Approach Plates is a common term used to describe the printed procedures or charts, more formally Instrument Approach Procedures, that pilots use to fly approaches during IFR operations. In the United States, these procedures are available from numerous online sources including http://www.airnav.com/airports/ , or for a nominal fee from the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as through private publishers such as Jeppesen.
Approach Plates are essential for an airplane to make a safe landing during Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), such as low ceilings or reduced visibility due to fog, rain, or blowing snow. They provide specific waypoints and altitudes necessary to line aircraft up with a designated runway for landing, along with important navigational information, such as radio frequencies of navaids and required course headings, along with the prescribed minimum visibility requirements to execute the selected approach.
Due to their importance, approach plates are published with expiration dates and are updated on a frequent basis. Pilots are responsible for maintaining a current set, and penalties are levied if a pilot is caught using expired plates during a flight in which they are required.
Electronic Approach Plates
FAA Approach Plates are available in electronic form from the FAA, as well as third party vendors.
Published in July 2009.
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