As an instrument rated pilot, it often times feels as though we’re behind the power curve (pun intended) when it comes to the various types of instrument approaches. Jeppesen recently incorporated a series of Localizer Performance (LP) type approaches in the most recent navigation database, cycle 1302, which went into effect on February 7, 2013. Like many of us, you might be asking yourself, “What exactly is an LP approach?”
LP (Localizer Performance) approaches are similar to precision approaches as it relates to accuracy. However, one of the defining characteristics of an LP approach is the lack of a glide slope. Instead of utilizing ground-based navigational aids, LP approaches take advantage of the improved accuracy of WAAS to offer increased lateral sensitivity as the aircraft nears the end of the runway. Another defining characteristic is that LP approaches utilize an MDA (minimum descent altitude) as opposed to a DA (decision altitude). In many cases, LP approaches offer lower minima than an LNAV/VNAV approach.
So, is flying an LP approach very different? If you are comfortable flying a standard localizer approach, LP approaches are very similar. Prior to crossing the final approach fix, ensure your Garmin GPS navigator is annunciating “LP” and carefully plan your descent to the LP MDA listed in the instrument approach plate.
Is your certified Garmin equipment capable of flying LP approaches? Garmin avionics are capable, depending on their software. The minimum software required to support Localizer Performance approaches listed by equipment type, are:
GNS WAAS Series: v3.30
GNS 480: v2.3
GTN Series: v2.0
With the right avionics, software, and most up-to-date Jeppesen navigation database, you will have the option to load 390 new LP approaches that you didn’t have access to before. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your local airport has incorporated LP approaches, the FAA has created a helpful site that has a comprehensive list by state. If you have any questions on how to maximize the use of your Garmin navigator, feel free to call us or stop by your local Garmin Dealer for help!