Updated: Dec 10, 2020

RNAV Approach Lesson by wifiCFI


RNAV stands for “Area Navigation.”

While there are multiple types of RNAV systems, GPS is the most common and it is what we will focus on in this lesson.

RNAV approaches are Non-Precision Approaches.

If your aircraft’s GPS is equipped with WAAS or LNAV/VNAV you will be able to execute LPV and LNAV/VNAV approaches.

Note: While LPV and LNAV/VNAV Approaches are flown in the same manner as traditional Precision Approaches, they are not technically Precision Approaches. They are still considered Non-Precision Approaches.

KOGD RNAV Y RWY 03 Example

Full Approach Example from RIDEN (IAF)

“N736TB, proceed direct RIDEN, maintain 7900.”

While en-route to the IAF, we should perform “ABC”

A: Airspeed/ATIS

Slow airspeed to set up for approach.

Obtain the airports ATIS/AWOS.

B: Build and Brief

Build the approach in the Instrument Approved GPS if applicable.

Brief the “Briefing Section” of the approach.

While briefing, be sure to input all necessary comm and nav frequencies.

C: Checklist

Run the approach checklist.


It is important to complete the ABC’s as soon as possible.

If a pilot is “ahead” of the airplane, it makes the approach much easier.

How to Brief the Approach

1: Name of Approach

2: Approach Course

Brief and Input

3: Runway Length and TDZE

4: Notes

5: Approach Light System

6: Missed Approach Instructions

7: MSA Altitudes

8: Final Approach Fix

9: Minimum Altitude and Visibility

10: Missed Approach Point

“N736TB, cleared for the RNAV Y Runway 3 Approach.”

Maintain 7900 to OGNOE.

Descend to 7300 to CISBI.

600-1,000 FPM

Descend to 6000 to WULFE (FAF)

600-1,000 FPM

2 NM prior to WULFE

GPS should auto switch to APR (approach) Sensitivity.

Continue Descent on Course to Minimums

Minimums (Category A Airplane) = 4920

600-1,000 FPM

Decision Made to Continue or Execute Missed Approach at VDP.

If decision is made to execute Missed Approach…

Begin Missed Approach Procedures at MAP.

MAP is Runway 3 in this example.

Instrument Rating ACS Standards

Establish proper two way radio communications.

Select, tune, and identify the proper navigation facility.

Comply with ATC/Examiner Clearances.

Establish proper airplane configurations and airspeeds.

Maintain Altitude +/- 100’.

Maintain Heading +/- 10 Degrees.

Maintain Airspeed +/- 10 KIAS.

Maintain a stabilized approach course with less than ¾ scale deflection for lateral navigation.

At MDA/MDH maintain altitude -0/+ 100’.

Execute missed approach procedures without proper runway environment criteria in sight or,

Transition to a normal landing while following proper visual glidepath indications.

Normal landing made within the runway touchdown zone.

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Instrument Flying Handbook

Instrument Airmen Certification Standards (ACS)

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