How would you circle on this approach?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by RussR, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. aterpster

    aterpster En-Route

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    PABE is Class E when the tower is closed.

    https://aeronav.faa.gov/afd/10sep2020/ak_58_10SEP2020.pdf
     
  2. aterpster

    aterpster En-Route

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    The approach does not have straight-in minimums. (PABE RNAV (GPS)-A.) One past the MDA on a circling-only approach you are within the circling maneuvering area. So, you are "circling" even if you are not turning as you pass the MAP.
     
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  3. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Answer, I wouldn’t. I’d refuse the circling approach and take one of the several straight in approaches.
     
  4. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Understood, but the person I was replying to asked us to consider a hypothetical situation where the field didn't have a tower. In that case, I was wondering if it would still be class E in the U.S., or would more likely be class G.

    Up here, my home airport CYRO has 2 RNAV approaches, but its control zone is class G (underneath Ottawa Terminal's class C, which is roughly equivalent to U.S. class B). So as soon as I'm in the control zone, I can cancel IFR without talking to ATC and simply join the VFR circuit, if conditions permit, ignoring the circling restriction. Or at least, that's how I understand it — we sent queries to Transport Canada two years ago for confirmation, but never heard back.
     
  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Either. The AFD tells us which.

    But in terms of cancelling IFR, we can do that any time we are able to maintain the proper VFR cloud clearances and visibility for the airspace we are in and, once VFR, ignore the circling restriction.

    Apparently different from Canada though, we would need to tell ATC we were cancelling IFR but, after that, we would not have to tell them when we were down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  6. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Maybe they're as confused as me from your terminology? You refer to "control zone" which was eradicated from our lexicon decades ago. And to a "terminal class C" which, you say, is similar to our class B. You say a control zone is class G, which doesn't compute for me either. I thought the reason we ditched our long-standing definitions of controlled airspace was to eliminate confusion for international travelers? The new world order, so to speak. I doubt I would be any less confused about Canadian airspace now than I was forty years ago.
     
  7. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    I suggest the charts refer to "Maneuvering" instead of "Circling". Maybe you or someone you know can pass that recommendation to the ACF? Then in about, oh five or six years from now, it might (I say "might", but I doubt it) make it into print. On a normally-occurring revision cycle, of course.
     
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  8. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Good point on "control zone". We do still use the term in Canada for class D and higher, but I shouldn't have used it to describe the class G cutout around CYRO that extends up to 2,000 ft AGL.

    Class C airspace in Canada is similar to class B in the U.S., in that ATC provides positive separation for both IFR and VFR aircraft. We don't designate any airspace as class B below 12,500 ft -- if you're flying into Toronto, Montreal, etc., you'll be in class C below that (but for all intents and purposes, it will feel like class C to a U.S. pilot). If you're flying in Canada, just treat all class C like U.S. class B and you won't go wrong.

    The thing that might be confusing to U.S. pilots is MF airspace, but that's for another thread. :) We also use class F for restricted airspace, which is not ICAO-standard (as far as I know).
     
  9. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    The FAA wants to get rid of as many circling approaches as possible, so in 5 or 6 years maybe the approach won't even exist any more. :)

    https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media...es-policy-for-eliminating-circling-approaches
     
  10. dtuuri

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    @RussR. I'd be more concerned about the opposite scenario, where the restriction to circling is on the other side of the runway from where you indicate. Here's why: The best place to start a circling approach at an unfamiliar airport is directly overhead. From there, all approaches are exactly the same. No optical illusions (or "delusions" as my Dutch copilot used to say). If you can do one, you can do them them all. So, IMO, that's the default ideal mindset to start with, not breaking off early and chancing a misjudgment in when or where to begin descending (with possible fatal consequences). If life doesn't intervene in the form of ATC requirements or VFR traffic on nice weather days, that's where I aim to be. So, your scenario works well as it points me to the maneuvering side of the field. If the restricted area were on the opposite side, I'd have to break it off early and make a riskier type of circle to land maneuver.

