The final approach segment for an approach with vertical guidance or a precision approach begins where the glideslope/glidepath intercepts the minimum glideslope/glipdepath intercept altitude shown on the approach chart. If ATC authorizes a lower intercept altitude, the final approach segment begins upon glideslope/glidepath interception at that altitude.

(FAA IPH, p. 4-53)

Does this paragraph imply that the FAF(FAP) for a precision approach fix (point) begins at the minimum glideslope intercept altitude when you have intercepted the glideslope at an altitude above that?

I always have thought the FAF for a precision approach begins wherever the glideslope is intercepted regardless of a glideslope interception altitude. Have I been getting it wrong all this time?

This question doesn't answer what I'm asking. I'm not asking where the FAF generally begins on a precision approach; I know where it begins and I've cited it above. My question is whether the FAF begins at the interception point even when the glide slope is intercepted at an altitude above the minimum interception altitude on the chart. The definition above from the IPH clearly says the final approach fix is the interception altitude when it's intercepted at an altitude below the minimum interception altitude but is silent on where the FAF begins if it's intercepted at an altitude above the minimum interception altitude.

  • $\begingroup$ The final approach point/fix can't "begin" anywhere, since it is a fixed point. The final approach segment can begin in different places. $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ @J. Hougaard That's true but the FAA still calls the point at which the final approach segment begins a final approach fix, unlike the ICAO which choose to call it a final approach point to imply that the point is not fixed and changes depending on the point the glide slope interception is made. In the same sense, the FAA also call a final approach point a final approach point on some non-precision charts where a final approach point changes depending on where the intercpetion of final approach course is made after a PT $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ Pondlife's answer on the other question looks like a pretty clear answer to me. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Sep 18 '17 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW It's absolutely a correct answer; it just wasn't a clear answer for the OP, and I think his lack of clarity is understandable. A lot of FAA definitions & opspecs and FOM's and such are written to confirm what one already understands to be the correct answer, but they don't necessarily to a great job explaining the answer to somebody who isn't there yet. Knowing the right answer to this question, you & I can read the words of the PCG & say, yeah, that's it, right there. Not knowing the answer, one can read the same words & still be unsure. Thus, my post below. Hopefully helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 18 '17 at 17:07

The FAS begins when you've intercepted the GS, and are at or beyond (below) the charted GS intercept point (altitude). So if your charted GS intercept is at BONGO at 3000' and you intercept the GS outside BONGO at 4000', your FAS begins at BONGO. If ATC has you join the localizer at 2500' and you intercept the GS at 2500' inside of BONGO, then that point, where you intercepted the GS, is where the FAS starts on that approach that day for you.

There can be lots of ways to say that, some of which are less clear than others. But that's the simple, and hopefully clear, answer. And, maybe, going back to the FAA definition, you can see how what they put on paper matches this concept as stated here.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess I read too much into the paragraph. Thank you for your clarification! $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 17:30

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