Advice on approaches into KFUL?

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by polumbo, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    As everyone can see, I made a similar post today about what to expect into into SNA, but my destination had just changed.

    I am expecting a marine layer when I arrive at 8:30am on Thursday. I wanted a precision approach, which I could have had into SNA and my biggest concern in a 172 was being hurried between jets. Now with KFUL it is not having a precision approach.

    Coming from San Jose, which approach would people suggest and why? No A/P. I've been doing some refresher IFR instructor training the last couple of weeks to brush up my skills.

    I am /G with a Garmin 650 and I prefer GPS approaches, but the localizer goes to 600 vs the GPS to 900. I have pretty much decided that I won't go below 600 with a precision approach and 800 with non precision.

    If it doesn't feel good on the day, I plan to bug out VFR to El Monte. It's been a while since I've been down to busy LA, so I am planning on being conservative. But some local knowledge would be good.

    Ideas?
     
  2. RussR

    RussR Line Up and Wait

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    Not sure exactly what you're asking for.

    The approaches are what they are. If the clouds are below 805 AGL, then you won't get in using the GPS and will have to use the LOC. If they're above 805 AGL, then you might be able to use the GPS. So, if it was close, of course I'd default to the LOC due to the better minimums.

    The GPS approach may give you advisory vertical guidance (LNAV+V), but of course that only goes to the higher MDA.

    If your personal minimums are an 800 feet ceiling, then effectively it doesn't matter which one you take (the GPS having an MDA that's 805 AGL), so pick the one you want - for me in that case, I'd choose the GPS every time.
     
  3. luvflyin

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    I'd say what you're comfortable with. You acknowledge you are maybe a little rusty. What are your "rustier" things? VOR navigation? Task management? Making sure you hit just the right buttons on the GPS so you don't have to "reset" things at the last minute? Only you know the answer to your question.
     
  4. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Part of my hesitation is local knowledge. I had to make a few inquiries with people familiar with LA airspace to see what kind of routine I could expect. It's nice to know in advance. Then I thought I would choose an approach based upon the ceilings. Fullerton in the last week has been VFR in the morning (I expect to arrive at 8am), overcast with the tops between 1100 and 1700. So that was a little more comforting. Although there are no precision approaches like at SNA, I am expecting that I won't be wedged in between all the high speed arrivals like at SNA. After speaking with some knowledgeable folks, it seemed like coming from Gorman via V23 to Seal Beach will be a likely routing, keeping me high until I'm past LA traffic. So I thought if the ceilings were high, I would just take the VOR-A directly to FUL. That's assuming I get vectored by SLI (Likely), otherwise I'd need a procedure turn. That would give me 1500 minimums or 760 if I could pick up SLI, which I can with the GPS. But I didn't think about Long Beach or SNA traffic, which may preclude me getting that approach (Or at least quickly). Again, local knowledge I didn't think about. So then I thought I should do the Localizer, which goes to 560. But then as I have a personal minimum of 800 on a non-precision approach and the GPS approach goes to 900, that should do it. For the ease of using the GPS as well. If I'm right about the ceilings not likely to be less than 1000. But of course, Murphy's law. Dunno why the GPS doesn't go as low as the localizer? Because there's a turn?
     
  5. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I do FUL almost monthly from Nor Cal.

    IFR...you will get your exact routing you mentioned. All IFR GA traffic will go via DARTS at 9000'. They do keep you high and If you want FUL VOR-A or RNAV 24 you will get descending vectors once you are past the LAX arrival corridor. No PT to worry about, they will line ya up right where you need to be at the correct altitude. It kinda sucks having to stay high but it is what it is. The faster you drop, the quicker the vectors...I have learned how to play that game with them and what they need to get ya in quicker. VOR-A is the approach "in use" all the time the ceilings are high enough. You can always request whatever ya want but VOR-A is their default.

    VFR...I either go GMN, drop down to 3500 around BUR, direct EMT and cross mid field at 3500 then direct FUL. That will keep ya under and east of the Bravo but it is a lot of traffic advisories and a lot of radio work. My other preferred route is LAX Bravo Coastal route at 5500 then they will vector ya LGB mid field-ish then direct FUL. Flying the Bravo transitions is actually the most peaceful flying through the basin. Both routes are easy peasy once you do them.

    If the winds are movin over GMN area, I go via SBA and the 101 corridor...only adds a few min.

    If you are not familiar with the LAX VFR Bravo routes...study up on them. There are LOTS of options and unless there is weather or you are a bumbling fool on radio, transitions are almost always approved...but you are expected to know and fully fly the entire published procedures without assistance from ATC.

    With all that said, SNA and SoCal are VERY GA accommodating and will work you in as needed. FUL is my go to, but have been into SNA a few times without any issues. SoCal TRACON is amazing down there and will get ya in where you need to go and I would not hesitate for a second about the jet traffic. They won't shoo ya away.