    Again, since my earlier query went unanswered, isn't a "fly visual to airport" exactly the same thing as your OP? I haven't seen any evidence that those things, "things" being circling restrictions w/fly visual, don't exist (other than I can't find one) under TERPs criteria. And they are many miles long in cases.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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  11. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Ironic, isn't it? Everybody's so proud of GPS/WAAS because it can go as the crow flies between A and B, but then they create T routes so you can't. Now, they want to take away your ability to save time by getting turned around to land into the wind via a short radius visual maneuver and require you to fly miles and miles out of the way, turn around IMC and return for more miles and miles, into the wind the whole way instead. Nice.
     
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  12. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    I think maybe the FAA is just tired of the NTSB pointing a finger at them every time someone crashes on a circling approach.

    In practical terms, unless the approach is right at minima (which is relatively rare in most of North America), we can just tell ATC we're going to cancel at (e.g.) 1,200 ft and join the VFR circuit. I haven't had an issue with that so far.
     
  13. dtuuri

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    If you cancel, you lose search and rescue. So, why would you? What's the rush? I'd wait 'till I land unless somebody's behind me.
     
  14. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Not sure of how it works in the U.S., but in Canada, you can cancel IFR and SAR separately. I can cancel IFR 20 nm back from the field for an operational advantage, and still keep SAR notification until I touch down. When you cancel, ATC will often ask if you want to cancel both.

    Once you've dropped down below the cloud deck to find beautiful weather underneath, cancelling IFR makes ATC's life easier and can save you 10 minutes+ of vectoring in busy airspace, or even longer waiting for another IFR to takeoff or land at a one-in/one-out uncontrolled field.
     
  15. dtuuri

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    Why do they crash? Are they too low (below MDA) within the confines of the circling boundary or are they straying outside the boundary because they try to circle too high and consequently need more lateral space to descend? I can think of some astronauts that died doing the former and a Lear crew that died from the latter. In the Lear's case, circling minimums were high enough that the crew needed more space to descend normally than the circling area provided, so it's the FAA with blood on their hands, imo. They still don't seem to see the need for reconciling the circling area size with a normal descent gradient to the runway. They should, though, somehow. Maybe daytime only restrictions when the two aren't compatible?
     
  16. dtuuri

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    That doesn't seem prudent, to me.
     
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  17. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Fair enough -- fly however you're comfortable. Personally, if it's good VMC underneath, I don't feel any more at risk cancelling and flying the last 10 minutes VFR than when I'm flying the entire flight VFR.
     
  18. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You have very different rules regarding flight plans/itineraries/SAR than we do. Except for a very few restricted areas, we have absolutely no requirement for filing VFR flight plans and your flight itineraries are nonexistent here. Cancel IFR here and basically, no SAR unless a friend or family member reports you missing. The only relationship between ATC and the initiation of SAR is if someone ATC has been communicating with stops without explanation. I think difference is mostly based on Canada having far more extensive remote areas than us,
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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  19. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    kinda like having a 570 ft MDH with 2400 RVR vis requirement?
     
  20. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Absolutely. Most of us actually live within 200 miles of the US border (I think Canadians, on average, are more urban than Americans), but we don't have to fly far before we're over a whole lot of nothing and below ATC radar coverage at GA altitudes.

    Now, to be fair, I've been below Boston Center radar coverage at 7,000 ft over Maine as well, and had to revert to position reports, but that's not so common in CONUS.
     
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  21. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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  22. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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  23. dtuuri

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    Yeah. How can you comply with 91.175 with a half mile of vis from almost two miles out at DA? Do you have such a paradox in mind?
     
  24. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Those are the mins for the LOC 18C at KMEM.

    Obviously at some point prior to 1/2 mile from the runway, you should be able to spot the approach lights and continue down, but most pilots I work with don’t seem to factor any of this into their planning.
     
  25. dtuuri

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    Even if you can legally use all the area, say all five miles of it at the higher elevations and category D (IAS>140), who is going to eyeball it accurately? You might have to drop at close to 1000 fpm even if you could figure out how to use every inch of it. If you give yourself any buffer at all, then by definition it's an "unstabilized approach".
     
  26. dtuuri

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    I don't see how they can expect to see lights when the lights are just 2400' from the runway, the same as the RVR requirement, but they're at DA almost two miles out. Am I missing something here or are they being set up to fail?
     
  27. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Real world, who knows when they’d be visible, especially at night. In the sim I give them the vis to see them and continue a 3-degree descent to the runway, but most people level off until they see the runway.

