IFR missed approaches
The best way to study this
material is having several IFR charts available to help find an actual situation
in your area for analysis. Do three charts per session.
Filing and getting a clearance makes
you IFR. OTP is a mix of IFR/VFR that reduces separation standards.
Compliance with VFR visibility and cloud clearance is required along with IFR
minimum altitudes. (FAR 91.177) Under IFR to IFR standards terminal areas
require 3 miles lateral and 5 miles in centre airspace.
IN OTP the pilot must fly cleared routes but can
request direct and get it off airways with radar while maintaining VFR altitudes
OTP does not require clouds to
be flown. Without radar you will not be allowed to fly below MEA or higher.
An OTP aircraft can avoid the climbs and vectors required for IFR separation.
OTP can be filed for and obtained after completing the DP requirements. Under
OTP you can climb to any altitude below 18,000’ that is above the instrument
minimums so long as you make required reports to ATC regarding the changes.
Adhere to VFR cloud separation
Climb and descend at will
No need to fly assigned route
You must know where the DME is located
when flying an ILS. Don't leave a navaid during an approach that has DME if
it can be avoided.
Threshold crossing height (TCH) should be added to the threshold elevation
for altimeter reading. Do not use TDZE (Touchdown zone elevation)
Over 90% of missed approach accidents occur on the second missed.
ATC cannot give a visual approach when visibility is less than three miles. In
Class D airspace the ceiling must be better than a thousand feet.
To get a contact approach the aircraft must be on an IFR flight plan. A
contact requires one-mile ground visibility and an instrument approach to the
airport. A contact approach is the IFR equivalent of a SVFR approach.
When you are unable to interpret a clearance, come up with an alternative
suggestion to ATC.
Avoid procedure turns where you can.
A non-radar approach must begin at a charted initial approach fix. ( IAF)
The last chance you have to check your altimeter is when crossing the
If your glide slope indicator needle is acting funny, it is best to
consider it unreliable and change to non-precision minimums IF you have not
already descended lower. If lower, a missed is your only option.
For the PTS an aircraft must be able to perform at least two of the
non-precision approaches and one precision approach. An ADF is not required.
Marker beacons are required but can be
‘called’ by RADAR..
Light IFR aircraft should have standby vacuum system or pump.
There is no evidence that engine problems are more likely to happen at night
or that night weather is any worse than day weather.
Only a small percentage of total IFR flying occurs at night yet over half
of the IFR accidents occur at night.
Variations of transitions, segments and fixes make approaches.
The simplest approach on an airport will have only a final segment, MDA and
missed approach. No timing, no intermediate segment, intermediate fix or final
fix. Visual descent point (VDP) may exist. There is no glide slope information.
--Final approach may have several step down fixes.
At a minimum descent altitude (MDA) level flight continues, usually by
time, to the missed approach point.
ATC cannot vector you to intercept the ILS above glide slope.
do and have to me.
Vectoring altitude is 1000' AGL in flat terrain and 1500/2000' AGL where
The "Maltese Cross" on approach plates is the final approach fix for
non-precision approaches only.
The final approach fix for precision approaches is glide slope
If the ILS becomes a localizer approach then the time over the Maltese
Cross must be noted.
Ground speed can be determined electronically by
DME, LORAN or GPS
more commonly by using the wind direction and velocity from whatever source.
Use of the airport wind is very uncertain since wind speeds vary greatly with
altitude. The variability of the approach ground speed along with other
instrument factors are what makes most approaches non-precision.
Getting Vectors to the FAF
initial approach procedure can be the use of radar as a substitute for any other
The controller flies you a modified base entry and then gives you an intercept
heading of 20 or 30 to the ‘approach gate’.
The approach gate is defined as a point at least one mile outside the fix and
five miles from the runway.
The radar intercept altitude must allow you to descend within the limits of
the approach procedure.
The normal intercept of a radar vector is within the intermediate segments.
Only on an on-airport VOR or NDB can the radar vector intercept the final
The usual length of the intermediate segment is five miles except for shallow
interceptions of an ILS.
