Instrument Flying

Operating an aircraft solely by reference to instruments.

  • Altitudes covers IFR altitude names. Also includes the definition of what you must see in order to descend below the DA/MDA.

  • Approaches covers Instrument approaches and related topics.

  • Departures covers Instrument departures and departing under IFR/Picking up IFR in flight.

  • IFR Flight Plans covers contents of an IFR flight plan.

  • Navigation covers IFR navigation methods.

  • Required Equipment covers minimum equipment and maintenance checks for VFR as well as IFR.

Right-Of-Way rules


When in VMC, it’s your responsibility to follow See and Avoid, when in IMC, it’s ATCs responsibility.

Mandatory Reporting Events


  • Missed approach
  • Airspeed ± max(10 kts, 5% change) of filed TAS
  • Reaching a holding fix (time + altitude)
  • VFR on top: changing altitude
  • ETA changed ± 2 min (3 min in the North Atlantic). Only in non-radar environments
  • Leaving a holding fix/point
  • Outer marker (or fix used in lieu of). Only in non-radar environments
  • Un-forecasted weather.
  • Safety of flight (emergencies and such)
  • Vacating an altitude/FL
  • Final approach fix. Only in non-radar environments
  • Radio/navigation/approach equipment failure
  • Compulsory reporting points. Only in non-radar environments
  • 500 - unable to climb/descend 500 FPM

Position reporting items

“Center, \$CALLSIGN, reporting \$LOCATION, \$ALTITUDE at \$TIME. On IFR flight plan. Next position \$NEXT_FIX at \$NEXT_FIX_TIME. Afterward \$SUCCEEDING_POINT. \$REMARKS

  • Aircraft ID
  • Position
  • Time
  • Altitude
  • Type of flight plan (except when communicating with ARTCC / Approach control)
  • ETA and name of next reporting fix
  • Name only of the next succeeding point along the route of flight (Point after next reporting fix)
  • Any relevant remarks

Airport Lighting

  • ALSF-1: Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing lights (ILS Cat-I configuration)
  • SSALF: Simplified Short Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing Lights
  • MALSR: Medium Intensity Approach Light System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights
  • REIL: Runway End Identifier Lights
  • MIRL: Medium Intensity Runway Lighting
  • PAPI: Precision Approach Path Indicator

The legend for these is found in the Terminal Procedures Publication.

Last updated: 2021-12-29 13:24:04 -0800