- Instrument Approach Procedures, or IAPs for short, are established to provide the transition from the en-route to the terminal environment when operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), and/or during Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), to a point where a safe landing can be made
- Simply stated, they are “road” maps for aircraft entering the terminal area
- IAPs (standard and special, civil and military) are based on joint civil and military criteria contained in the U.S. Standard for TERPS which takes into account the interrelationship between airports, facilities, and the surrounding environment, terrain, obstacles, noise sensitivity, etc.
- Appropriate altitudes, courses, headings, distances, and other limitations are specified and, once approved, the procedures are published and distributed by government and commercial cartographers as instrument approach charts
- Not all IAPs are published in chart form
- Radar IAPs are established where requirements and facilities exist but they are printed in tabular form in appropriate U.S. Government Flight Information Publications
- While headings and altitudes will change, approaches generally follow the same rules, which are published on the approach chart (also referred to as the approach plate)
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