(Contact) Approach from the wrong direction?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by EdFred, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Quick and dirty:

    You are heading into SDF (Louisville Standiford) where the wx is supposed to be IFR/MVFR with the winds out of the northeast. You're coming in from the north. Weather is going to be outstanding until you get close. Approaches in use are going to be ILS or GPS 35L/R. The weather is going to be worse to the south and you really don't want to (#1) or won't (#2)

    1) fly past SDF just to come back to it
    2) fly into deteriorating weather with embedded TS awaiting you

    Would you request a GPS approach to 17L with a circle to land on 35R or a contact approach and scud (but not really scud) run the last few miles in?

    What are the chances they grant either of them to you?
     
  2. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    I would not hesitate to ask for what you want. I would do either of those. I think worst case scenario is they ask you to hold for inbound traffic.

    Of course, if it is UPS push time with a lot of inbound arrivals, you might hold for quite awhile.
     
  3. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They won't do opposite direction operations.
    Just fly past and stay close to the airport.
    Why not do an ILS?

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  4. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The ILS for 35R takes me 20 miles past the airport and into embedded thunderstorms with no onboard RADAR.


    Today there were 15 arrivals and 7 departures between 1 and 2pm which is when I plan to arrive tomorrow.
     
  5. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They will vector you MUCH closer than 20 miles. Ask for a turn-on at the marker. If the storms are that close to the airport, maybe wait it out.
    The other option puts you in a possible go-around into the weather.

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  6. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Wouldn’t gps 17 circle to land 35 keep you protected longer and closer to field?
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Some of that depends on how late you requested it. If they authorize opposite direction ops, they’ll have cutoff points for your clearance. If request it after the cut off with an opposite direction departure, you’re not getting the clearance. Might have to hold awhile.

    Contact is a horrible approach into a busy airport because it’s unpredictable. You navigate on your own an ATC has no way of ensuring sep from other arrivals or departures. Only thing they can really do is apply vertical sep from IFR overflights. Works great if nothing is going on though. The other problem with it, if indeed it is IFR with a ceiling below their MVA, you’ll never see the ground, thus won’t be an option.

    Depending on where these “embedded thunderstorms” lie, I’d either request the 17 to 35 circle or make it easier on ATC and do the GPS 29 circle 35. If the weather is as you say it’ll be then ATC will most likely have modified the expected approach anyway.
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Supposed to be OVC015 P6SM

    I'd be making my request as soon as I am handed off - maybe even let ZID know before hand and see what they say SDF says. I may not even file IFR from my departure point, but have one from EASEL or so in the system that I will pick up when close.

    My initial thought was to just request SVFR and be just under the bases going in, but no SVFR permitted. Figured the contact would allow me to stay "visual," and stay out of the way. but if they still need to keep the 3/1000 separations, I'm probably more of a problem.
     
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    It's good to have a plan, but I wouldn't worry too much about it until it happens. I would stay IFR unless you are sure you can get in VFR. The contact approach sounds like a bad idea as you describe it. This is a case where ADSB can be of a big help in seeing the weather, even if it is a little dated.
     
  10. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I would almost prefer to cancel and ask for SVFR before I would a contact approach. Don't know if they'd allow it, but if you had the runway in sight and and could stay VFR
     
  11. rsleeds

    rsleeds Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If the storms are south of the field and look like you'll get vectored into them, divert to KLOU - Bowman. 5 miles difference and avoids the longer vector south.
     
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  12. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    ATC will almost always work with you deviating for weather.
     
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  13. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

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  14. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    If the conga line is that long, they probably won’t give you either a contact or a CTL.

    If it’s not busy at all, the CTL is pretty easy to get. I have been refused contact approaches simply because a few guys tried it previously, couldn’t find the airport, and ATC had to figure out a solution on the spot. But it’s been a very useful tool for me over the years otherwise.
     
  15. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm not *expecting* a conga line, but you never know. My hope is that when I get handed off to them 30 miles out (whether on FF, or on an IFR plan) I can tell them I just want to get in under the 1500' forecasted, make right traffic and be done. Actually looks as if the winds are now supposed to be almost direct X wind and if they are using 17, all of this becomes moot.
     
  16. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    They do, and that’s the problem because flight paths can be unpredictable like @Velocity173 said above. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had a local directive there prohibiting the controllers from giving Contact Approaches.

