What is FACF in Aviation? (Final Approach Course Fix)

In aviation, the final approach course fix, often abbreviated as FACF, is a significant point along the approach path of an aircraft’s landing. It is a critical component of the instrument approach procedure and plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe and precise landing. The FACF is defined as the point where the aircraft intercepts and begins tracking the final approach course towards the runway.

As the name suggests, the FACF marks the transition between the initial approach phase and the final approach phase. It is usually located at a predetermined distance from the runway threshold and is typically represented by a navigational aid or a fix in the aircraft’s navigation system.

During the final approach phase, the aircraft must maintain a specific course, glide path, and altitude to ensure a stable and precise approach to the runway. The FACF serves as a reference point for the pilots to ensure they are on the correct approach path and allows them to make necessary adjustments to align the aircraft with the runway.

Importance of the Final Approach Course Fix

The FACF is a critical component of precision approach procedures, such as the instrument landing system (ILS) and the RNAV (Area Navigation) approach. Precise navigation is crucial for landing in adverse weather conditions, low visibility, or at airports without visual references.

One of the key advantages of the FACF is that it enables pilots to establish a stabilized approach. A stabilized approach refers to an approach that follows a predictable flight path, maintaining a consistent descent rate, airspeed, and configuration, which allows for a safe and smooth landing. The FACF helps pilots to accurately intercept the final approach course and establish the necessary parameters for a stabilized approach.

Moreover, the FACF also plays a crucial role in maintaining separation between aircraft. By having a defined point where the aircraft intercepts the final approach course, air traffic control can safely sequence and separate arriving aircraft based on their positions in relation to the FACF. This helps to prevent collisions and improve overall traffic flow at busy airports.

Factors Affecting the Final Approach Course Fix

Several factors can influence the position and characteristics of the FACF. These factors include the type of instrument approach procedure being used, airport layout and configuration, runway length, and aircraft performance capabilities.

In ILS approaches, the FACF is typically located at a fixed distance from the runway threshold, known as the glide slope intercept point. This distance is determined based on the type of aircraft and its performance characteristics to ensure a safe and efficient approach. On the other hand, RNAV approaches utilize a waypoint-based system, allowing for more flexibility in determining the position of the FACF.

The airport layout and configuration can also impact the placement of the FACF. Airports with multiple runways or intersecting runways may require different FACF locations for each runway to maintain separation and prevent conflicts between arriving and departing aircraft.

Furthermore, the length of the runway influences the distance from the runway threshold at which the FACF is located. Longer runways provide more room for aircraft to establish a stable approach and may have FACFs placed further away. Shorter runways, on the other hand, may require the FACF to be closer to the threshold to allow for a safe descent and landing.


The final approach course fix (FACF) is a crucial element in aviation, ensuring the safe and precise landing of aircraft. It serves as a reference point for pilots to intercept the final approach course and establish the necessary parameters for a stabilized approach. The FACF also plays a vital role in maintaining separation between aircraft, allowing for efficient traffic flow at airports. Understanding the factors that affect the position of the FACF is essential for pilots, air traffic controllers, and airport operators to ensure safe and efficient operations.

For more information on instrument approach procedures and aviation navigation, you can visit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website. Stay tuned for more aviation-related articles to expand your knowledge of the fascinating world of flight.

For More: What is SODPRO in Aviation? (Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway Operations)