AN UNUSUAL APPROACH THAT DESERVES CLOSE STUDY
Morristown, Tennessee, SDF to Runway 5
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 leftright forward sensing.