5.4. Approach Briefing
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[In the following example we have used the AMORTS format as a guide for briefing. For your operation use whatever meets your requirements. If you choose to use the AMORTS format, note that you should make modifications to the following guide to suit your operation. Whichever format you choose, it should be standardized throughout your operation.]
[To the extent practical the Approach briefing should be concise. It is not necessary to repeat standard items and procedures. For example, if it is always a standard procedure that for a missed approach the PF calls "Go Around" and begins setting the power, there is no need to repeat this fact. The items that should be included in the Approach briefing are those that change routinely (ie., speeds that change with weight) or items that are normally standard but are different for this particular approach (ie, a higher than normal approach speed category due to icing). Similarly, much of the information that is published in Flight Information Publications such as the CAP need not be repeated, ie., briefing all of the headings and tracks that are published on the approach plate is probably not worthwhile. Depending on the circumstances and the type of aircraft, the Approach briefing may be very simple or quite complex. In setting a company policy for briefings, consider that short simple briefings are more likely to be understood and remembered than ones that are long and complex but very complete.]
- General - Prior to each approach and landing, the flight crew shall be briefed on the critical aspects of the procedure. The approach should be briefed by the pilot who will fly the procedure. If it is inadvisable for the pilot that will fly the approach to brief the procedure (due to a malfunction, workload, or other unusual situation) the other pilot may do the briefing. The briefer should not be manually flying the aircraft during the briefing. Either the autopilot should be used, or control should be passed to the other pilot. During the actual approach, the flight crew is to compare the procedure as it is flown to the what was briefed. Should a deviation become apparent to the PNF or crew other than the PF, it shall be brought to the attention of the PF. The PF shall either correct the deviation or, if appropriate, indicate that the deviation is intentional and state the revised parameters or procedure. If it is appropriate to deviate from the briefed procedure, the PF shall advise the remaining flight crew members of the change.
- Format - Approaches should be briefed using the format described in the following paragraphs. The format is known by the acronym "AMORTS"; the letters of which are taken from the first letter of each of the topics that make up the briefing format. If a particular item is not applicable to the procedure to be flown, it may be indicated as not applicable, ie, for a visual approach brief "Timing is not applicable." In all cases, each item should be addressed. Where a topic contains several items or choices, the order of briefing should be in the same order as that shown. Examples are shown in brackets "( )."
Approach - Choose from the following:
- Procedure to transition from en route flight (STAR, Profile Descent Procedure, IFR Descent to VMC, Radar vectors, Full Procedure, Straight-in; Circuit joining procedure);
- Type of approach, (NDB RWY 08, Contact Approach to RWY 36, VFR Circuit to RWY 25, Visual Approach to RWY 23, GPS RWY 16 Circling to RWY 22);
CAP page(s) that the procedure(s) is/are found on (DALLY SEVEN Arrival on page 14, to a CONVERGING ILS RWY 34 on page 24);
[If your organization uses a Terminal Flight Procedures Publication other than the CAP or if you permit individual pages to be removed from the CAP, it may be useful to include the effective date of the page. If your organization uses whole volumes of the CAP, it may be better to brief which pages are applicable rather than the effective date.]
- Use of Autopilot and/or Flight Director, or raw data;
Minima - Specify the following:
- For an instrument approach, any minimum altitude after the FAF or intercept of the final approach track up to the MAP/MAWP, including the temperature correction, (MDA, DH, Step-down fix crossing altitude);
For an instrument approach, only those altitudes other than those specified above that a temperature correction has been applied to;
[Although there may be some advantage to stating other altitudes, it may be outweighed by increasing the length and complexity of the briefing. Also, in an ever more complex environment the number of designated altitudes that may apply during an arrival is increasing constantly with no end in sight! Therefore, we recommend briefing of the altitudes specified above and allow the applicable pilot to read the others from the charts, if they are required.]
- The altitude to be set into the altitude alerter/reminder [if applicable];
- The Radio Altimeter alert/warning/decision height;
For a visual approach or for a VFR circuit, specify the Circuit Altitude or any other relevant altitude.
[We recommend avoiding briefing of the altitudes that the PNF is to call out. The altitude call out procedures should be standard and should be detailed elsewhere in the SOPs.]
Overshoot - Specify the following:
The missed approach procedure to be flown (as published/as directed by ATC, VFR to the circuit, detailed briefing).
