Approach briefings

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
Kinda late in the game to be asking such a question, but what things do you guys specifically brief off an approach plate, and what order. I'd love insights from single pilot and crew environments as I'd imagine this would vary, especially with some operators that may have a standardized way of briefing an approach.

To be honest, my CFI during instrument training had very little insight and didn't really care how, what, or when I read off certain things on a plate. UND didn't really have any kind of standard or judgement on this either. The example briefing in the instrument procedures book seems cumbersome and easy to forget, well, everything.

It's just something I came to realize while reading off a plate to myself the other day that perhaps the way I do it isn't transferable to another company, would incite great criticism, could be dangerous or become so habitual that it'd be hard to fix. I've just never had any formal(or informal for that matter) criticisms or affirmations in this area.

What I do now:
-name of approach including the airport name and identifier(I've set up for wrong approaches by skipping verification of the identifier, oops)
-skip the briefing strip to the plan view
-left, right, or straight in entry and state the approach course and which navaid(s) is setup for it and verifying, as well as verifying the DME is setup if applicable. I don't usually say the frequency numbers out loud,
-skipping to the profile view, what altitude to maintain, step downs(if applicable), the DH(A), the minimums required and what is actually reported at the time
-the TDZE, the MSL alt if I just get the ALS(I state the type of ALS system here also) in sight, the length of the runway, my landing distance and which side the PAPI/VASI is on
-the published missed if no instructions have been given
-the MSA in the event of an emergency

I think that's everything I do. So what do YOU do? Is there anything you think I should add or take away? Keep in mind, I'm single pilot so less numbers are better IMO. Less head bobbing frantically verifying something I've forgotten or confused. Granted, I do take a quick peak before I descend at a step down fix or at glide-slope intercept. After that, eyes are on the instruments. Is it even different in a crew environment? I'm okay at reading numbers solely for verification purposes and dumping them however, but it can get a little ridiculous for me if there's many many of them.

I imagine the guys flying bigger equipment may brief taxi-way turn offs to aim for. I just make sure I'm turning towards the GA side. ;)
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
Notes/Notams (since they may affect the rest of the approach brief)
Significant obstacles or terrain (location, height)
Winds
Courses to be flown, especially on final
Altitudes (step downs and especially DA/MDA)
Time (if conducting a timed approach)
Missed approach (have the initial step of the missed spring loaded so you're not going mix props throttles flaps gear Vy oh crap, which way am I supposed to turn?)
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Socialist Pig Member
Every airline I've worked for always expected it to just be read in the order presented on the plate, which is what Jeppessen intended with the "briefing strip" format.

Name, date, and number of plate
All of the briefing strip
Any items of note on the plan view
Relevant altitudes on the profile view
Approach/glid path lights/visual indications
Min visibility
Runway length and expected turn-off
Taxi route, including "hot spots"
Parking gate and ramp number
Extras for VNAV/Autoland/PRM specific approaches
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
I appreciate the insight. I'll add some things.

ATN, just curious about the first part there. What would you do if you discovered, at that particular time, that that chart, and possibly ALL your charts were expired?
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Socialist Pig Member
UAL747400 said:
I appreciate the insight. I'll add some things.

ATN, just curious about the first part there. What would you do if you discovered, at that particular time, that that chart, and possibly ALL your charts were expired?
Well, we're supposed to check before we depart. In reality, we rarely remember to do so, though. If I found in-flight, and actually had to shoot an instrument approach, I would talk to dispatch and have the dispatcher check on the changes.
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
Well, we're supposed to check before we depart. In reality, we rarely remember to do so, though. If I found in-flight, and actually had to shoot an instrument approach, I would talk to dispatch and have the dispatcher check on the changes.
Rog, that's what I figured. When I read your post the thought hit me "That's an odd time to check the expiration date!". :)

I guess the reason I have been doing it the way I've been doing is to get the things I want to remember, without looking at the chart again a million times, read and spoken last. I like your format and WHAT you brief and while I don't think I've ever briefed anything ground related, or will in this operation, except which direction to turn off, I can see why at least some of the taxi route would definitely need to be briefed at some places to get you away from the runway exit. I did the *UND turn off the runway and stop* thing at MSP once of all places.(MSP isn't busy) They weren't impressed with that... :D
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
It has been a while since I've done an approach briefing, so I'll spare trying to give detailed advice. I will say this, as a former Captain and Human Factors Instructor:

BRIEF WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Don't brief a full ILS approach if you are doing an ILS into ATL in CAVU conditions. Brief an "ILS in visual conditions." Does DA matter when it's clear? Not really. What does matter? Your expected turnoff intersection, any taxiway closures, expected missed approach instructions, and the duties of each pilot. Too many times I'd have FOs brief the plate with MSAs, DA, IAF crossing altitude, etc., when it was 82 degrees with scattered clouds and great visibility. It made me think they were just giving lip service to the briefing, and weren't really thinking about what lay ahead.

Do a briefing to prepare yourself for approach and landing, not to check off an item on the checklist.

