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5 Uncommon Jeppesen Chart Features

Most commercial flight operators use Jeppesen charts, and demonstrating knowledge of them is a hallmark of airline job interviews. This can be stressful if you're a job applicant, as you've most likely been working with the free government charts, and because the Jeppesen products are a subscription service, it can be hard to study them. Here are five uncommon features on Jeppesen charts that you might need to explain on your job interview.

Primary Navaid

Many approaches have more than one navaid (e.g. VOR, localizer) used on the procedure. Jeppesen charts make a distinction between them that is not made on the FAA charts. A primary navaid, that is, the one upon which lateral course guidance for the final approach segment is predicated, has a shadowed box. On the image below for an ILS approach at Dulles, The ILS box is shadowed, indicating it's the primary navaid used to determine the localizer course, while the box for the Armel VOR, which is used in the missed approach procedure, is not.

Highest Obstacle

The plan view, or the top down view, of the approach, points out many obstacles of note in the approach area. The one with a thick black arrow pointed to it is the highest of all points portrayed on the plainview area. Below, the approach plate for Kansas City Downtown Airport shows several obstacles, but the highest is indicated by the arrow at 2,049 feet (in MSL).

"Broken" Navaid

Navaids that are close to, but aren't directly in line with the final approach course won't be overflown on final. It can be difficult to pick up on this on the planview of the approach plate, and the FAA charts don't specifically call this out. On the profile view of the Jeppesen plate though, there is a "broken" VOR symbol, with shading that doesn't go all the way to the surface as it normally would. This indicates the Brooke VOR on the approach below at Shannon Airport in Virginia. It's the initial approach fix, from where a teardrop course reversal begins, but it's not directly in line with the final approach course.

Jeppesen-Derived Database Identifiers

On many approaches, a missed approach point will be identified by a DME fix or a cross radial along the final approach course. However, in GPS units that get their database information from Jeppesen, the missed approach point will be identified differently. On the plate below from White Plains, New York, the missed approach point for the Localizer is 0.1 DME from the IHPN localizer. In brackets, the Jeppesen-Derived waypoint is the runway 16 threshold [RW16].

Distance to "Zero Point"

On many RNAV approaches, or others without DME fixes, Jeppesen plates have an added feature not shown on FAA charts depicting the distance from the final approach fix to the so-called zero point, beginning of the missed approach segment. In the approach below from Benton Harbor, Michigan, this distance is written below the surface line at MALLY, and is 4.7 NM. You can add up the segment lengths written above the surface line, 3.0 and 1.7, to calculate the same 4.7.

Jeppesen charts are intimidating to look at initially. But because so much of what's on them is familiar from working with FAA charts, it can be helpful to focus on what's different about them. Our FlightInsight IFR Ground School uses both FAA and Jeppesen charts in its instruction to give you a good feel for both. Check it out today!

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I've been using Jepps for over 40 years and this article taught me a few things. Very well done.

Yet another feature of Jepps is their clear delineation of the MAP. It is called out plainly at the bottom of the "Gnd speed/Descent rate" table, located at the bottom of the Profile view, just to the left of the Approach lighting and MAP graphics. The FAA charts leave some ambiguity as to the exact location of the MAP.

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