    Be sharp on the radios...you will get a LOT of frequency changes both IFR and VFR once you are in the LA basin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  6. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Yup. It's a crowbar approach. (1) Throw crowbar out the window. (2) Follow it.

    The last time I flew my Bonanza down there I knew what was coming, so I slowed to Vle (122 KIAS) while still up at 9K' crossing the LAX final (and told ATC what I was doing). When the first descent was issued, down went the gear. It would have been tough to get it slowed down before crossing SLI on the VOR-A otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  7. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi Shawn,

    The advice you provided was exactly what I was looking for in my original post. Thank you so much for that.

    I've been down to LA a couple of times in rentals. Only VFR because either the rentals I took weren't IFR capable (Or decent) or I wasn't current. I had no problems with the frequency switches. I used to fly traffic watch up at SFO. But I found VFR very limiting with the marine layer in the morning. Even exiting, I had to *squeak* it out a couple of times. I've found holes to climb out through but ended up getting very close to Bravo shelfs. The last time I did it, I told myself that I would just make life simple and arrive/depart first class going IFR.

    So given the myriad of ways that one could transition to FUL across LA, local knowledge from the pilots up here and you is very helpful in knowing what to expect. Things like "They're going to keep you up high all the way across LAX then drop you down" is good to know in advance instead of expecting that you can sail across LAX on a nice descent.

    I'll digest what you've said about approach choices. I *was* leaning towards the GPS. Even the VFR parts, which might be more relevant on my return flight on Friday evening. I'm thinking of doing that IFR in VMC simply to make it easier, albeit longer.

    Cheers
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I will sometimes do that as well...one way to make it shorter in VMC is to just ask for a visual approach then they just point ya towards the field and you essentially arrive like you would VFR rather than a bunch of out of the way vectors for an actual approach miles from where you wanna be. Gives ya the best of both worlds...ease of the IFR transition through LA and speed of a VFR arrival getting vectored direct to the field and join the pattern to land. Makes the controller's job easier too. Not all IFR flight plans need to end in a flying a lengthy published approach.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  9. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Clarification: I said (Or kind of inferred) GMN V23 LAX SLI. You're saying expect DARTS, which is between LHS and SLI. Quite a bit to the East. Should I file LHS SLI? Or something different?
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I am usually FIM V597 SLI then descending vectors back to SLI to start the VOR-A...from LHS works too. I would put money on your cleared route being via DARTS one way or another from NorCal unless you wanna fly out on V27 over the water regardless of what you file...and even if you do file it and get cleared something else...bet ya get an amended route via DARTS with the LA Center handoff!...your LAX routing is probably unlikely in my experience as they are dropping LAX arrivals from the west over there through 9000' before looping back south then east to land LAX...at DARTS you are over the LAX arrivals which are shooting approaches under you which is why they keep ya higher as you cross over.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  11. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Great practical advice. First class but trimming time and cost.
     
  12. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm thinking of filing RHV to FUL with route SJC VINCO V107 FIM V597 SLI. Sounds simple and pretty standard.

    Then again, I will be leaving in the dark at 5am. Rather than climb across the mountains in the dark to the central valley on V107, I'd prefer to have a better chance of survival with HENCE V485 ROM V137 AVE V107 FIM V597 SLI, heading down to Hollister first until at altitude before crossing over to the valley. The FAA computer wouldn't normally approve that with SJC arrivals, but they don't open until 6am. If it's VFR, which it will probably be upon departure, I might just file that VFR, climbing to 7k - best speed, then picking up IFR at AVE and climbing to 11k. The 172RG runs out of puff in the climb above 8k. Although altitude in the wee hours is probably money in the bank...
     
  13. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    You'll need to be at 9,000 at DARTS (if not sooner). They won't descend you until you're past abeam LAX. The trick is to slow down during the descent, or you'll be way offshore before they turn you into the VOR-A approach. You'll need to be able to identify BWALT or have approach call BWALT for you so you can go below 1500' on the approach. Ceilings may be as low as 1,000 tomorrow, but likely a bit higher.

    Expect the tower to call circle south for left traffic for runway 24 from the VOR-A. If you need to go all the way to JUDLO and circle north (try to avoid this by descending quickly from BWALT), just be (very) aware of the 750' tower off to the west of the field.
     
  14. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Great advice on what to expect if requesting the VOR-A. I do know about that tower. I was thinking that the GPS might be simpler for someone not as proficient as they would like to be, even though it's further out. Less hurried getting down and set up. What do you think? Have you done the GPS?
     
  15. comanchepilot

    comanchepilot En-Route

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    DARTS is NOT as far east or out of the way as you think it is - esp if you start getting penalty vectors for LAX or LGB traffic.

    If you plan a route going GMN-LAX-SLI reasonable vectors to the VOR-A - and then plan one GMN DARTS vectors to the VOR-A - total mileage is negligibly different. Given how slow a 172 is to begin with - time wise its basically a wash.

    By the time you reach mountains in a 172 wheels up from SJC @ 5am - it'll be nautical twilight and you will be able to see them against the sky.

