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TELEPHONE: 091-11-4635261
FAX: 091-11-4644764

TELEX: 31-74127
TELEGRAMS: AIRCIVIL Reference: No.: Av.22016/15/2002-FID
Dated: 21 March, 2005


Subject : Guidance to Operators for Conducting Constant

Angle Non-Precision Approaches (CANPA)

1. Background

The majority of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents happen on

approaches with no vertical guidance. Statistically, the risk of an accident during
approach and landing phase is five times greater in case of a non-precision
approach as compared to a precision approach. Especially vulnerable are night
time visual approaches into airports surrounded by darkness to runways without
a PAPI or VASI. Traditional step-down approaches are based on an obstacle
clearance profile and are not considered suitable for modern turbine-powered
aircraft. The potential vulnerability of 2-dimensional approaches can be reduced
by introducing constant descent angle procedures for non-precision instrument
approaches. The purpose of this circular is to implement procedures by which
the flight crews can fly an appropriate stabilized vertical profile to the runway
threshold while conducting non-precision approaches.

The ICAO Procedures for Air Navigation Services-Aircraft Operations (PANS-

OPS) prescribes a stabilized approach in that the aircraft must be in a stabilized
position at a certain altitude. For an optimum approach technique, the
stabilization should not only exist at a certain position, but should be a
continuous state, established as early as possible after joining the final


approach track. An optimum landing maneuver requires the aircraft to reach the
decision altitude or point in a stabilized state, in order to allow sufficient time for
the pilot to assess the visual cues for the decision to land or to go-around. The
aircraft attitude and position relative to the runway should be similar in each
approach, to the greatest extent possible, in order to permit the pilot to utilize
similar Standard Operating Procedures for all types of instrument approaches.
Airlines all over the world have started to use a technique called CANPA.
CANPA stands for Constant Angle Non-Precision Approach. The idea of
CANPA is to fly a constant angle approach even if a glide slope or visual slope
indicator such as a VASI or PAPI is unavailable. CANPA involves making a
stabilized constant angle descent rather than a quick descent to the MDA
followed by flying level at the MDA until the runway environment is in sight.

CANPA has the following advantages as compared to the traditional step-

down approaches:
(i) The technique enhances safe approach operations by the utilization of
simplified standard operating procedures;
(ii) Approach technique reduces pilot workload and enhances situational
(iii) Approach profile affords greater obstacle clearance along the final
approach course;
(iv) Approach technique is similar to ILS technique, including the missed
approach and the associated go-around maneuver;
(v) Approach technique offers procedural integration with VNAV approaches;
(vi) Aircraft attitude when on a constant angle descent path facilitates
acquisition of visual cues;
(vii) The constant angle descent profile flown in a stabilized manner is the
safest approach technique for all types of approaches;
(viii) Approach profile is fuel efficient; and
(ix) Approach profile affords reduced noise levels.

The purpose of this circular is to provide regulatory guidance to operators to

develop Standard Operating Procedures and train pilots for executing non-
precision approaches using constant descent angle procedures.
This circular provides information that air operators may utilize to develop
CANPA procedure regardless of the aircraft type.
Modern aircraft (aircraft typically equipped with multi-sensor RNAV Flight
Management Systems (FMS), Electronic Flight Instruments and Electronic Map
displays) may utilize VNAV and other navigation system capabilities to conduct
CANPA. Further operational and safety enhancements can be achieved through
the use of features like GPS navigation and RNP capability where available in
the advanced aircraft.

These procedures can be flown by all types of aircraft, though additional

navigation capability, if available, can be used to supplement the information
provided by the primary aids. Regardless of the additional on board navigation
capability, the navigation aids on which the procedure is based are always to be
used as primary navigation aids to conduct all instrument approaches.

2. CANPA procedures

Derived Decision Altitude (Height) (DDA(H)) Concept

Nothing about CANPA changes the fact that the MDA or step down altitudes
must be respected. CANPA is merely a way to descend to the MDA in a manner
such that if you see the runway at MDA you can continue with minimal
adjustments to the flight path. With CANPA, the MDA is always respected and
the requirements of ICAO PANS-OPS in respect of descent below the MDA do
not change- It is not permissible to descend below the MDA unless the required
visual reference is established. It must be understood that if a go around is
initiated at MDA while descending, the aircraft will go below the MDA during the
missed approach maneuver, which is not allowed. To compensate for this, the
operators must add a margin of at least 50feet to the MDA and call it a Derived
Decision Altitude (Height) (DDA(H)), so that executing a missed approach at the
DDA(H) will not cause the aircraft to descend below the MDA. The air operators
are required to establish aircraft type specific safety margins (at least 50 feet)
for each aircraft type operated and establish type specific DDA(H) for each
approach. Operator must specify the document from where this value has been

Derived Decision Altitude (Height) (DDA(H)) is a point located on the centerline

of the approach track and of the stabilized descent profile at an altitude defined
by the operator.

