Box vectors and lost comm

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Chip Sylverne, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Let's say you are on an IFR flight plan, imc enroute. You are approaching the airport, but have not yet been cleared for the approach. The controller says to expect box vectors for sequencing, and issues a vector 90 degrees from your course. You get no EFC time. A couple minutes in, you lose comm. What's the procedure?
     
  2. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    99
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mooney man
    So, essentially, lost com while being vectored.

    You're not holding so they're is no EFC.

    I would box myself right back onto the approach at my appointed arrival time. Squak 7600.

    I'll be interested to hear the answers from current CFI's



    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  3. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    To the IAF for the expected approach, or to the airport? You are cleared to the airport, but haven't been cleared for the approach. The airport is the next, and last, waypoint on your filed plan.
     
  4. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    99
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mooney man
    Fly directly to the fix told to expect. Something like, "vectors for the approach" or "vectors to XYZ"
    In the case of being vectored for the approach, I would fly to the IAF and execute the approach told to expect at the appropriate time to arrive at the airport at your filed time.
    Next question is, what if you are ahead of schedule?
    As I read read the FARs, you should hold at the IAF (clearance limit) until you reach the right time.
    Basically, do what you would do in a non-radar environment.



    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  5. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    The first thing they tell you is what approach to expect when you first call up. So, go to the IAP for that approach or the one you filed in your flight plan if you don't have RNAV capability, whichever you prefer. Descend as soon as you arrive, since you have not received holding instructions or an EFC or a clearance limit short of the destination airport. I believe that's what the rule expects, the controllers want, and the pilot wants too. Now, the Chief Counsel might expect a non-RNAV equipped airplane to overfly the airport or even hold over it or do something else, so if they want to make a federal case out of it, invoke emergency authority.
     
    mwagg737 likes this.
  6. asicer

    asicer En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3,198
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    What kind of navigational equipment do you have on board?
     
  7. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    /G.
     
  8. asicer

    asicer En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3,198
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    In that case, the previous posters answers sound about right.
     
  9. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    Box vectors is an ATC term?
     
    dtuuri likes this.
  10. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    "In that case?" Why would it matter whether /G or, say, /U? Once you know the approach, if you can shoot it, why wouldn't you get yourself to its IAF? If you can't, say it's RNAV and you're /U, you'd go to an IAF for an approach you can do.

    If the OP's question was meant for a comm failure enroute, before contacting and being vectored to an SIAP by approach control (and I see, now, he did mention being IMC enroute), the answer would depend on his filed route. Did he list the destination airport as a fix in block 8 (route of flight) as well as block 9 (destination)? If so, it seems to me he technically needs to complete the filed route to that waypoint lacking any amended route from ATC, which he can do because he's /G, before flying to an IAF. Otherwise, he'd be free to immediately fly to an IAF.

    I suspect an ATC instruction to fly a heading for "sequencing" would also include the reason, e.g., "...to the BANJO 5 arrival into Nashville." That would be akin to an expected route change and take precedence over the filed route under lost comms.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    5,647
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Were you already established on a segement of an Approach when they started vectoring you around? Had you been on a vector to a fix on an Approach or to the final approach course when they started the vectoring for sequencing? Do you have navigation equipment that would allow you to ‘vector’ yourself to final?
     
  12. asicer

    asicer En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3,198
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    I was thinking that depending on the terrain and where the vectors take you getting back to the IAF could be a challenge.
     
  13. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    No, on an airway, but not on an approach segment. In contact with enroute, but not the appch controller. Not yet cleared for the appch. Vectors issued for sequencing but commonly know as "box vectors". Informed to expect xyz appch, but not cleared. Apt filed as destination, clearance to destination, but airport not listed as waypoint in route file.
     
  14. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    9,189
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I've been trying to figure out how you overfly the airport without RNAV capability ever since I read that one;)

    But given you are being radar vectored for an approach when the radio goes silent, I'd follow that without a moment's hesitation and vector myself for the approach.

    Funny. Until your post I never heard of the "commonly known term" which appears in zero FAA publications.
     
  15. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    I learned the term from a controller, so, unless he made it up, somebody knows something about it.
     
  16. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    15,420
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    Assuming he means overfly the airport at cruise altitude, the Airport/Facility Directory section of the Chart Supplement gives radial and distance from nearby VORs, so a NORDO pilot could fly to one of those VORs and fly out the specified radial for the specified distance. However, that would require the pilot to determine what altitude would be safe to use. Another way would be to get on a published route and fly the horizontal guidance of a published instrument approach procedure. That would make it easier to determine what altitude would be safe.

