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Aviation Glossary :: Aircraft Approach Category  Aviation Glossary :: Aircraft Approach Category FAA Written Test Preparation
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At Dauntless, our editorial staff maintains the web's largest unified glossary of aviation terms. This glossary is built from a combination of official, quasi-official, and proprietary sources (including original material that we develop oursselves). Uniquely, we often provide multiple definitions of a given term so that you can find that which best applies to you. In order to maximize your learning efficiency, this glossary (and similar ones for our international users) is incresingly fully integrated into our aviation learning apps, including our FAA written test prep and FAA practical test prep software and apps. If you like this glossary, you'll love them with their polished learning environments and world's best and clearest content (please do give them a try.).

Aircraft Approach Category
Aircraft Approach Category
A grouping of aircraft based on reference landing speed (VREF), if specified, or if VREF is not specified, 1.3 VSO (the stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed in the landing configuration) at the maximum certificated landing weight.
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source: FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook (FAA-H-8083-16)

(Refer to 14 CFR Part 97.) A grouping of aircraft based on a speed of 1.3 times the stall speed in the landing configuration at maximum gross landing weight. An aircraft must fit in only one category. If it is necessary to maneuver at speeds in excess of the upper limit of a speed range for a category, the minimums for the category for that speed must be used. For example, an aircraft which falls in Category A, but is circling to land at a speed in excess of 91 knots, must use the approach Category?B minimums when circling to land. The categories are as follows:
  1. Category A- Speed less than 91 knots.
  2. Category B- Speed 91 knots or more but less than 121 knots.
  3. Category C- Speed 121 knots or more but less than 141 knots.
  4. Category D- Speed 141 knots or more but less than 166 knots.
  5. Category E- Speed 166 knots or more.
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source: FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary

A performance grouping of aircraft based on a speed of 1.3 times the stall speed in the landing configuration at maximum gross landing weight.
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source: FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A)

AIRCRAFT APPROACH CATEGORY:
  • ICAO: The following ICAO table indicates the specified range of handling speeds (IAS in Knots) for each category of aircraft to perform the maneuvers specified. These speed ranges have been assumed for use in calculating airspace and obstacle clearance for each procedure.

    Aircraft CategoryVATRange of Speeds for Initial ApproachRange of Final Approach SpeedsMax Speeds for Visual Maneuvering (Circling)Max speeds for Missed Approach
    IntermediateFinal
    ALess Than 9190/150 (110*)70/100100100110
    B91/120120/180 (140*)85/130135130150
    C121/140160/240115/160180160240
    D141/165185/250130/185205185265
    E166/210185/250115/230240230275
    • VAT - Speed at threshold based on 1.3 times stall speed in the landing configuration at maximum certificated landing mass
    • * Maximum speed for reversal and racetrack procedures
    • Category E contains only certain military aircraft and is not included on all approach charts.

  • USA: A grouping of aircraft based on a speed of Vref, if specified, or if Vref is not specified, 1.3 VS0 at the maximum certificated landing weight. Vref , VS0 , and the maximum certificated landing weight are those values as established for the aircraft by the certification authority of the country of registry. An aircraft shall fit in only one category. If it is necessary to maneuver at speeds in excess of the upper limit of a speed range for a category, the minimums for the next higher category should be used. For example, an aircraft which falls in Category A, but is circling to land at a speed in excess of 91 knots, should use the approach Category B minimums when circling to land. The categories are as follows:
    • CategoryA Speed less than 91 knots.
    • Category B Speed 91 knots or more but less than 121 knots.
    • Category C Speed 121 knots or more but less than 141 knots.
    • Category D Speed 141 knots or more but less than 166 knots.
    • Category E Speed 166 knots or more.
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source: ICAO Aviation Chart Glossary


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Disclaimer: While this glossary in most cases is likely to be highly accurate and useful, sometimes, for any number of editorial, transcription, technical, and other reasons, it might not be. Additionally, as somtimes you may have found yourself brought to this page through an automated term matching system, you may find definitions here that do not match the cotext or application in which you saw the original term. Please use your good judgement when using this resource.


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