How to file for IFR practice approaches in the Seattle area

How to file for IFR practice approaches in the Seattle area

Every few months I see a post in aviation related Facebook groups about how to file for practice instrument approaches in the Seattle area. When I was getting my instrument rating, I did so through Avian Flight Center out of Bremerton, Washington (KPWT). They had a number of resources that were incredibly helpful, including a cheat sheat for filing IFR in the Seattle area.

Approach codes for the Seattle area

Seattle Approach requests that you use this system to concisely indicate your approach requests for local instrument currency/training flights when an IFR flight plan is filed. Place the following approach request codes in the REMARKS section of your IFR flight plan.

For each desired approach, enter the first character for the AIRPORT, the second for the APPROACH requested, and the third for how the approach will TERMINATE:

1st Character - Airport 2nd Character - Approach 3rd Character - Termination
A - Arlington (KAWO) I - ILS F - Full stop
N - Auburn (S50) L - Localizer or Localizer + DME M - Published missed approach
B - Boeing (KBFI) G - RNAV/GPS L - Request alternate missed approach
K -Bremerton (KPWT) V - VOR or VOR + DME C - Cancel with the Tower
G - Gray Army Airfield (KGRF) T - TACAN  
T - McChord Field (KTCM) P - PAR  
O - Olympia (KOLM) N - NDB  
P - Paine Field (KPAE)    
R - Renton (KRNT)    
H - Shelton/Sanderson (KSHN)    
W - Tacoma Narrows (KTIW)    
X - Thun Field/Pierce County (PLU)    


You file IFR BFI to BFI, and want to do approaches at PWT and TIW.

If your request was to fly the ILS-20 @ PWT to a missed approach, followed by a LOC-17 @ TIW to a missed approach, then the ILS @ BFI, to a full stop. In the REMARKS section of your IFR flight plan, enter KIM, WLM, BIF.


  • Do not use these codes when making approach requests on frequency. Always state approach requests made over the radio in plain English.

  • Make sure you put these codes in the REMARKS section of your flight plan, not in the ROUTE section! If you wish to request a specific departure procedure, you should list that departure procedure in the ROUTE section. Example: BFI..NRVNA1..BFI

  • These codes – and this system – is unique to the Seattle Approach. If you are practicing approaches elsewhere, put “Multiple Approaches” in the REMARKS section of your flight plan.

  • These codes may be used when filing online via e.g. DUATS, and usually when filing via a telephone call to FSS (1-800-WXBRIEF).

  • If you have a special request or change your mind after you are airborne, let the controller know.

  • Seattle TRACON will try its best to accommodate your request. Be prepared for possible changes in your flight plan.

About Matt Goodrich

My name is Matt Goodrich. I'm a dad, a pilot, and an information security professional.