[In most cases the missed approach procedure brief should be very short. If the procedure is published on the approach chart and the crew is familiar with it, a brief of "as published or as directed by ATC" is quite acceptable. Similarly, a missed brief of VFR to the circuit is often adequate. If the missed approach is complex and/or the crew is unfamiliar with it, a detailed briefing should be done.]
Engine power settings and aircraft handling to be used if other than standard.
[If the engine and aircraft handling is standard during a missed approach it is not required to brief anything for handling. If power settings change with altitude and temperature then the applicable settings should be briefed.]
- The missed approach procedure to be flown (as published/as directed by ATC, VFR to the circuit, detailed briefing).
Radios - Specify the radio set-up to be used during the approach. Note that actual set-up and identification of NAVAIDS should not be carried out during the briefing. Specify the course and/or heading settings to be set on the relevant indicators.
[If practical for your operation, it is probably wise to set standard sequence for briefing the radio set-up. If a standard order is established, should something be missed, it is more likely that someone will notice. Often it is useful to specify radio set-up in an order that makes sense geographically on the flight deck, ie., refer the radio control heads as they are located, left to right then top to bottom. Also, if a radio or NAVAID is completely irrelevant to the approach, do not discuss it, ie., if the HF is not to be used don't waste briefing time on it.]
- Transition and Timing - Specify the transition altitude that altimeters are to be changed from Standard Pressure to Local Station Pressure. Specify the timing to the missed approach point if it is applicable for the approach to be flown.
Speeds and Supplementary Remarks - Choose from the following:
- Approach weight;
- Flap setting for approach and landing, (include type of landing if applicable, ie., short field technique);
- V2 or Vgo around;
- Vfri or applicable flap retraction speed for missed approach (if not standard);
- Vclimb, Vsse, Vxse, Vyse, or as applicable;
- Circling procedures;
- Special Circuit procedures;
- Ice protection procedures;
- Any special considerations or other relevant remarks.
Sample Instrument Approach Briefing - The following is a sample of a briefing for an instrument approach as given by the pilot who will fly the approach.
"This will be a Profile Descent Runway 06 Left and Right on page 224, then radar vectors or direct to the NORTH Initial Approach Waypoint for a GPS Runway 06 Left, with circling to Runway 33 found on page 230. I will use the autopilot until the Intermediate Waypoint. Then, I will hand fly the remainder of the approach and circling procedure using the Flight Director. We will use a temperature correction for -10oC. For the Step-down along track distance fix a correction of 40 ft gives a minimum altitude of 880 ft. For the MDA the correction is 20 ft for minima of 640 ft which set on the altitude reminder. Set the Rad Alt to 270 ft. The overshoot, if required will be as published or as directed by ATC using ___% power and ___% flap. The GPSs will both be set to the GPS Runway 06 Left when they are no longer needed for en route. The ILSs are off the air, so set the VORs primary frequency to 115.55 and secondary to the alternate 112.3. The NDBs are also off the air so set them to the alternate 250. Transition is at 18000 ft. Timing is not applicable. Our approach weight is _____ LBS. We will circle at ___% Flap. Once on final we will select full flap for landing. Vapp is ____. We will use Vref of ____ for circling and final. Vgo around is ___, Vfri is ___, and Vclimb is ____. As directed by ATC we will cross over the centre of the airport and circle right for Runway 33. The ice protection systems will be selected on during the "In Range Check" and due to possible icing the propellers will be set to max prior to the Final Approach Waypoint. Do you have any questions?"
Sample Visual/Contact Approach Briefing - The following is a sample of a briefing for a visual approach that has a published procedure. A briefing for a contact approach or a visual approach without a published procedure will be similar.
"This will be a SANDHEADS VISUAL Approach to Runway 08 found on page 119. I will use the autopilot until on final then I will hand fly. Altitudes are as published. The overshoot if required will be VFR to the circuit, using ___% power and Flap ___. Max power if required will be ____%. The VORs should be set to the Localizer/DME 109.5. No transition or timing. This will be an ______ LB, ___% Flap landing. Vapp is ___. Vref ___. V2 is ___. Vyse is ____. Do you have any questions?"
Sample VFR Circuit Briefing - The following is a sample of a briefing for joining and landing from a VFR circuit.
"This will be a right hand VFR Circuit as published for Runway 16. We will join on downwind. I will hand fly approaching the circuit. The circuit altitude is 1500 ft. The overshoot if required will be VFR back to the circuit, using standard power and configuration. For radios: switch to the MF at 15 miles, set the GPS direct to the threshold Runway 16. No transition or timing. This will be a _____ LB, ___% Flap landing. Speeds are standard. Do you have any questions?"
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