No Charts? No Problem…


The ease with which we can carry current charts in an EFB app means there’s usually no good reason we don’t have approach plates aboard. But stuff can happen. You’ll need a little more help from ATC.

Admit you don’t have the plate for the upcoming approach. Give the controller time to pull up the chart and obtain the info you need. Your controller will call the final approach fix (FAF) for you. An ILS/localizer/VOR procedure might be easiest, and all you need is the frequency, inbound course, minimum altitude and missed-approach instructions. An RNAV/GPS procedure is going to require an installed and approved navigator, preferably with a moving map. In that case, you need the altitude at which to cross the FAF and the minimum altitude. If your database has expired, you may not be able to load and activate the procedure.

When the destination is served by a nearby approach facility, it might have a published radar procedure. With one, ATC can vector you through a non-precision approach to a runway (ASR), or one with an ILS-like glidepath (PAR, usually only at military airports these days).

Given enough time to obtain information and develop a plan, ATC can pull a lot of tricks out of its hat to get you on the ground. But if you need all this help, you’re doing it wrong.


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