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What is APV in Aviation? (Approach Procedure With Vertical Guidance)

Updated: February 17, 2024

Approach Procedure with Vertical Guidance (APV)

Approach Procedure with Vertical Guidance (APV) is a term used in aviation to refer to a type of approach procedure that provides pilots with vertical guidance during the final approach phase of a flight. This guidance helps pilots maintain the correct descent profile and ensures a safe approach and landing.

APV procedures are designed to enhance safety and reduce the risk of accidents during instrument approaches, especially in low visibility conditions. They provide pilots with precise vertical guidance, allowing them to maintain a stabilized approach and make a smooth transition from instrument flight to visual flight.

Understanding APV Approaches

APV approaches are typically used when there is no precision approach available at an airport. A precision approach, such as an Instrument Landing System (ILS) or a Microwave Landing System (MLS), provides both horizontal and vertical guidance to the pilot. However, not all airports have these systems installed.

When a precision approach is not available, pilots can use APV procedures as an alternative. APV approaches utilize satellite-based navigation systems, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) or the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), to provide vertical guidance.

During an APV approach, the pilot follows a specific flight path, known as the approach procedure, which is usually published in the airport's instrument approach chart. The approach procedure includes waypoints and altitudes that the pilot must adhere to in order to safely descend and align with the runway.

APV approaches are highly accurate and reliable, providing pilots with a clear indication of their position and descent rate. This helps pilots maintain situational awareness and ensures a smooth transition from the final approach segment to the landing phase.

Advantages of APV Approaches

APV approaches offer several advantages over non-precision approaches, which do not provide vertical guidance. Here are some of the key benefits:

Enhanced Safety: APV approaches provide pilots with vertical guidance, reducing the risk of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents. The vertical guidance ensures that the aircraft maintains the correct descent profile, avoiding obstacles and terrain.
Improved Efficiency: With vertical guidance, pilots can maintain a stabilized approach and reduce the risk of overshooting or undershooting the runway. This improves the overall efficiency of the approach and landing.
Increased Accessibility: APV approaches can be used at airports without precision approach systems, making them accessible to a wider range of airports. This expands the number of airports that can be safely utilized in low visibility conditions.
Cost-Effective: Installing and maintaining precision approach systems can be costly for airports. APV approaches provide a cost-effective alternative, as they utilize existing satellite-based navigation systems.

Overall, APV approaches play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of instrument approaches at airports without precision approach systems. Pilots rely on the vertical guidance provided by APV procedures to maintain a stabilized approach and execute a safe landing.

If you want to learn more about APV approaches and their implementation, you can visit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website. The FAA provides detailed information and resources on various approach procedures, including APV approaches.


Approach Procedure with Vertical Guidance (APV) is a valuable tool for pilots during instrument approaches. It provides vertical guidance using satellite-based navigation systems, ensuring a safe and efficient descent and landing. APV approaches offer numerous advantages, including enhanced safety, improved efficiency, increased accessibility, and cost-effectiveness. Pilots rely on the precision and accuracy of APV procedures to successfully navigate and land at airports without precision approach systems. Understanding APV approaches is essential for all pilots, as it contributes to the overall safety and effectiveness of instrument flight operations.

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