    I consider it a “teaching moment” in training, not a setup for failure.
     
  28. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    I guess I would too, since it's a LOC approach.
     
  29. David Megginson

    David Megginson Line Up and Wait

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    Exactly. I have continued a landing past DH on an ILS approach with only the approach lights and not the runway itself in sight. (a) perfectly legal, (b) a non-event at slow PA-28 approach speeds, and (c) those lights really cut through the rain and fog.

    The RVR is there as a "it's so bad that you shouldn't even try" limit, not as a "you can land easily if this is the case" limit. As others have mentioned, viz fluctuates, but if it's below ½ mile at the start of the approach, they're suggesting it highly unlikely it will open up to 2 miles by the time you hit MDA.
     
  30. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Likewise. At KNEW (Lakefront) where the approach lights stick out into the Pontchartrain and the gray of the clouds is almost the same as the gray of the lake.
     
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  31. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    If they're flying the LOC, as in @MauleSkinner 's example, they wouldn't be at DA 2 miles out, because they'd be flying to an MDA, not a DA. This isn't just pedantic, it matters to the visibility calculations.

    Distance from the runway threshold is not (typically) a factor in the calculations for visibility associated with MDAs for Cats A and B - simply the height above the threshold is (and a few other factors). I would guess the reasoning is that these are non-vertically guided approaches and therefore the airplane is not required to follow a designated glidepath. At MEM, if you see the approach lights with the minimum visibility, you are at least 2400 (the RVR) + 2400 (length of MALSRs) = 4800 ft from the runway. If you feel you can safely land from that point, then go ahead and land. If not, go missed. It's left up to pilot discretion.

    For Cats C, D, and E, the visibility calculations are identical whether or not it's a vertically-guided procedure or not - the table in the 8260.3D is the same. The factors are Height Above Touchdown (HAT) and glidepath angle. I assume the expectation here is that Cats C+ aircraft really are more likely to fly (and be required to fly) a stabilized descent regardless of whether there is vertical guidance.

    Also, I will note that the visibility calculation methods, formulas, and table changed several years ago, but not all procedures meet the current criteria.
     
  32. aterpster

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    He's talking MDA, you're talking DA. DA minimums are geometric. MDAs, not so much so.
     
  33. dtuuri

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    It must be catching. You misspoke and MauleSkinner did too:

    I meant MDA. :oops:
     
  34. dtuuri

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    Right, 4800' plus another 1000' for the touchdown zone=5800', which is nearly 6000' and that's where you'd be at 300' AGL on a 3° GS. At an MDA of 570', though, you're almost twice that high, so would need to come down twice as steep (if my back of the envelope figurin' is accurate). So, @MauleSkinner, what exactly is the teaching moment? Dive for the runway as soon as the lights are visible? Don't accept this approach in inclement weather? I stand ready to be enlightened. :)
     
  35. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The US does have pretty good Radar Coverage at Enroute altitudes. But there are a lot of places, a lot, where it doesn’t go low enough to use Radar procedures on Approaches and Departures. Look a KHIO. Just 15 miles from the Radar at KPDX. There is a Center Radar about 40 miles away that is now ‘piped’ in to their Fusion Radar displays that gives lower coverage but still not low enough to use Radar separation all the way down. They still have to use Timed Approaches to have more than one airplane at a time cleared for an Approach and use Non Radar separation to get departures out. That’s of about a year or so ago. There was talk about putting in a new Radar near UBG but I’m not sure it’s even on the drawing board yet.
     
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  36. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I didn’t misspeak...the MDH is 570 feet. The MDA is 860 feet. The MDH was relevant to the discussion, so that’s the one I used.
     
  37. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    Since the term "MDH" is non-standard and does not appear in the AIM, the IPH, the IFH, or the IAP legend, I'd suggest that it might be the reason for some misunderstanding as well.

    The term for the 570 value is "HAT", Height Above Touchdown.
     
  38. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    How about MD(H), since I got the number off a Jepp chart? Or maybe just (H)?
     
  39. dtuuri

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    Ok, gotcha. Now, about that teaching moment—an RVR of 2400 means about a (estimating) 5° glide angle from first sighting, no? If so, what do you expect them to do?
     
  40. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    Didn't think about Jepp charts (I usually don't). Fair enough.