Chart Wise: Training and Technique

Van Nuys ILS 16R.

Sitting just north of the Los Angeles Class B airspace, Van Nuys Airport, which is Class D, is one of the busiest in the United States, with a single set of parallel runways: the 8,001-by-150-foot Runway 1/16 Right, and adjacent Runway 1/16 Left, at 4,013 by 75 feet. Last year, VNY logged just shy of 232,000 takeoffs and landings by a variety of helicopters and light piston airplanes, as well as single- and multiengine turboprops and business jets.

This month’s chart, the VNY ILS Z Runway 16 Right, is one of 11 approaches to VNY, and one of two ILS approaches to the same runway.

Pilots can be excused for wondering why the airport offers a pair of nearly identical ILS approaches. The ILS Z offers straight-in minimums down to 300-foot ceilings and ¾-mile visibility, while the ILS Y approach, using the same ground-based equipment, delivers minimums of 700 and 1½. To take advantage of the lower minimums, the ILS Z demands DME equipment aboard the aircraft, while the ILS Y does not.

A look at the missed-approach procedures, as well as the minimums, holds some of the answers to the procedural differences, some of which might make pilots from outside Southern California scratch their heads. The missed approach on the ILS Z approach is more complex than the ILS Y, including one note with an “at or below” restriction on the climb-out.

One reason for the complexity can be found 6 miles east, at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. As it happens, the ILS Runway 8 to BUR passes nearly overhead the departure end of VNY’s 16R at 3,000 feet msl, hence the restriction on the climb-out from the VNY ILS Z approach.