    In reality, I would choose the second method, except I would not remain at cruise altitude. Instead, I would use the minimum altitude published on the approach and go ahead and land if I got the required visual references to do so. I believe this would be justified by the references to emergency authority in AIM 6-4-1a and b.

    6−4−1. Two-way Radio Communications Failure

    a. It is virtually impossible to provide regulations
    and procedures applicable to all possible situations
    associated with two-way radio communications
    failure. During two-way radio communications
    failure, when confronted by a situation not covered in
    the regulation, pilots are expected to exercise good
    judgment in whatever action they elect to take.
    Should the situation so dictate they should not be
    reluctant to use the emergency action contained in
    14 CFR Section 91.3(b).

    b. Whether two-way communications failure
    constitutes an emergency depends on the circumstances,
    and in any event, it is a determination made
    by the pilot. 14 CFR Section 91.3(b) authorizes a
    pilot to deviate from any rule in Subparts A and B to
    the extent required to meet an emergency.
    In my view, exercising emergency authority would be justified because remaining airborne longer than necessary with total comm failure creates unnecessary risk for oneself and others.
     
    Chip Sylverne likes this.
  17. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    I'd go with the former.
     
  18. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    Then it's a fielder's choice. You can get back on your airway and your filed route to an IAF or join some other appropriate route to it, like a nearby feeder or direct to an LOM, etc. How could the g-mint blame you for what you choose when it was they that ruined all your flight planning with a 90° turn into the weeds, huh?
     
    Chip Sylverne likes this.
  19. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    9,189
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I agree with your bottom line assuming the lost comm is because of your equipment. OTOH, assume it's an ATC outage so everyone else is lost comm too. Fortunately, "pure" lost comm on the pilot side is pretty rare, so much of the discussion is academic (or for checkrides). Usually it's going to be coupled with a NAV failure or worse.

    But in this situation, I don't think one has to rely on emergency authority. At worst, it's not well-covered by the regulation so I would rely on the bold language to exercise good judgment. But this scenario really strikes me as an application of the rules in 91.185(c):

    ..., each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:
    (1) Route.
    ***
    (ii) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;
    (iii) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; ​

    The usual version of this scenario is a sequence which includes "expect vectors to the final approach course" (or some waypoint on it). That tells me a lot of what I am "expected" to do.
     
    Chip Sylverne likes this.
  20. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    5,647
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Controllers use it. Like said by others it is not 'Phraseology.' To each other, like "yo dude, box that guy around behind this guy," stuff like that. And they will say the word to pilots, like "I'm gonna box you around" or something like that. But unless they give you something like 'expect direct to' or 'expect to join' etc., which they are supposed to do, but notoriously do not, they have left you hanging. It's pretty hard to comply with 91.185 (c) (1) (ii) when what was said with the vector was BOX or CLIMB as in the famous 'vectors for climb' and you certainly don't want to proceed direct to TRAFFIC when vectors for traffic was the reason for the vector. This leaves you with getting back on what you were on before they vectored you.
     
    Chip Sylverne likes this.
  21. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    They can do that with other controllers on the floor all they want. But, when they key the mic they would be better off leaving their controller slang on the floor. If they said to me "I'm gonna box you around," my response would be, "I cannot accept that instruction. It would hurt."
     
  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9,957
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    I’ve never specifically referred to a normal pattern as a “box pattern” but I’ve used it as well as in your example. Aircraft shot through PAR final, “Nikel 35, gonna have to box you out for another approach.” Which his reply was “Nikel 35 min fuel, request contact approach.” :(

    Not standard phraseology but I think it gives a mental picture to the pilot of the controller’s intentions. “Dark 45 heavy, you’re overtaking the previously called traffic by 30 knots. Might have to break you out and box you back around for another approach.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  23. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    The term should be in the 7110.65 and the PC/G, or not used.
     
  24. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9,957
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Not everything is covered in the .65 or the PCG. Example, ATC and pilots use “request pushback” and “pushback your discretion” but none of that is approved phraseology and pushback isn’t even in the PCG.

    Some phraseology that’s not listed in FAA manuals is covered in either LOAs or SOPs that pilots have no access to. Example- “tower directs abandon approach to the right, turn right heading xxx, climb and maintain xxxx. Acknowledge” No where in the .65 or the PCG is “abandon approach” listed as approved phraseology for an aircraft conducting an IAP. It’s in the visual chapter but even then there’s no phraseology for it.

    For events not covered by the order, the controller can use best judgement. Informing an aircraft that they will be “boxed out / back around” without a control instruction (vector) isn’t something I’d lose sleep over.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,834
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Most places where you have to get pushback authorization, you're not talking to ATC.
     
  26. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    Correct. It's from company ramp control in most cases.
     