The ILS final approach fix is where the charted intermediate altitude
intercepts the glide slope.
Most ILS vectors must be at a higher altitude than would be a localizer
approach for this reason.
Once you descend below the last assigned altitude, you must be inside the one
and one-half mile charted approach airspace of the procedure.
ATC Vector Strictures:
2 miles outside the ‘gate’ unless a visual approach.
Unless ceiling 500’ above MVA/MIA and 3 mile visibility or closer vector
requested by pilot.
ILS vector cannot be above the glide slope or below the fix altitude.
Vector must allow published descent.
ATC has cushion of additional 300’ obstacle clearance for each mile over three
beyond the FAF.
ATC must give your position relative to a fix before clearing you for
Pilot Vector Strictures
Do not turn to intercept
given ATC clearance.
You must maintain or be given an altitude before being cleared for the
Strong winds can cause problems. Don’t rely on ATC for wind correction
Centre vectors come from distant antenna and are unreliable. Same with
BRITE in many
You can intercept final closer than 3 miles on request.
Even though a course change follows the FAF your intermediate vector is
considered to be a vector to final.
A clearance to an approach fix is not equivalent to a radar vector to final.
Pilot should reject a clearance and vector that gives you a straight in
where a course reversal is part of the procedure.
Where a VASI or PAPI serves as a glide path assistant some degree of obstacle
clearance is assured as long as you don’t go below the indicated centre of the
Timing, whether you use a traditional
or electronic timer makes no difference. Time is the second T of the 5/7 Ts.
for every segment of the instrument approach. You may not use it every time but
it should remain as part of the sequence. The time required for an approach
depends on ground speed. The timing of an approach involves more than just
noting the time off the chart. Since the time is based on ground speed we must
factor into it the effect of the wind, our proficiency at holding an airspeed
during established flight and transitions. The result of your timing efforts
will only be as accurate as your data input.
The "Maltese Cross" on approach
plates is the final approach fix for non-precision approaches only.
An ILS should be timed passing the non-precision FAF (Maltese cross). This
guarantees awareness if the glide slope fails and you need to continue with a
localizer-only approach. The FAF for an ILS is the point you intercept the glide
slope at the designated altitude on the chart. The localizer FAF may be inside
or outside marker, begin descent at interception (See Livermore chart)
The final approach fix for precision approaches
is glide slope interception.
The greatest hazard associated
with non-precision approaches is the descent from MDA to the runway.
In relatively poor conditions the pilot must change from IFR to VFR flight. Your
localizer is only good within three degrees of centerline. An LDA’s precision is
even less. It is not unusual to miss the
runway by 1/2 mile at the MDA of a NDB approach.
Select a heading
Reference Heading is the heading
that will keep the needle centred. Because of wind you must bracket this heading
through referral to the Heading Indicator. One system uses 1/2 angle corrections
of ever decreasing amounts. (see instructor)
Initial changes to find the
reference heading should be 5 degrees. (10 degrees only if 1/2 deflection.) All
turns by reference to heading indicator.
Stabilize your heading and airspeed based on the wind. Use only rudder for
heading changes of three degrees or less.
Cleared for the Approach
If a pilot who is "Cleared for the
Approach" does not understand his responsibility to adhere to the charted
altitudes of that approach, he could be preparing for an accident. The phrase is
one of the most misunderstood and ambiguous terms used by ATC. Controllers
expect pilots to know what they are supposed to know. Pilots who don't know
what they don't know will fail to follow the expectations of the controller. FAR
91.175 (i) states--"when a pilot is cleared for an IFR approach, he shall
maintain the last assigned altitude until established on a published route for
which a lower minimum altitude is published."
One definition of ‘established’ is when you are
within ˝ of the total possible needle deflection.
Any route leading to an IAP
(instrument approach procedure) becomes part of that procedure when the approach
clearance is given. If you don’t get an
approach clearance you can’t descend. The approach clearance should relieve you
from all altitude restrictions. Just report leaving your present altitude
The pilot who has a malfunction
of equipment or systems on an IFR flight is required to report the problem to
ATC (FAR 91.187). The pilot should know
that being cleared for the approach requires him to fly the altitudes and routes
as charted. You can remain at higher than charted altitudes but never at
lower than charted. If ATC provides vectors then altitude restrictions must
be included. If ATC fails to provide the required instructions or information
then the pilot needs to know enough to pick up the error.
