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Safety Benefits of Stabilized Approaches

The safety benefits of stabilized final approaches, both nonprecision and precision (fig. A), have been recognized for years. The Global Positioning System makes stabilized approaches possible at many airports around the world. NPS, IAN, and GLS all take advantage of this technology to provide consistent, intuitive displays and associated procedures that support stabilized approaches.

The following excerpt (source: The Boeing Company, copyright 1997) is from Controlled Flight Into Terrain Education and Training Aid, section 3:

Unstable approaches contribute to many incidents/accidents. Pilots should establish a stabilized approach profile for all instrument and visual approaches. A stabilized approach has the following characteristics:

  • A constant rate of descent along an approximate 3-deg approach path that intersects the landing runway approximately 1,000 ft beyond the approach end and begins not later than the final approach fix or equivalent position.
  • Flight from an established height above touchdown should be in a landing configuration with appropriate and stable airspeed, power setting, trim, and constant rate of descent and on the defined descent profile.
  • Normally, a stabilized approach configuration should be achieved no later than 1,000 ft AGL in IMC. However, in all cases if a stabilized approach is not achieved by 500 ft AGL, an immediate missed approach shall be initiated.

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