CANPA would allow the aircraft to be flown on the published descent path from
the final approach fix (FAF) to the DDA(H). The DDA(H) is a point from which a
stabilized approach can be continued visually to a landing; or, if visual reference
not established, a point from which a missed approach can be initiated and
conducted with the assurance that the aircraft will not descend below the
MDA(H) or below the state published OCA(H), whichever is higher. Flight crews
need to confirm that the descent path will remain at or above all step-down fixes
published on the approach chart. An example of a typical CANPA profile is
depicted in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Typical CANPA Profile

Flight technique

The continuous descent approach technique can be flown using almost any
published non-precision approach when the control of the descent path is aided
by either:

(a) A recommended descent rate based on estimated ground speed

provided on the approach chart; or
(b) The descent path depicted on the chart

In order to facilitate the requirement above, the operator should either provide
charts that depict the appropriate crosscheck altitude/height with the
corresponding range information, or such information should be calculated and
provided to the flight crew in an appropriate and usable format.

To achieve a continuous descent flight path on an approach procedure where

step-down fixes are specified, descent may be delayed until after passing the
FAF in order to avoid a level-off at the steps. Alternatively, the FAF may be
crossed at a higher altitude after obtaining prior ATC clearance.

If the required visual reference is not established at the DDA(H), the missed
approach procedure must be executed without delay and there should be no
level flight segment. Any turning maneuver associated with the missed
approach should not be initiated before reaching/overflying the MAPt. If the
aircraft is above the optimum flight path, the published missed approach point
could be reached prior to the DDA(H). In such a case, an immediate missed
approach should be initiated.

There are three key elements to the CANPA brief:

• Computed Landing Altitude- Reference landing altitude should be 50 feet
over the runway threshold (TDZE+50’)
• Computed Touch down Position- Used to determine the zero distance
reference. From this point, the altitude checks at various distances from
runway should be worked out, if not available from the approach chart.
• Computed Descent Rate- all approaches are to be flown at a computed
constant descent rate to a decision point (DDA(H)) where a decision is
made to either land or go around. A descent rate correction of not more
than +/- 300 fpm from the reference computed descent rate may be
made during the final approach. If more than +/-300 fpm correction is
required on the final approach, the approach is considered unstabilized
and a go-around should be initiated. (Momentary corrections exceeding
+/- 300 fpm do not require a go-around).

At DDA (H), if the required visual reference is not established, an immediate

missed approach must be initiated. Aircraft should climb on track to MAPt, and
then follow the published missed approach procedure. Crew shall be
responsible for respecting MDA/OCA and all step-down minimum altitudes.

Approaches with a FAF:

Approaches which have a FAF established may be used for a straight-in

approach. The distance of the aircraft from touchdown may be determined
using any of the following aids:
• ATC Radar

Approaches without a FAF:

Where a FAF is not defined in the chart, a pseudo FAF can be worked out on
the inbound track, based on the initial approach/intermediate altitude. From this
point, a rate of descent can be computed, ideally for a 3 deg glide path.


A straight-in approach may be conducted if the pseudo FAF and the distance of
the aircraft from touchdown can be determined using any of the following aids:
• ATC Radar

The responsibility of the crew in respect of minimum altitudes is considerably

more demanding when a FAF is not defined in the approach chart, hence the
crew must use all possible resources including ATC radar to monitor their

Use of Approach VNAV

Modern vertical navigation capabilities like VNAV should be utilized after

developing suitable procedures and accounting for the system limitations such
as navigation database integrity and reversion modes. The advantage of
approach VNAV is the availability of continuous vertical path information and
reduced workload. Air operators should develop SOPs based on the
considerations of flight instrumentation (e.g., EFIS, FMS), mode status (e.g.,
LNAV/VNAV), monitoring (e.g., ANP, raw data) and deviation alerting (e.g.,
alerts, mode reversion). The key element of approach VNAV is the availability of
a vertical angle from the FMS navigation database. The recommended range of
acceptable vertical angles for Category ‘A’ & ‘B’ aircrafts is 2.75 to 3.77 degrees
and for Category ‘C’, ‘D’ & ‘E’ aircrafts is 2.75 to 3.5 degrees. Any approach
with requirements outside this range should not include a vertical angle.
The revised ICAO PANS-OPS, Volume 1, Part III, Chapter3, Para 3.5.4 states
that compatible with the primary safety consideration of obstacle clearance,
non-precision approach design shall provide the optimum final approach
descent gradient of 5.2 per cent, or constant slope of 3 degrees, providing a
rate of descent of 50m per km (300ft per NM). Information provided in approach
charts shall display the optimum constant approach slope.
For approaches flown coupled to a designated descent path using computed
electronic glide slope guidance (nominal 3 degree path) the descent path should
be appropriately coded in the FMS database and the specified navigation
accuracy should be determined and maintained throughout the approach. VNAV
approaches are not authorized using QFE. VNAV may only be used if the
approach chart depicts the VNAV descent angle and descent path, and the
coded VNAV descent angle is displayed on the final approach segment of the
FMS legs page when the appropriate non-precision approach is selected from
the database. Crew is not permitted to add waypoints manually or modify the
final approach segment of the selected approach procedure.