Most of all, the pilot must know enough of his
situation to say "NO" to ATC when it is justified.
The term "radar contact" does
not mean that ATC will provide obstruction avoidance. ATC will not provide
advisories as to traffic and terrain below the minimum vectoring altitude unless
specifically requested. The informed pilot understands the performance rules of
Minimum IFR altitudes (MIA) is the minimum vectoring altitude for
Minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) apples to terminal facilities.
Common Approach Elements
Study the plate.
Highly essential. Memorize what you can.
Be ready to fly the full approach.
Always assume you'll have to fly the missed.
If you need to look at the approach plate inside the outer marker you have
not properly prepared.
Configure the aircraft for approach before reaching a critical point on
Anticipate what will be required
Use a pre-approach checklist
Take your time. Slow the aircraft down. Try to determine the effect of
wind. (Tailwind approach)
Remain in a hold until YOU are ready for the clearance and approach.
The inbound hold will probably be aligned with the approach course.
Use what you have
Use all available equipment and devices.
The Five As
Headings, altitudes, time, distance, missed
Each part is defined as to:
Inbound to IAF--
Beginning - the route to IAF
Beginning of approach
-- the Initial Approach Fix --
--Between IAF and end of procedure turn--
Beginning - IAF
End - to end of procedure turn
Established inbound to FAF--
Beginning - from procedure turn
End - to final approach fix (FAF)
Fan markers can be used as FAF but such use is rare.
Between FAF and MAP--
Beginning - FAF
End - missed approach point (MAP)
Altitude based on 40:1 climb gradient of 152’ per nautical mile.
Missed Approach Segment
This segment begins at the decision height (DH) or at a specific point
in non-precision approaches. The chart will show an altitude, direction, and
clearance limit. Figure minimum climb of 200’ per nautical mile.
Given a choice between a timed and DME MAP, take
Any departure course within 15
degrees is considered straight-out.
On an ILS do not make any
heading changes until above 400’ AGL. On a non-precision missed, make your turn
immediately. You can always climb before the MAP but never turn before the MAP.
There may be more than one
missed approach procedure but only one will be charted.
--Between MAP and holding fix--
Beginning - MAP
End - to holding fix
Any approach in actual
conditions should be flown with the uppermost idea that the missed approach is
an anticipated outcome. Be prepared to
configure the aircraft. The landing gear is the least critical item of any
re-configuration. The missed will arrive regardless of decision height, and time
when there is no runway, no lights on ground. You must act quickly, correctly
with prior knowledge that you have charged your short-term memory with the
A good missed is easiest when
made following a stabilized approach. Get full power smoothly, set the pitch on
the AI for Vy and hold it. These two first and second together. Then climb
configuration but don’t hurry and only when everything else including heading
are in order. Now is the time to refer to the missed checklist.
Step Down Approach
First of all, slow down. Know
the pitch attitude, power setting, and configuration that will give the most
rapid descent you can control at the 90 kts approach speed. Practice this
descent and level off until it is not part of the problem. The step-down
approach requires you to be able to control the maximum performance capabilities
of your aircraft. Doing this gives you time to pick up the runway, configure the
aircraft, and execute a normal landing.
Established outside FAF
+ 5 degrees to MAP
IFR Stabilized Approach Defined
1000 feet above airport elevation when IFR (500 feet VFR)
Aircraft on correct flight path and requiring only small corrections
Speed no more than 20kts above Vref nor less than Vref
Aircraft in landing configuration
Sink rate below 1000 fpm.
