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Approach briefing

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Well-known member
Nov 28, 2001
Was wondering if any of the airline pilots have a good way to brief approaches. i would like a nice acronom. anythiing would work. im looking for something to get setup for an approach. the one im using now is:

A=Atis for the airport
R=Radios, Navs, and then comms
T=Time for the missed approach
H=Headings for the OBS, or note what kind of wind cor needed
M=Minimums for landing
M=Missed approach brief, Hold entry etc..

thanks for any ideas, i would apprecite it.
safe flying.
I think most pilots just use the chart (Jepp) and go left to right, top to bottom. The new Jepp format has that "briefing strip" which makes it real easy.
Basically, I just name the airport, approach, date/index number, procedure (ILS XX or VOR XX), frequencies, courses, stepdowns or minimums, missed approach, time or MAP, then anything else pertinent. This is the standard procedure at my company.
I agree that use of the approach procedure chart is the best and simplest way to brief. The chart acts as a visual aid to ensure you haven't missed anything that's important.

If you are flying with another pilot, the Pilot Flying the approach should brief it; then the Pilot Not Flying should review the chart, ask any pertinent questions, and catch any mistakes or omissions that the briefing pilot made. The most common one I see is failure to brief the charted missed approach procedure, or other MAP as issued by ATC.

If you are flying a single-pilot operation, brief yourself. Out loud. Sounds silly, but for pacing yourself and ensuring that you've covered all the bases, it works pretty well. Just try to keep the pax from hearing you, as they may wonder if flying with a guy who mutters to himself while looking at little pieces of paper was such a good idea.

Ideally, you should brief as soon as you have the ATIS...i.e., as soon as you know which approach to expect. This will usually be just prior to descent, or early on in the descent. If possible, try to get it done before going through 10K, but this is sometimes not possible due to the demands ATC puts on you. Regardless, do your best to get ahead, and stay ahead, of events. As you brief, set up anything that needs to be tuned, if possible. This will prevent overload as things tend to get busier and busier close in to the airport & low down.

Do not forget to get a positive aural ident on any (non-GPS) navaids you will use. This old-fashioned technique will save your life (or your certificate) sometime. A common error is to forget to monitor the navaid aurally when flying an NDB approach.

For your FAR 91 & 135 operations, as you begin to fly to more and more different airports, especially for the first time, include in your briefing the name and location of the FBO and how you will get there from the likely runway of landing. For quick ego deflation, there's nothing like completing a needles-centered ILS to mins, followed by a grease job landing, and then having the tower ask you during rollout, "where ya parking," to which you key the mike and respond, "Uhhh......" The simple act of knowing which way you will turn off the runway to proceed to the FBO will save you a lot of time and prevent the wrath of controllers.

In actual line flying, you can pretty much count on 90 out of 100 approaches being visuals...9 of the remaining 10 will be ILS...that last one will be some kind of nonprecision approach. Lack of recent experience with same, plus complacency, is why so many people bust their a** doing them. Don't let this happen to you.
If you want to brief the approach for an interview, my opinion is brief the whole kit and kaboodle. When flying the line, do a mental brief, and then brief the other pilot as to what's required (Company Procedures). One company I worked for wanted you to brief the whole sha-bang which took forever, and the other guy was half asleep by the time you finished. I agree with the above post as far as what to do once you land. Know at least your first two turns you need to make once off the runway. Hope that helps.
Approach Briefing

I, and many I know, use:
ASAP for the overall approach/landing prep:
Stack check
Approach Brief
Pre-land checks

Stack check includes tuning and id of all comms and navaids appropriate to the approach.

Approach Brief is further broken down into:

Mag compass/DG aligned AND Marker beacons as req'd
ID the plate (specific to apt and rwy)
Course: say aloud and set into obs, as appropriate
Entry (Full/Vector, etc.)

Altitudes: initial, GS intercept, stepdowns, MDA/DA
Time: as on the plate, adjusted for G.S. estimate
Missed: MAP and published or ATC instructed, including the hold entry

Turning "base leg" or initial, PIS check:
Pre-land checks
Identify any remaining navaids (LOM, etc)
Speed reduction

brief Flight attendants
Inrange checklist
If your in an EFIS airplane

Approach in FMC and minima
Pilot manual or autoland
Standby gyro

Have fun aviation will acronym you to death:)
Approach Brief

How about MARTHAN?

M Missed
A = Approach procedure
R = Radials/Routes
T = Times
H = Headings
A = Altitudes
N = Notes

While we're at it on IFR mnemonics, how about CRAFT for taking down a clearance?

C = Clearance limit
R = Route
A = initial Altitude
F = departure Frequency
T = Transponder code

Hope these help.
Last edited:
Per IFR Mag

Saw this is IFR Mag awhile back. I taught this as a supplement to standard procedure.

WARTS (For departure brief)

Special Pages

NATS (For approach brief)

Special Pages

The thing I saw most teaching was just briefing the approach for briefings sake. Well, maybe thats because everyone flew into and out of that airport year in and year out...but the briefing is YOUR time to re-emphasize the procedures you will use or if no procedures are in place...how you plan on doing something.

So as an example, include in your briefing of an ILS..what effects the weather will have, the descent rate/angle required to hold GS, landing roll-outs/rwy lengths..etc.. These are things you will need to know.

The other replies look good as well.

Hope the info helps.

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