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You Need To See At Least One Of These 10 Things To Land From An Instrument Approach

This story was made in partnership with Envoy Air. Check out the full series here. Ready to apply? Submit your application here.

If you've taken instrument training, you probably know that you need three things to land on an instrument approach (FAR 91.175):

  • 1) Continuous position to land on intended runway
  • 2) Required flight visibility
  • 3) Runway environment in sight (approved visual reference for the runway)

But what are the 'approved visual references for the runway' that let you land? There are 10 of them, and we've got them for you right here.

1) The approach light system red terminating bars or red side row bars (used on ALSF-1 and ALSF-2 systems)

This is an example of red side row bars on an ALSF-2 system.


2) The runway threshold


3) The threshold markings


4) The threshold lights


5) The runway end identifier lights (they're the flashing strobes on the corners of the runway's approach threshold)


6) The visual approach slope indicator


7) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings


8) The touchdown zone lights


9) The runway or runway markings


10) The runway lights


And now that you know what you need to land, here's what landing on an approach actually looks like.

Ready to launch your airline career? Get started by applying to Envoy Air today.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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