Definitions for "Instrument Approach"
Keywords:  iap, runway, airport, pilot, aircraft
A procedure for safely descending to an airport from instrument conditions. An airport may have one or more instrument approach procedures published, or none at all. Each approach is custom designed, and takes into account the radio navigation aids available, the various runway, and obstructions in the area. Minimum altitudes and visibilites for each approach are published.
A series of predetermined maneuvers for the orderly transfer of an aircraft under instrument flight conditions from the beginning of the initial approach to a landing, or to a point from which a landing may be made visually.
A detailed IFR procedure intended to allow a pilot to land at an airport that is clouded over. When pilots say things like, "it's an easy approach" or "I had to take the approach" they generally are talking about an instrument approach. Because they're designed to be flown absolutely blind, IAPs are time-consuming. In nearly all small planes, an IAP will not take a pilot clear to the ground, as commercial jets can. Depending on the equipment in the aircraft and airport, an IAP can usually get a pilot between 800 and 200 feet above the runway and the pilot lands the aircraft visually from there.