Here's an example of one of my briefings to a runway with no instrumentation in clear weather:

"This will be a visual approach to runway 27, backed up by my reputation. We'll call the airport and I'll try to turn for a five-mile final approach segment. Landing will be made with flaps 45, speeds are bugged. In case of a rejected landing, calls will be made according to SOP for flaps 9, gear up, Vfs speed which is 159. We'll climb to 1800 feet or as assigned by ATC to rejoin the downwind and try again. Expected turnoff is taxiway B4, and we'll take A back to the terminal ramp. I'll call 'your tops' when I want you to take the yoke. Weather is clear with calm winds, so expect a bad landing."

(I tossed in the comments like "my reputation" and the "bad landing" to ensure my FO was listening.)

Good luck and stay safe.
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
What's this briefing an approach with scattered clouds stuff? I'm a freight pilot, frequency is tuned, but the plate is in the bag already! I kid I kid, but yes I'm brief with briefings in visualish conditions.

I was also just thinking back to how some of my former students liked briefing EVERYTHING. I'd ask them the two most important things about an approach(IMO), the DA/MDA and missed approach, but their minds were so cluttered by what they had just read they didn't remember a single thing. No point in a briefing if you can't recall it. Nothing wrong with a quick double check at the final step down/GS intercept, but after that, the missed in particular should be ready to go in your head without looking. Again, IMO.

Why I'm a fan of simplifying it and focusing on the important numbers and briefing it in a matter that flows in order(why I'm not a fan of the briefing strip), but I was just curious if there are operators/employers that really make a stink about it if you're TOO simplified. Honestly, with ATNs post, there are things I'd just as soon talk about before briefing the actual approach and things that I'd rather talk about after turning off the runway, but I realize the aircraft and airport may not provide time for this. Just my thoughts on the responses so far. I appreciate all the insight.
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
I take that back, after doing it a couple times, the briefing strip can be spoken out loud just as smoothly. Just not used to it...
 

Jimmy_Norton

Opie killer
Briefing a go around point is a good idea as well, i.e. "if we're not on the ground by taxiway D, we're going around".
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Socialist Pig Member
I don't think I've ever briefed anything ground related, or will in this operation, except which direction to turn off, I can see why at least some of the taxi route would definitely need to be briefed at some places to get you away from the runway exit. I did the *UND turn off the runway and stop* thing at MSP once of all places.(MSP isn't busy) They weren't impressed with that... :D
Ground ops are the FAA's big project right now. Briefing the "hot spots" on the taxi diagram is something that they really want all operators to be doing. I never used to brief that stuff, but after they launched their big campaign to prevent ground incursions, the company started mandating it, and I think it's actually a good idea.
 

ppragman

Direct BATTY
I came up with this little mnemonic a while ago that gets everything I'm worried about during an approach in IMC or VMC, I use a similar one for my thought process for my takeoff briefing:

Terrain (since CFIT, and ALA are the biggest cause of death on approach, it's awfully important to be informed about the terrain)
Headings (basically go through plan view and quickly solidify what you're doing in your head, when to turn, etc.)
Rejected Landing (MAP and procedures, or what to do on a go-arround VMC)
Emergencies (MSAs, what my plan is if I lose an engine, etc.)
Altitudes (review the altitudes for the procedure)
Traffic (what other little airports are out there, who am I going to run into?)
Speeds (Vref, or Vso 1.3 or whatever speeds you intend to fly on the procedure)

Basically, this gets me through everything I need for the approach single pilot, and forces me to walk through the whole procedure (even on a good day). I use it VMC to force myself to think about things that you don't often think about VMC, "uhhh, it's the visual?" The biggest thing, make sure you cover what you're actually going to be doing on the approach. I do a lot of flying in to VFR only airports now, and its super important to have a plan of attack, before I go into where I'm going, this covers everything.

If anyone's interested I use the same mnemonic (with a few tweaks) for a takeoff brief:

Terrain
Heading (usually what was I assigned)
Rejected Takeoff Procedures
Emergencies (generally just what I'm going to do if I lose an engine)
Altitude (usually what I was assigned, or what's on the DP)
Traffic (this is usually important since I'm often operating in the vicinity of many VFR aircraft)
Speeds (V1, or rotation speed as appropriate)

Whatever you do, make sure it's simple, and make sure you've got a plan before you're doing it. Flying boxes it was easy enough to simply have the plate memorized and fly it like you did every single day, but I learned that that wasn't necessarily enough all of the time, and started forcing myself to do it. It'll pay off if you do. One thing I try not to do is brief what I'm going to do on the ground other than what side of the airport I'm going to turn off on. I feel like over briefing what I'm going to do on the ground distracts from the flying portion - then again I don't operate into airports like JFK or EWR, so adjust your procedures as applicable. Just come up with whatever works for you, and stick to it.
 

Autothrust Blue

"Duuuuuude."
WANT, or, well, uh, WANT.
Weather
Approach/area arrival (your Jepp briefing strip goes here)
NOTAMS
Threats (terrain, stupid green FO, bad weather, San Francisco sucks, etc.)
 

UAL747400

Well-Known Member
I like that! UND's thing with a few instructors was ADSB, I think. Pretty lame

Atis
setup
descent check
Brief
 
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