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Understanding a terminal procedures publication is key to completing a successful flight under instrument flight rules. How well can you interpret all the codes and symbols on an IFR approach chart?

The final approach fix for the precision approach is located at
The final approach fix for the precision approach is located at
Correct! Wrong!
What is the touchdown zone elevation for RWY 16L on Mahlon Sweet Field?
What is the touchdown zone elevation for RWY 16L on Mahlon Sweet Field?
Correct! Wrong!
What waypoints are designated as fly-over waypoints?
What waypoints are designated as fly-over waypoints?
Correct! Wrong!
The symbol on the plan view represents a minimum safe sector altitude within 25 NM from the
The symbol on the plan view represents a minimum safe sector altitude within 25 NM from the
Correct! Wrong!
Which runway and landing environment lighting is available for approach and landing on RWY 4 at William P. Hobby airport?
Which runway and landing environment lighting is available for approach and landing on RWY 4 at William P. Hobby airport?
Correct! Wrong!
You are flying the ILS or LOC Y Rwy 4 approach to HOU. What frequency would you use to contact Houston Approach Control?
You are flying the ILS or LOC Y Rwy 4 approach to HOU. What frequency would you use to contact Houston Approach Control?
Correct! Wrong!
You're inbound to land using the ILS 34 approach. How much landing distance is available on RWY 34?
You're inbound to land using the ILS 34 approach. How much landing distance is available on RWY 34?
Correct! Wrong!
You have the required visual references are in sight. When should you leave the MDA and begin your descent to the runway?
You have the required visual references are in sight. When should you leave the MDA and begin your descent to the runway?
Correct! Wrong!
What determines the MAP for the straight-in VOR/DME RWY 36 approach at PUC?
What determines the MAP for the straight-in VOR/DME RWY 36 approach at PUC?
Correct! Wrong!
What does the symbol T within a black triangle in the minimums section of the IAP for a particular airport indicate?
What does the symbol T within a black triangle in the minimums section of the IAP for a particular airport indicate?
Correct! Wrong!

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IFR Approach Chart Symbols You got out of 10 right!

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13 replies
  1. Richard says:

    I guess that 70% correct isn’t too bad since I have not done any instrument flying in more than 40 years and have never flown a GPS approach.

  2. Dave says:

    With respect to the question about when you “should” leave MDA…

    You cannot leave MDA until you have “the runway environment” in sight. The visual descent point or VDP, is not a mandatory point to begin an approach for landing. A helicopter could fly this approach and does not need 1.5 miles to make a safe landing. It is a safe point for the highest category user (Cat D), to begin their approach to be in a position to “make a safe landing.” If I have only one mile of visibility, it is possible I won’t see “the runway environment” at 1.5 miles from the end of the runway. If I can’t make a safe landing at the point I do have “the runway environment” in sight, I should execute a missed approach. Runway environment in sight and in a position from where a safe landing can be made are the key requirements to determine when you “should” descend from MDA.

    • Claudio says:

      The Visual Descent Point (VDP), identified by the symbol (V), is a defined point on the final approach course of a nonprecision straight-in approach procedure from which a stabilized visual descent from the MDA to the runway touchdown point may be commenced. The pilot should not descend below the MDA prior to reaching the VDP

  3. Jerrold Seckler says:

    How do you know you were approaching from the west of the field in answering the question about which approach frequency to use?

    And the real answer is to use the frequency you are told to use by the controller handing you off to approach.

    • Michael Lloyd says:

      The approach course inbound is from the west. I think the question is to designed to tell you where to look to anticipate what frequency is going to be used for the approach you are using.

  4. Steve Ware says:

    Question #1; The final approach fix for the precision approach is located at?
    The glide slope intercept doesn’t define the FAF. The glide slope altitude should be as depicted at or above 8000, but the FAF is still the LOM/8.1 DME. Begin timing at the FAF, 8.1 DME, as a backup in case you lose the glide slope and have to transition to LOC minimums only with a MAP of 1.8 DME and timing as a backup. Whether you are flying a precision, non-precision straight-in, Circling, or Side-step, the FAF is the same.

    • Steve K says:

      The FAF for an ILS approach is always at glide slope intercept. Back in the day, there used to be marker beacons to help the pilot recognize that point. They have gone away due to the use of GPS.

    • JohnJ says:

      I missed this one, so did some research. As best I can determine, the Maltese cross represents the FAF only for a non-precision approach (i.e. localizer) while the lightning bolt is used to designate the FAF for the precision approach (ILS). The precision FAF is thus defined as the point at which glideslope intercept occurs while flying at the designated altitude, in this case, 8,000 ft.

  5. Joe says:

    Having understanding the first question, theFAF is glide slope intercept? Are you saying you need both? So if you where 1/2 glide slope needle high or low at the FAF this is not considered passing the FAF ???

  6. William K says:

    Question 1-using the glideslope intercept for a final approach, fix would not work if the glideslope is out, and you have to fly the localizer only approach however, even with the localizer, you still have the GPS fix, out marker, and the DME to give an exact location to start timing.

  7. Lt. Col. Chuck Stone says:

    I now realize that if I was landing on the VOR/DME 36 approach I would descend at the VDP, but if unable for lack of visual cues I must continue to the VOR.

    As an active FII one Pro Tip I teach when shooting any approach is to have the mind set that you will have do the missed approach and are briefed and prepared to do it without a lot of heads down trying to figure out what to do.

    Thank you! I love these quizzes and the thoughtful comments, I look forward to receiving them!

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Chris Clarke
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