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Instrument approach procedures are meant to keep you safe in the clouds, but if you make a mistake, you're opening yourself up to risk...
You quickly look down at your approach plate and choose the wrong minimums. If you're flying a non-precision approach and descend to the minimums for a precision approach, you're no longer guaranteed terrain avoidance.
Identifying approach lighting will help you get on the ground.
How else would you know if the needle you're following is indicating correctly?
Incorrect altimeter settings can cause deadly altitude deviations.
It's a great way to forget necessary flap, mixture, and gear positions as you break out of the clouds.
It could destabilize your descent so much that you risk getting a full-scale deflection of the CDI or glideslope.
If you forget where you are along an approach, you could miss a step-down fix or descend too early.
It's time to go missed and start the approach again if your CDI goes full scale. You no longer have a guaranteed safe path to the runway.
Don't forget other airplanes might be in the pattern at non-towered airports. Make sure you're talking to them.
If you don't have the required items in FAR 91.175 to descend below MDA or DA/DH, you can't keep descending. Dozens of accidents occur each year when pilots don't go missed when they should.
Have you ever had an instrument approach go wrong? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, commercially licensed pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings, and a commercial aviation student at the University of North Dakota. He's the author of the articles, quizzes and lists you love to read every week. Swayne's experience ranges from international flights in a King Air F90 to ferrying a 1943 Grumman Widgeon across the country. You can reach Swayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow his flying adventures at http://www.swaynemartin.com.