This handbook supercedes FAA-H-8261-1, Instrument Procedures Handbook, dated 2004. It is designed as a technical reference for professional pilots who operate under instrument flight rules (IFR) in the National Airspace System (NAS). It expands on information contained in the FAA-H-8083-15, Instrument Flying Handbook, and introduces advanced information for IFR operations. Instrument flight instructors, instrument pilots, and instrument students will also find this handbook a valuable resource since it is used as a reference for the Airline Transport Pilot and Instrument Knowledge Tests and for the Practical Test Standards. It also provides detailed coverage of instrument charts and procedures including IFR takeoff, departure, en route, arrival, approach, and landing. Safety information covering relevant subjects such as runway incursion, land and hold short operations, controlled flight into terrain, and human factors issues also are included.

This handbook conforms to pilot training and certification concepts established by the FAA. Where a term is defined in the text, it is shown in blue. Terms and definitions are also located in Appendix C. The discussion and explanations reflect the most commonly used instrument procedures. Occasionally, the word “must” or similar language is used where the desired action is deemed critical. The use of such language is not intended to add to, interpret, or relieve pilots of their responsibility imposed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

It is essential for persons using this handbook to also become familiar with and apply the pertinent parts of 14 CFR and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The CFR, AIM, this handbook, AC 00.2-15, Advisory Circular Checklist, which transmits the current status of FAA advisory circulars, and other FAA technical references are available via the Internet at the FAA Home Page Information regarding the purchase of FAA subscription products such as charts, Airport/Facility Directory, and other publications can be accessed at

Comments regarding this handbook should be sent to AFS420.IPH@FAA.Gov or U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Procedure Standards Branch, AFS-420, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125.