  27. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    15,420
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    Is that done outside the movement area, or does company ramp control coordinate with ground control?
     
  28. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,834
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    It's also sometimes the airport running Ramp, but its not ATC. The ramp guys aren't "controllers."
     
  29. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9,957
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    My point has nothing to do with what airports pushback into movement areas (ATC jurisdiction) and which ones don’t. It’s the phraseology used by ATC that is used. Phraseology that’s not in the .65 and a word (pushback) that’s not in the PCG. Obviously it’s in common use among controllers and doesn’t seem to cause a safety problem.
     
  30. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,234
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    I was taught the word "pushback" in my initial training to be an airline pilot. In all my years of flying (4500 GA, CFI-A and I, 14,000 air carrier) I never received or heard of a box or boxed vector.
     
  31. SbestCFII

    SbestCFII Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2013
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CFII Scott
    7600, fly direct to the point to which you were being vectored, execute the approach immediately or at your EFC time.
     
  32. IK04

    IK04 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Copperas Cove, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LNXGUY
    If I am vectored 90 degrees to a final approach course, that is the ideal situation for a lost comm situation. The easiest way to accurately fix your position on the localizer/VOR final approach course is to cross it at 90 degrees and begin a standard rate 270 degree turn and roll out on final, inbound. No timing needed and ATC knows exactly what you are doing. I have been thanked by ATC for requesting "own navigation" and flying that intercept.

    IAW the part 91 lost comm procedures, this complies with the route to be flown and the time to leave the fix or hold. All that needs to be done is to fly the appropriate altitude, which should be the last assigned or the inbound altitude on the final approach course.

    Given that scenario, that's what I would do.
     
  33. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    9,189
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I never thought of "somebody knows about it" and "commonly used" being synonymous :D
     
  34. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,432
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    All good, but for:
    1. Vectors aren't to a point certain, course or localizer, just "fly heading"
    2. Vectors are for sequencing, so executing appch immediately may well cause a traffic conflict
    3. No EFC issued
    All which form the basis of my question. Getting vectors instead of a hold kind of leaves you hanging if you're suddenly nordo. Been a lot of good input on the thread.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  35. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    I thought it was a real good question, but I wouldn't see the need to delay descent until ETA in accordance with 91.185(c)(3) (due to no EFC received), if the clearance limit is the destination airport — especially in a radar environment.

    An interesting variation of the question would be "delayed vectors" for, say, removal of a disabled aircraft from the runway. What would you do then? Would you assume they must be almost done towing the plane off the runway or that they want some time to find a place to park you in a hold for an hour while they jack the plane?
     
  36. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    9,189
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I agree completely, but there is a recent troublesome Chief Counsel interpretation (referred to earlier) which very strictly construes 91.185. It's the one which seems to say, even if you don't have the equipment to navigate direct to the airport, you have to go there anyway :D

    I'm in the clouds and before I lose comm, the last thing I hear is a runway closure due to a disabled aircraft? I'm going to an alternate (another discussion ;))
     
    Palmpilot and dtuuri like this.
  37. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    Yes, so who's job is it to tell the pontificating Emperor s/he wears no clothes?

    "...the current interpretation requires an aircraft to hold over the destination airport until the expected time of arrival and then descend and commence the final approach."​

    Airports are not TERP-approved for holding patterns. Not to mention they ignore Part 91 amendment 91-189 which specifically ends the delayed descent requirement associated with ATC's abandoning of the "Expect Approach Clearance" (EAC) concept that was previously well explained in now obsolete IFR Exam-O-Grams.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  38. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    9,189
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Not me. This isn't the only one where I see a regulatory problem (as opposed to an "I don't like it" problem). But, fortunately, a lot of them are mostly academic.
     
  39. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    5,647
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Yup. Seeing as how airports are on the surface, the only way you can hold at an airport is keep your feet on the brakes. Well, I suppose you could taxi around in a somewhat race track route.:devil: I'm not sure the Chief Counsel is to blame for all this misunderstanding. They don't write the rules, they interpret them. And this one is subject to all kinds of interpretation because it is written wrong. Through the entire history of changes to Lost Com Procedures in the FAR's, the reasons for making them and the explanations in the Federal Register and other documents, holding at a point in the air above the airport was never intended. The rule was meant to be written "if the clearance limit is a fix from which an approach does not begin" not "If the clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins"
     
  40. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
    Well, I'm pretty sure the confusion set in when they changed "Holding fix" to "Clearance limit" in 91.185(c)(3). Foreign pilots landing in America thought "holding fixes" were just the ones drawn on the charts with little race track ovals. To eliminate their confusion I suspect the term "clearance limit" was substituted. Now, the foreigners aren't confused anymore, right?