ILS needles within one dot of centre
Wings level 300 feet above airport elevation when circling
Sterile cockpit inside IAF
The FULL Approach always includes
the procedure turn. Anything else is considered a straight-in approach via:
(Within 30 degrees of runway alignment)
NoPT Transition from a holding pattern
Holding Pattern Approach
If a holding pattern is part of
the approach the pattern manoeuvre is completed when the aircraft is established
on the inbound course after executing the appropriate entry. (AIM 5-48) ATC
expects you to proceed straight-in when crossing the fix. ATC does not
expect/require a holding turn from any entry that allows you to arrive at the
holding fix within 30-degrees and at altitude. AIM 5-48(a)(4) The holding
pattern manoeuvre is considered complete when the aircraft executes an entry that
establishes it on the inbound course. A radio report is required.
If you wish to do the complete pattern one or more
times, for practice or to become better established, advise ATC.
The use of autopilot may not be
allowed due to roughness (wavering) of signals. The faster the aircraft the more
likely the problem. If you have this equipment be moderate in its use and your
reliance on it. Use the autopilot only enough to maintain currency in its use.
Fly basic instruments on raw data and partial panel as opportunities arise.
Allowing the autopilot to become the dominant factor over personal proficiency
is a mistake.
Stress can affect your decision making
Good option choices become more limited
Self discipline is needed to choose the missed
Check destination early…
Expect to miss
Uncontrolled Airport Practice Missed Approaches
Begin the missed-approach soon enough to
remain above the traffic pattern altitude by 1000'.
Missed Approach Altitude
Not the DH or MDA but
Slopes from MAP at 150 feet per nautical mile (225 fpm at 90kts) up to
1000' below the Missed Approach Altitude. No obstacle can intrude into this
plane. Primary area of the Missed Approach Surface begins at the missed
approach point (MAP) and spreads to eight miles wide (four to either side of
straight line) at 15 miles out.
Early missed Approach
must fly to MAP before making any turns. However aircraft may climb before
reaching the MAP. One reason for timing an ILS approach is because this is the
best way to know you have reached the DH when no descent is made.
The Real World Missed
It goes without saying that any accident that occurs during a missed
approach is the direct result of a poorly performed procedure. The Missed
has a 40:1, no buffer, 152 ft/nm required climb gradient. This is less than the
200 ft/nm for a departure. Since there is no missed safety margin, you would
be well advised to use the departure climb for obstacle clearance. You will
have the width of an airway in 15 nautical miles plus a two-mile-wide secondary
area on each side.
The planning of the missed
according to TERPS is that it must be simple, the altitude to climb to must be
an en route or holding altitude that will avoid obstacles. The clearances and
gradient of any missed that has less than a 15 degree turn is considered
straight. Only airspace or terrain are allowed to void the simplicity of the
straight missed procedure. Many procedures do not have FAFs so the MAP will
always be the navigational facility regardless of location on or past the
airport. Make sure than your approach speed is appropriate for the category
box on the approach plate.
There are two basic kinds of missed approaches, the kind you are prepared for
and the kind you are not prepared for nor expecting. This second kind of
approach flies in the face of the training edict that you must expect a missed
and not a landing from every approach. We become so used to always landing that
the missed comes as a shock. We forget to add full power, clean up the aircraft,
get a positive rate of climb, climb to the turn altitude, turn, contact
approach. The report of the missed being executed is mandatory.
The expectation of landing is
relatively high with experienced pilots. In practice approaches you know you are
going to miss or land as planned. Making the missed when you are not expecting
it requires a new sort of thinking. You probably have not prepared the missed as
you should have. You must confirm timing or DME, climb, clean-up, which way,
how far, how high, what next? When multiple approaches are followed by the
missed, it is during the missed that the accidents usually occur.
1. Pitch for climb
2. Clean up per POH
The worst case missed is when
you are VFR until inside the FAF. The
fudging of minimums appears to be more likely to occur in this approach
situation. Beyond the MAP or below the minimums you must have the visuals or
execute the missed. You ability to time and fly a speed related to that time is
critical where a timing missed is part of the procedure. DME is better than
timing where available. Any delay in
executing the missed means that you will begin below the designed climb gradient
which has no margin for such an event.