    Next - practical advice? First time into FUL - fly the approach even if you don't legally need it - FUL is damn hard to find tucked into the city, streets, buildings and what not out there - the approach makes it easier to find. Try to make a note of the environment its in - and it is very helpful to look at the area in Google Earth Sat view to get an idea of what to look for - and - if you come in from the east its a helluva lot easier descent to approach FAF altitude.
     
  16. polumbo

    polumbo Filing Flight Plan

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    Agree with that. I've flown in VFR a couple of times from the East under the Bravo. The GPS was telling me I was practically on top of it. Wasn't easy.
     
  17. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    Actually, you'll get vectored around quite a bit more trying to get to the GPS approach, especially at that time of day (dodging departures out of ONT). You would likely end up adding 10-15 minutes to your flight time going for the GPS approach. The VOR-A approach isn't complicated, just watch your altitudes (2600 to SLI, then a steady but fairly quick descent to 1500 at BWALT. They will progressively vector you around to intercept the final approach course. As I mentioned, slowing down will help - not more than about 100 KIAS in your descent past LAX, and you'll be set up for a reasonable turn-in for the approach. If you go 120, you'll be half way to Catalina before they turn you in.
     
  18. Greg T

    Greg T Filing Flight Plan

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    Head south, call socal coming over mountains. Split gap near Mt Wilson. Tell them El Monte direct Fullerton. You'll be on 45 for right traffic (standard at FUL) runway 24. If VFR not possible, continue east on top to corona or chino, 10 nm inland there is virtually no marine layer.
     
  19. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Did the satellite review years ago on my first visit there from Texas (runway finder back then), and it sure paid off. Did several trips after and didn't have problems. Last trip went there for a few days, then Yosemite and returned from the north at end of day with haze. It was unbelievably hard to locate the field from a "new" approach direction in haze - the tower isn't real easy to see if visibility is hazy either.
     
  20. rtk11

    rtk11 Line Up and Wait

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    Agreed. Fullerton is pretty hard to spot in the sea of other buildings in the city on a clear day, let alone in the haze. If you've got synthetic vision, that will help to identify the airport if flying VFR. If looking for visual clues to the airport, you're going to wan to be north of the 91 freeway. You can follow the railroad tracks (which takes you right to the beginning of runway 24) but that track meanders a little bit. If you've overflow Interstate 5, you've passed the airport (unless you're landing on runway 6...)
     
  21. spiderweb

    spiderweb Final Approach

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    Will you be over the mountains in the dark?
     
  22. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't, but downloaded a free APP I want to try called "FlyQ Insight" that looks promising for hard to see fields.
     
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  23. rtk11

    rtk11 Line Up and Wait

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    Someone else posted about this (I think the thread is "Disappearing Magenta Line" or something like that) and it looked really promising. I think it'll help identify the field. Funny thing about Fullerton is that once you've been there once or twice, you generally know where it is by the landmarks around it (warehouses on the East end, train tracks and 91 freeway to the South, golf course to the North. Oh, and the Big, Bad KFI tower to the West. :p

    If only they had something like FlyQ Insight (or I had been using synthetic vision on my solo XC), I might have found Fallbrook (L18.) It was a waypoint so I flew somewhere close and kept on going to French Valley (F70). ;)
     
  24. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    <Raises Hand> Well I guess I'm the doofus;) Landed Fullerton from Texas about half a dozen times from the east and never had a problem. flew to Yosemite and returned about an hour before sunset in haze and could not find the darn runway returning from the north:confused: Have approached also from Catalina flights several times with no problems, other than haze and lighting, didn't really have an excuse.

    Might be a name change (Lubbock Exec), but the field south of Lubbock that is used for intermittent drag racing was a real bear to locate as we flew directly over the top of it. Myself and pilot buddy BOTH had difficulty as the taxiway has a guard rail for the drag racing and basically no paint on the asphalt. Spotted a banner tow plane that gave it away finally.
     
  25. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    I learned to fly at Fullerton in the mid-1960s, when the smog was worse than it is now. You didn't have to ask what the weather was, it was always "-X2-1/2HK". The guys in the tower were as anxious to go VFR as we were, and sometimes it seemed their visibility calls were, um, optimistic.

    I'd be doing solo student pattern work on busy afternoons, with the right downwind for 24 often extended to St. Jude's Hospital, three miles east of the airport. There was no localizer then, and turning final into the hazy afternoon sun was a purely matter of faith and local knowledge.

    Then, as now, the airport footprint was only 3200 feet long fence-to-fence (no overruns) and a couple of blocks wide, almost 100% paved and very little open space, in a light-industrial neighborhood. It was tricky to find, even when it was home base! The KFI tower was the best landmark for situational awareness coming inbound. Keep it in sight, and don't hit it.
     
  26. Shawn

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    Frequent visits into FUL is were I learned the value of the extended runway centerline setting feature on Foreflight!