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I have a problem understanding FAF - how can I find FAf on a precision approach without the lightning bolt/zigzag symbol. I know the Maltese cross means FAF for a non-precision approach.

According to the Jeppesen airway manual,

by the glide slope/path intercept point on precision approaches

Which means that wherever I intercept the GS, I can say that point is FAF?

I added a chart. (In case you cannot see the picture I will explain the chart) FAF (Maltese cross) is positioned at DME 5.1 and 1700ft on a 3 degree glide path.

At the moment I pass the Maltese cross at 1700 ft, the GS indicator will be below because from 5.1DME on a 3 degree glide path, altitude will be about 1620ft so I need to descend at a steeper rate to intercept the GS. Then I will intercept the GS after FAF of a non-precision approach. In this case the FAF for the precision approach is positioned after the Maltese cross?

Is the FAF of aprecision approach not fixed at a specific position?

Until now, I have regarded the Maltese cross as the FAF for precision approach because there was no lightning bolt symbol.

Please correct my misunderstanding...

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ This char is ILS / LOC Y RWY 19. Should i fllow stepdown or just follow glide slope? If i follow gs i will be lower that the minimum altitude 1700 at DME 5.1. IS it okay?or this stepdown profile view is for only LOC approach? $\endgroup$ – Hyuk Kim May 31 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ The step down fixes relate on to the LOC approach. After FAP (see my answer below) there are no such thing as step down fixes in precision approaches. $\endgroup$ – busdriver May 31 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ Wow thank you sir!! Freeman your grammar correction to my question is wonderful. Because i am a south korean pilot, my English is not that good. I learnt something from you. busdriver you are my saviour. I was so curious. you solved my my misconception. Sincerely thank you guys $\endgroup$ – Hyuk Kim May 31 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$ – Pondlife May 31 at 23:18
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There is no Final Approach Fix (FAF) in ILS approach. There is Final Approach Point, which is indeed defined as a point where glide path intercepts the initial approach altitude.

Because the said location is arbitrary and depends on the temperature and glide can be intercepted from other altitudes or even when the AC is in a glide, there is separate point during the final approach usually around 4-5 NM from the threshold where the correct glide path and altimeter setting can be verified. This is indicated by a marker or these days more often as a DME distance.

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  • $\begingroup$ Downvote for incorrect information. The term Final Approach Point applies only to non precision approaches. This question is in regards to precision approaches. See the Pilot/Controller Glossary: FINAL APPROACH POINT− The point, applicable only to a nonprecision approach with no depicted FAF (such as an on airport VOR), where the aircraft is established inbound on the final approach course from the procedure turn and where the final approach descent may be commenced. The FAP serves as the FAF and identifies the beginning of the final approach segment $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jun 1 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ The information offered in this answer might be correct for ICAO guidance that does not use the term FAF. However, this answer is apparently asked within the context of FAA given the reference to the lighting bolt depictions on FAA NACO charts and the reference to the FAF for precision approaches which is apparently unique to the US. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jun 1 at 23:44
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For precision approaches, the Final Approach Fix (FAF) is defined as one of three points:

  1. A lightning bolt symbol on FAA government approach plates
  2. The (published) glide slope/path intercept point on Jeppesen approach. The glide slope/path symbol depiction starts at the FAF on these plates.
  3. Or, it is the resultant actual point of the glideslope/path intercept when ATC directs a lower-than-published glideslope/path intercept altitude

Since FAA government (NACO) charts answer your question with the depiction of the lightning bolt symbol, your question applies primarily to Jeppesen charts (other chart vendors perhaps as well). Jeppesen charts include the glide slope intercept altitude in the briefing strip near the top of the plate. So, the FAF for precision approaches is the location at which glideslope intercept is to occur when at the lower of either the published or ATC directed altitude.

See the following excerpt from the FAA's Pilot/Controller Glossary:

FINAL APPROACH FIX− The fix from which the final approach (IFR) to an airport is executed and which identifies the beginning of the final approach segment. It is designated on Government charts by the Maltese Cross symbol for nonprecision approaches and the lightning bolt symbol for precision approaches; or when ATC directs a lower-than-published glideslope/path intercept altitude, it is the resultant actual point of the glideslope/path intercept.

See the following excerpt from Jeppesen's Airway Manual:

FINAL APPROACH FIX (FAF) — The fix from which the final approach (IFR) to an airport is executed and which identifies the beginning of the final approach segment. It is designated in the profile view of Jeppesen Terminal charts by the Maltese Cross symbol for non-precision approaches and by the glide slope/path intercept point on precision approaches. The glide slope/path symbol starts at the FAF. When ATC directs a lower-than-published Glide Slope/Path Intercept Altitude, it is the resultant actual point of the glide slope/path intercept.

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  • $\begingroup$ Perfect sir! Thank for a specific answer $\endgroup$ – Hyuk Kim Jun 5 at 8:31

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