Circling Approach, night landing runways NA

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Tantalum, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    I'm scratching my head on this and hoping I'm just missing something obvious. The approach in question is the RNAV 17 into SEE

    The notes state "Night landing: Rwy 9L, 9R, 27L, 27R, 35 NA." so that leaves just runway 17 available for night landing.. at least according to this IAP

    BUT, I see people all the time here doing night landings into 27R..

    So... my question is... if I am on the RNAV 17 approach at midnight and transition from IMC into VMC at 1,600 feet and HIRAK then am I legal to do a circle to land onto 27R (since I am now visual just like every other VFR person doing night landings on 27R)? Or am I supposed to dive it into 17?

    This one has me confused.. since the circle to land portion anyway would be only when you have visual contact with the airport

    ???
     
  2. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    I think you would have to cancel IFR and continue VFR(in the pattern) to land on 27R. Or do visual approach.
     
  3. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks, that's why I assumed looking at the plate but it didn't seem logical.. if the circling approach requires visual contact anyway, than how is a circling approach any different than just flying a standard pattern. There *are* tall mountains near the airport, so I assume it has to do with that.. but heck if the 60hr VFR traffic can handle it then I would think so could the instrument

    Anyway, thanks for the sanity check!
     
  4. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    I'm guessing there are unlit obstacles inside the circling area.
     
  5. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    As you said, circling just requires that you see the runway environment. You may be 10ft below the clouds and have pretty crappy visibility. A lot lower limits than VFR/Visual.
     
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  6. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    Last I heard it was trees.

    You want an even better one... the LOC-D disallows Night landing: Rwy 9L 17 27L 27R 35... That leaves 9R.. 9R(27L) is unlighted and closed at night. So they should have just shortened the LOC D to "Procedure NA at night" and the RNAV to "Circling NA at night"

    Edit, never mind, here's the NOTAM for the LOC-D:
    DISREGARD NOTE: NIGHT LANDING: RWY 9L, 17, 27L, 27R, 35 NA. NOTE: NIGHT LANDING: RWY 9L, 27L, 27R, 35 NA

    Which now at least allows 17...

    And from a time when you could circle to 27R from the LOC-D(Skip to 10 minutes in):
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  7. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If it was trees that were the issue, maybe the airport took care of them once their approaches were taken away.
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    My airport has this as well. We only have instrument approaches into runway 2 but winds favor 20 95% of the time...circling NA night.

    Circling often has lower minimums than TPA...couple that with you only need to maintain visual with the runway environment with the inability to see IMC ahead. That can still be considerably crappier conditions than VFR conditions (3/1-5-2) at TPA (usually 1000' AGL) and the visibility that affords. At my home filed that is over populated areas so I kinda get it.

    Legal answer is that if you pop out to VFR conditions below the deck, cancel IFR then you are just VFR in the pattern...but pretty sure no one is gonna bust you if it is VFR and you land then cancel.
     
  9. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Usually restrictions on night or circling approaches are due to unlighted obstructions that penetrate the protected airspace. Sometimes it could be something simple like a tree the airport needs to cut down, a building or tower, or even terrain.
     
  10. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    If I'm remembering correctly at KSEE the issue was/is the trees are not on city/county/state property and can't simply be cut down.

    At my home airport now(KONP) they've got a huge bunch of work they have to do in order to properly protect the approaches from trees on non-airport property, some land purchases and some negotiations, etc.
     
  11. jonnyjetprop

    jonnyjetprop Line Up and Wait

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  12. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    When this is the case, an aerial survey determines where/what the obstructions are, and then often you need to ground-truth the aerial survey to determine exactly which tree(s) in a group need to be trimmed. Then you need to go to the property owners and negotiate an avigation easement. Some landowners are easy, some are not. Sometimes you get other items like billboards, buildings and other manmade objects that you can't trim, so then you have to go for lighting or removal. The grant funding process to complete this process often takes several years.

    There's one smallish airport I'm familiar with where acquiring the avigation easements and trimming/removing the trees would cost on the order of $2.3 million. In that case, FAA agreed the airport could protect the approach surfaces in a non-standard fashion (to match available funding). That meant the approaches were modified somewhat but can still be available at night. At another airport -- and I think there is only one in the country -- obstruction lights have been mounted to the trees themselves to help enable the night approaches. The landowner would not agree to an avigation easement and would not agree to light towers on the property.