    EDIT: Why EASEL? You may want to pick one of those airports nearby. Sometimes they seem to have problems with flight plans that start at Waypoints instead of airports.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  17. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, as it turns out, the weather forecast has changed 3 times since I posted. First better, then worse, now better. I"m just going IFR the whole way (visibility issues due to rising fog up here) and looks like it's layered near SDF and no T-Storns predicted, and as of an hour ago, they were using 17L anyway.
     
  18. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Safe flight.
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    If isn’t to busy and ya won’t tie up the frequency ask them, “just curious, would you guys ever approve a Contact Approach here.”
     
  20. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Looks like most of the stuff is going to stay well south of SDF. I’m thinking MVFR with no storms.
     
  21. TheGolfPilot

    TheGolfPilot Line Up and Wait

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    I use contact approaches into Concord a few times a year coming in from the south east. I know I am the only person who does it because I asked once and they said there is just one guy who requests them every once in a while. I request it when it is borderline visual approach conditions but I don't see the airport yet (not supposed to accept a visual approach), low visibility, sun glare, scattered clouds, etc.
    In most circumstances I avoid contact approaches when I am not familiar with an airport. Avoiding clouds and whatever else then looking at an airport from a changed direction can be disorienting.
    I think a lot of people request visual approaches when they should be requesting a contact approach. "ya I have the airport in sight" when they don't is pretty common. Why lie? "No, I don't see the airport but will you issue me a contact approach?" I have found the general consensus is that contact approaches are inherently dangerous and synonomous to scud running. And people avoid them even if that means lying to get a visual approach (and do the same exact thing they would do on a contact approach) or fly into hazardous weather to fly a real approach in far less comfortable and more dangerous conditions.
    SVFR doesn't really work well because you are in E airspace and the lower minima doesn't apply until you are in the Delta area. Plus, you are already on an instrument clearance, SVFR has 0 benefits over a contact approach. Another weird thing pilots do to avoid the dreaded contact approach
    Also, OP, that controller is there to help you. Not grant you permission. If you tell him you want the contact approach or a circle to land to avoid the thunderstorm they WILL give it to you if you ask and it isn't against their rules to do so.
     
  22. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    When I landed there, they just had me land on the parallel (17L) while they used the other (17R) for all of the commercial traffic. I just dialed up the localizer to make sure I did not get right of the runway center line, and ATC was happy.
     
  23. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don’t think pilots are lying to get a visual. I think most look at weather below VFR mins, they might as well just do the IAP.

    Some pilots just don’t understand the contact either. Was getting ready to plug into approach one day and the other controller was just finishing up a clearance for a C-12 (Pat). He was setup for a visual to 14 when the field just went IFR. “Pat11, the field just went IFR with 2 miles visibility, expect PAR runway 5.” Not wanting to get vectors all the way back to 5, he asked “ah...what’s that other approach?” The controller is kinda chuckling “Pat11, is something you have to request.” Few seconds later Pat says “Oh special VFR!” Puzzled, the controller asks “Pat11, understand you want to cancel IFR and go special VFR?” Finally, “negative we want a contact approach.” Immediately the controller responds with “Pat11, cleared contact approach at or below 1,500...”

    Contacts are no problem when nothing is going on, especially when the aircraft is coming from a direction that’s lined up with the runway in use. If a conga line is formed and you’re running multiple IAPs, a contact just throws a wrench into the whole plan. Not that SDF allows SVFR but that would actually be even more of a pain on the controller. It becomes non radar sep or essentially sanitizing the surface area until the aircraft lands.
     
  24. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    No convection. Was given amended of IIU IIU-175 for vectors and then suddenly a right turn of 290, they switched to 17L from 35R. 3000 and best forward speed. Thin layer of BKN-OVC and out at 1800 AGL.
     
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  25. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The west parallel was NOTAMed closed.
     
  26. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Glad to here it all worked good. Sounds like if you had left a few minutes later you might have got pretty much straight in.
     
  27. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah I didn't get a chance to ask about the contact issuance since they were moving everyone to the north side. I was the first one in on 17L.
     
  28. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    That’s cool. Wouldn’t have wanted you balling up the freq. Swinging the boat is usually a busy time
     
  29. Dean V

    Dean V Pre-takeoff checklist

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    IlS into JVY.
     
  30. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    Yep.