Cleared Straight In Visual, How Long of a Final?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by farmrjohn, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Situation-you are proceeding direct to your destination airport with flight following approximately 7 miles from the airport and 70 degrees to the runway center line. Flight following hands you off to tower and tower instructs "make straight in approach to RW-XX, cleared to land". How far out should you intercept the final approach to the runway if tower doesn't specify a distance? Is it necessary to turn away from the airport before turning back to intercept a straight in final without looking like you are making a base leg entry? Asking tower for clarification on the desired length of final would of course eliminate any confusion.
     
  2. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Whatever is comfortable. If you were direct to the airport you would of course have to turn few degrees away to get straight in. They're just letting you know you don't need be entering downwind
     
  3. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    If it mattered, ATC would tell you. Just do something that can be reasonably expected based on your airplane and controller instructions. They are expecting you to go, more or less, straight to the runway.
     
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  4. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

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    Just long enough of a straight final for you to be on centerline at touchdown and not too close to any hazards before you get to the runway. It might be half a mile, it might not be until you’re over the pavement.
     
  5. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    “Uh, tower, how about a right base?”
     
  6. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    "Continue straight in final. Approach gave us the heads up that you are a certain Cirrus Pilot from the north Dallas area and this is normal ops for you."

    "....and Inspector Carl from the area FSDO said he will meet you on the ramp"
     
  7. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    “Roger. Slowing to short field approach speed...widest runway I’ve ever seen!”
     
  8. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    If he ever does become a CFI, I am definitely going to do a Flight review with him just to experience the big fun and frivolity...
     
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  9. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Absent any other instructions aim for the point where your typical base to final turn in the pattern would be from your current position and just join there.
     
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  10. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    ...but don’t be absent other instructions. If it doesn’t make sense, clarify.
     
  11. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    On my first dual night cross country as a student pilot, I got a 12 mile final into Bradley (BDL).
     
  12. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The question was prompted by a flight yesterday into the new home base airport. At the previous airport with similar arrival positions the controllers would be a bit more specific, i.e. direct to the numbers RX-XX cleared to land, make a (x mile) base for RW-XX cleared to land, make an X mile straight in, cleared to land. Yesterday I turned slightly to intercept a one mile final and tower called "it looks like your are making a right base" and directed me to turn more and fly away from the runway. I have a call into the tower to see just what they expected, we'll see if they return the call.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    My guess is they expected that you were somewhere other than where you were, and that you would have clarified.
     
  14. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

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    Surprised there are no overhead break jokes this far into the thread
     
  15. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, we’re not like those monsters over at VAF, you know!!
     
  16. JC150

    JC150 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the airline world i have to be on runway final approach course and stabilized by 1,000'agl. I strive for 5 mile final. In the GA world, i'll turn on a half mile final if that!
     
  17. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "and make sure all the riff raff clears outta my way."
     
  18. Erik1010

    Erik1010 Pre-Flight

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    Whatever you're comfortable with.
     
  19. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You did what I would have done, and the answer is "it's different for different towers." It's probably different for different controllers at the same tower. I wouldn't sweat it.
     
  20. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Other variables: Is there a parallel? Are you dawdling across its approach path?

    Just because you’re cleared to, doesn’t make it smart... get on across.

    Etc.

    There’s no one specific answer.