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Arrival Procedures

the initial approach fix (IAF) to commence the






b. If a feeder route to an IAF begins at a fix located

along the route of flight prior to reaching the holding

fix, and clearance for an approach is issued, a pilot

should commence the approach via the published

feeder route; i.e., the aircraft would not be expected

to overfly the feeder route and return to it. The pilot

is expected to commence the approach in a similar

manner at the IAF, if the IAF for the procedure is

located along the route of flight to the holding fix.

c. If a route of flight directly to the initial approach

fix is desired, it should be so stated by the controller

with phraseology to include the words “direct . . . ,”

“proceed direct” or a similar phrase which the pilot

can interpret without question. When uncertain of the

clearance, immediately query ATC as to what route of

flight is desired.

d. The name of an instrument approach, as

published, is used to identify the approach, even

though a component of the approach aid, such as the

glideslope on an Instrument Landing System, is

inoperative or unreliable. The controller will use the

name of the approach as published, but must advise

the aircraft at the time an approach clearance is issued

that the inoperative or unreliable approach aid

component is unusable, except when the title of the

published approach procedures otherwise allows; for

example, ILS Rwy 05 or LOC Rwy 05.

e. The following applies to aircraft on radar

vectors and/or cleared “direct to” in conjunction with

an approach clearance:

1. Maintain the last altitude assigned by ATC

until the aircraft is established on a published

segment of a transition route, or approach procedure

segment, or other published route, for which a lower

altitude is published on the chart. If already on an

established route, or approach or arrival segment, you

may descend to whatever minimum altitude is listed

for that route or segment.

2. Continue on the vector heading until

intercepting the next published ground track

applicable to the approach clearance.

3. Once reaching the final approach fix via the

published segments, the pilot may continue on

approach to a landing.

4. If proceeding to an IAF with a published

course reversal (procedure turn or hold-in-lieu of PT

pattern), except when cleared for a straight in

approach by ATC, the pilot must execute the

procedure turn/hold-in-lieu of PT, and complete the


5. If cleared to an IAF/IF via a NoPT route, or

no procedure turn/hold-in-lieu of PT is published,
continue with the published approach.

6. In addition to the above, RNAV aircraft may

be issued a clearance direct to the IAF/IF at intercept

angles not greater than 90 degrees for both

conventional and RNAV instrument approaches.

Controllers may issue a heading or a course direct to

a fix between the IF and FAF at intercept angles not

greater than 30 degrees for both conventional and

RNAV instrument approaches. In all cases, control-

lers will assign altitudes that ensure obstacle

clearance and will permit a normal descent to the

FAF. When clearing aircraft direct to the IF, ATC will

radar monitor the aircraft until the IF and will advise

the pilot to expect clearance direct to the IF at least 5

miles from the fix. ATC must issue a straight-in

approach clearance when clearing an aircraft direct to

an IAF/IF with a procedure turn or hold−in−lieu of a

procedure turn, and ATC does not want the aircraft to

execute the course reversal.


Refer to 14 CFR 91.175 (i).

7. RNAV aircraft may be issued a clearance

direct to the FAF that is also charted as an IAF, in

which case the pilot is expected to execute the

depicted procedure turn or hold-in-lieu of procedure

turn.  ATC will not issue a straight-in approach

clearance.  If the pilot desires a straight-in approach,

they must request vectors to the final approach course

outside of the FAF or fly a published “NoPT” route. 

When visual approaches are in use, ATC may clear an

aircraft direct to the FAF.


1. In anticipation of a clearance by ATC to any fix pub-

lished on an instrument approach procedure, pilots of

RNAV aircraft are advised to select an appropriate IAF or

feeder fix when loading an instrument approach procedure

into the RNAV system.
2. Selection of “Vectors-to-Final” or “Vectors” option for
an instrument approach may prevent approach fixes