only prevents this type of error, but also gives you a minute or so to remedy some situations in which the approach mode has not engaged.

Common Error: Using the Wrong Approach Minimums

Listing several different approach minimums on a single instrument approach chart introduces the possibility of another simple type of error: using the wrong approach minimums. One way to avoid mix-ups is to verbalize the equipment being used and type of procedure being flown, and then search for the approach minimums with these details in mind. You must be absolutely certain of the certification, approval, and installed options of the advanced avionics equipment prior to flight planning.

Common Error: Forgetting To Reengage Sequencing Mode Prior to Final Approach Waypoint

A common mistake made by pilots when they are learning to fly vectored approaches without a vectors-to-final feature is forgetting to set the FMS/GPS RNAV back to sequencing mode once established on the approach course. This error prevents the FMS/ GPS RNAV unit from switching to the approach mode 2 NM prior to the FAF. If you pass the final approach fix and the computer is still in nonsequencing mode, the approach mode will be disabled and you must fly the missed approach, report the missed approach and request another approach.

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