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Instrument Flight Procedures Optimization

The FAA has begun operationalizing the Performance-Based Navigation PBN Strategy that outlines how the FAA is modernizing the airspace from using ground-based navigation to satellite-based navigation. Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP), procedures that pilots use to create their flight paths, are incorporated into the NAS frequently and the IFP inventory has quadrupled from ~5,000 in 2000 to ~20,000 in the year 2020.

The FAA is committed to maintaining safe and efficient airspace. That involves flight inspection of every procedure, among many other things (e.g. development, periodic reviews, amendments, etc.), to ensure safety. As the IFP inventory increases, so does the cost to maintain it. The FAA has limited bandwidth to build and maintain more efficient IFP and integrate new entrants due, to the increased inventory, which results in delays in processing new IFP requests. It also causes more Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) with increased communication complexity between pilot/controller that could potentially lead to miscommunications and safety risks.

The FAA has created a framework and processes to analyze the cost/benefit of each IFP in its inventory, called IFP Optimization. The FAA will utilize this framework and recommend redundant or underutilized IFP for removal or amendment, to increase safety of the NAS. The FAA understands that its framework may not take into consideration the nuances of every single procedure. For example, rarely used IFP may be needed by flight schools to teach or certify new pilots.

The FAA looks forward to engaging aviation stakeholders as we continue to modernize the NAS. Please find resources to learn more about the IFP Optimization process below.

  • Refer to the following caption.
    Roadmap to NAS Modernization
    National airspace system (NAS) modernization is underway and will incorporate an approach to identify and retire unnecessary instrument flight procedures (IFPs), optimizing the IFP inventory to improve safety and maintain optimal service levels. In an effort of transparency and to receive feedback on the IFP Optimization process from industry and NAS users, the FAA hosted its first IFP Optimization Stakeholder Day on May 4, where FAA subject matter experts updated members of the public and national airspace users on how the FAA is modernizing the airspace and increasing efficiencies in the development and maintenance of IFPs.

  • IFP Management Fact Sheet (PDF)

  • IFP Optimization Fact Sheet (PDF)

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