Chart Wise: Training and Technique

Morristown, Tennessee, SDF to Runway 5 is an unusual approach that deserves close study.

Mention Morristown to an active pilot, and they’ll probably be quick to pinpoint it as a busy New Jersey airport 20 or so miles west of downtown Manhattan. This month’s Chart Wise, however, focuses on another Morristown, population 29,000, this one in Tennessee, a half-hour northeast of Knoxville.

For readers wondering what kind of educational opportunity a small-town airport like Morristown’s Moore-Murrell (MOR) might offer, speaking in aviation acronym-ese, the answer is SDF, or simplified directional facility. SDFs are disappearing around the United States, like many other ground-based approach facilities, but of course, that doesn’t mean you might not run across one in your travels.

An SDF is a localizer-based approach that generates a signal width fixed at either 6 degrees or 12 degrees as necessary to provide maximum flyability and optimal course quality. With a course much wider than the traditional localizer attached to a full ILS system, SDF approach guidance might not be as precise. Inside the cockpit, however, the ILS needle will react just like a standard localizer with left-right forward sensing.

Scroll over the interactive image below for details.