The coded vertical angle may not intersect the final approach fix at the final
approach fix altitude and hence the aircraft may have to fly a short level
segment after passing the FAF. Flight crews should verify that the VNAV
function is operating in the ‘path’ mode as opposed to the ‘speed’ mode to
ensure that the FMS will fly the vertical angle contained in the database. Vertical
deviation should be monitored using the indication on the map display and the
FMS CDU progress page. The acceptable vertical deviation criteria should be
determined by the operator for the purpose of deviation alerting. Though the
required callouts on approach will be identical to those used for an ILS
approach, it should be kept in mind that automatic lateral or vertical deviation
alerting may not be available from the aircraft instrumentation.
VNAV approaches are based on the use of barometric vertical path
computations and as a result subject to the effect of temperature deviation from
the standard. Under extreme cold temperature conditions (ISA-45deg), the
vertical path angle can decrease by as much as 0.5 deg. Applying a correction
to FAF crossing altitude will not correct this problem. Hence it may not be
possible to use VNAV under extreme temperature conditions.
Air operators must validate the navigation database integrity of every approach
procedure which they intend to use by conducting at least one trial approach
and establishing a suitable system for fault reporting by flight crews to monitor
effectiveness and refine operational procedures.

3. Training and qualification

The operators shall formulate procedures to implement CANPA and incorporate

the same in their SOP. Adequate training is to be imparted to the crew on the
revised procedures in the simulator/aircraft. For procedures where a FAF is not
established, the operator should provide guidance to the crew on defining a
pseudo FAF and the technique for flying the final approach. The training should
emphasize the need for good task sharing and CRM to enable accurate flight
path control and deviation alerting. The policy for the establishment of constant
angle descent path and stabilized approach must be enforced both during initial
and recurrent training and the following points must be included in the
operator’s SOPs:
• Method for computing the DDA(H). The conditions where an
increment to the MDA of more than 50 feet is required should be
spelt out.
• Method for applying cold temperature correction to the DDA(H)
and other minimum altitudes.
• Minimum altitude with autopilot engaged.
• Criteria for deviation alerting callouts.


• Stabilized approach criteria for CANPA.

• Formula for converting the glide angle into descent gradient and
• Procedure to deal with the loss of distance information
• Requirement for raw data monitoring.

The overall responsibility for respecting the minimum altitudes lies with the crew.
If the position of the aircraft cannot be determined with reasonable accuracy, the
crew may revert to conventional approach procedures.
In order to gain proficiency pending approval, flight crews should be encouraged
to practice CANPA approaches using ILS (Glide Slope Out) and other non-
precision approach procedures in VMC.
The operator’s proficiency check should include at least one CANPA to a
landing or go around as appropriate. The approach should be operated to the
applicable DDA(H); and if conducted in a simulator the approach should be
conducted to the lowest approved weather minima.

Emphasis during training should be placed on the flight crews:

• Need to maintain situational awareness particularly with reference to the vertical
and horizontal profile;
• Need to maintain good communication;
• Ability to maintain accurate descent path control particularly during any
manually flown descent phase. The pilot-not-flying should facilitate good flight
path control by:
- Monitoring of flight path during the whole approach including flight below DDA
(H) to the landing.
- Communicating any altitude/height crosschecks prior to passing the actual
- Calling out significant deviations from target rate of descent.

Actions to be taken at the DDA (H):

• Need to ensure that the decision to go around must at the latest be taken upon
reaching the DDA(H) in order to avoid a descent below the published MDA(H),
specifically in the case of a very early missed approach point ( application of an
“approaching minima” call);


• Understanding the need for prompt go around action when at DDA(H) and the
required visual reference has not been established;
• Understanding the significance of flying a CANPA to a DDA(H) with an
associated MAPt;
• Understanding the technique of flying an early go around maneuver when flying
a CANPA to a DDA (H) with an associated MAPt; and
• Procedures for airplane types that may require a late change of
configuration/speed during final approach.

4. Conclusion

CANPA offers a significant safety improvement for non-precision approaches

under all conditions by providing a more stabilized flight path and reducing crew
workload. It will greatly reduce risk of error and the potential for CFIT-related
accidents in line with the ALAR policy of DGCA as laid down in Operations
Circular No.1 of 2003, Para 2.4. The resulting stabilized approach from the FAF
to the runway greatly simplifies the flight crew’s task on final approach and
allows them more time to focus on acquiring the runway environment and
conducting the landing. This in turn should result in a higher success rate in
landing off non-precision approaches, besides supporting the ICAO goal of
having all approaches stabilized by 1000 feet AGL in IMC. In the interest of
safety, the operators should discontinue the use of step-down or ‘dive-and-drive’
non-precision approaches as soon as and wherever possible.

All Operators shall develop standard operating procedures including

additional procedures for aircraft with more advanced navigation systems, and
train their pilots to fly CANPA. On completion of training, necessary approval to
conduct CANPA procedures for execution of non-precision approaches will be
granted by the DGCA.

(Capt. Dilip Kharkar)
Chief Flight Operations Inspector
For Director General of Civil Aviation