What is an LPV Approach?
Well, actually there is no such approach as an LPV approach. LPV means Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance. It actually describes the type of minimums that you can use on a GPS approach – like ILS or LOC minimums on an ILS approach. LPV minimums require the use of a WAAS-capable, instrument-certified GPS unit mounted in your aircraft instrument panel.
LPV minimums, usually 200 or 250 feet agl, are typically the lowest available on a GPS approach. Other minimum choices may include LNAV/VNAV, LP, LNAV and circling. You can usually ignore the LNAV/VNAV minimums, since LPV minimums are almost always lower. LP, or localizer performance, minimums are like a localizer approach; the angular guidance narrows as you near the runway and there’s no vertical guidance.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about what each of the minimums designations mean, what equipment is required and how the approach is to be flown. Here is a link to an FAA document from about 2012 that describes the different types of minima (pdf).
The video below is a more modern discussion of LPV approaches and how to fly them with the GPS installations that we have today. The video, presented by Jason Miller of The Finer Points of Flying, is part of Sporty’s Takeoff Pro video series available on your iPad and iPhone in the App store. There is a free version and a paid or Pro subscription-based version.