End of Approach 'Unexpecteds'
Training procedures include not only
briefing the approach but the missed approach even though the vast majority of
actual conditions approaches seldom end with the missed. Thus, the occasion of
needing to make an unexpected missed approach usually catches the student pilot
unprepared for the missed segment procedure.
The unusual aspect of missed
approaches is that unlike the similarity of all the other approach segments, the
missed all vary one from the other. Early study of the missed approach procedure
improves the chances that it will be correctly performed.
The importance of this planning procedure became
even more important when the missed came as an unexpected event.
However, if you fail in your
missed planning and preparation, you should know that standard in all the varied
procedures of the missed a standard of climb and turn always exists. It is
the height of the climb and the direction of the turn that varies. You don't
need to look to your chart, climb as best able on heading while reporting to ATC.
Only when fully established in the climb should you consider looking at the
plate and reading instructions. The symbolic indicators of the latest charts
are even better and quicker than the text.
In the climb you now determine how high before turning, which way,
and how far. This is one area where fiddling with the autopilot or GPS or
other navigational aids should be minimized and emphasis placed upon proficient
hand flying. The end of every missed procedure ends in a fix with a holding
procedure. If the fix is an intersection getting there may be a problem. Get
a vector or crank up your GPS. The overall pattern of the missed approach makes
it possible for the unprepared pilot to line up the ducks and keep out of
More than one alternate
Keep getting Flight Watch updates
No approaches where below minimums
Never more than two approaches to an airport
No 'duck under' procedure
A Better Missed Approach
If IFR at FAF mindset should go to missed approach
Plan your reconfiguration procedure
Practice both precision and non-precision missed procedures
Practice the most unusual charted missed you can find. (Marysville)
Even when you do everything right..things can go wrong.
The best way to remove
missed approach concerns is through standardization of your planning and
execution. The missed approach is a standard and normal part of the approach
procedure. You must always pre-plan the missed approach at the same time that
you prepare for the approach. The missed is not a contingency. It is part of the
approach that is planned and prepared for. If you need to look at the chart
inside the outer marker, you have not properly prepared for the approach. Don't
even think about descending below the DH.
Make a stick-up with critical
missed DH/MDA information near the AI. One very useful technique is to write
the "missed' procedure on the window with a grease pencil. The Missed
Approach Point can be simplified for your post-it or window by using a
standardized format such as:
How low _________
How long _________
How far to my secondary airport________
The missed approach is always a
viable alternative to landing. The pilot, in preparation for the approach, has
become informed of the procedure and requirements. The "plan" is compared with
the weather minimums, personal minimums and procedure options. If the safer
option is inconvenient, take it. If you are going to make a creative missed
(different than published) clear in with ATC first. You can climb before
reaching the missed approach point but you can’t legally turn until reaching it.
Given the choice fly an ATC heading as assigned instead of the published
procedure which is more likely to put you into a holding pattern.
Landing expectancy is a "mind
set" at the subconscious level. The perception of the situation may not be
accurate but rather a expected, hoped for, desired situation. The further the
distance flown and the closer the landing the stronger the expectancy becomes.
The more insecure and uncertain the pilot is with the missed approach
procedure the greater will be the drive toward landing expectancy.
Setting up the missed approach
on the #2 NAV during the approach should be an integral part of the cockpit
resource management system of the pilot.
The missed approach point on a non-precision approach occurs when the TIME runs
out. It is much to late to look at the plate when the approach time runs out.
You should know what to expect by the time you reach your VDP. The
risk-benefit ratio can get pretty lopsided if you see the runway just as you
pass over it. (This probably caused the Sun Valley Mall accident) Reaching
DH/MDA and probing for the runway is the most hazardous part of an instrument
approach in low weather.
Consider executing the missed
approach in your approach configuration.
It shouldn't affect performance that much and will reduce the workload. Clean up
the plane once you are established toward the fix. If equipped, use heading
bug to set assigned headings. It's always better to go around for another
try. You now have first-hand knowledge of the situation.
Most judgment errors in non-precision approaches occur during the descent from
MDA to the runway as the transition from IFR to VFR takes place. You cannot
climb back to circling minimums once you have descended below them except for
making the missed. Some non-precision approaches have charted visual descent
points (VDP) before the missed approach time runs out. This is the point
from which from the MDA a normal landing can be accomplished. Visual descent
points are usually DME fixes. They provide normal descent to airport.
Just being able to see the
airport does not mean that it is safe to get to the runway. It is far better to
execute a missed than to force your way to the runway. The purpose of a VDP,
even of your own making, is to provide a ‘normal’ landing approach. Be sure
to write where your VDP exists on the plate and the time from the FAF.
You can make your own VDP on any
chart by taking 10% of the MDA and use that figure as the number of seconds to
be subtracted from the approach time. This method automatically adjusts for
altitude, speed and time. If you do not see the airport references at your
calculated VDP you will be required to make a missed because you will be below
circling minimums. Remember, the missed
climb can begin at any time but the turn part of the missed cannot begin until
the time has run out.
Your ability to land at reaching
minimums will depend on your ability to make the IFR /visual transition,
configure the aircraft, and acquire the required runway visual features.
Flying the time out will usually make a landing at a mile long
runway impossible. Run these figures as part of your preflight chart study.
You should pre-determine when
you expect to break the reported ceiling. Your plan is that from 200’
above down to the MDA you will flick your scan ‘outside’ every four instrument
scans. Use a windshield spot as the scan point. That is where you expect
to see the runway. This spot will be different for every aircraft and loading.
On every approach except the ILS it will likely be off to one side. Plan where
to look ahead of time. Every time you look outside at least two seconds is
required to focus the eye on a 15-degree; field of view. At night you must force
yourself to look slightly to the side of where you expect to see the airport.
It is very likely that you will
be approaching a runway with the wind from one side or the other. Keep in mind
the angle of correction you are holding on the HI. If you are holding a right
correction you must look to the left of your windshield aiming spot. It will
make a great difference where you can find the airport if you are in a constant
descent or already at MDA and flying level. Fly both approaches to the same
runway, descent and slope. Notice how the approach affects where you find the
airport up until the VDP. At the VDP both approaches are at the same windshield
The landing comes when you see
the runway environment; the missed is everything else.
Nobody likes to miss an instrument approach. The leading cause of IFR approach
accidents is improper IFR procedures--especially recognizing when a missed
approach is needed. A rapidly evolving error chain in an approach is best
indicated by any full deflection of the needles. Start the missed approach
as soon as there is uncertainty confirmed by instrument indications.
Execute the missed on any full-scale deflection of
the localizer or glide slope.
The missed must be flown
precisely to maintain obstacle clearance.
The missed approach procedure will be immediately executed if at any time the
aircraft descends below MDA. You do not have to be at the missed approach point
to initiate the climb to the missed approach point. You can execute the climb
part of the missed approach at any time. However, you must continue the approach
course, even while climbing, and initiate the missed approach procedures (turns)
from that point in time. Virtually all
missed-approach procedures require an immediate climb and a turn at the MAP.
If your approach goes bad, apply
power and climb. You cannot execute a turn from a missed approach until you are
at the time expiration for the DH on a precision or at the timed MAP on a
non-precision. Obstacle clearances before the MAP or DH are quite different from
those that apply after the turn. Fly the
published procedure unless VFR and cancelling.
A minimum climb of 152' per mile
is required. The area for the missed procedure is similar to that of the circle
to land procedure. Accidents during missed approaches are caused by failure to
initiate, delay in initiating, and improper procedure. Reliance on ATC radar
to resolve difficulties is becoming a common source of problems.
Missed do’s and don’ts
Keep your eyes on the instruments
Configure for the climb
Don’t turn until established in the climb.
Don’t look for anything below during the missed.
Don’t turn until climbing and stabilized.
Don’t put your head down during the missed.
Execute the missed if needles are erratic.
Set your own decision height above the published according to your
If you make and lose visual contact with the airport below decision height
execute the missed immediately
Landings get three shots but approaches get only one. Leave while you're
Don't even try if the weather is below minimums.
FAR 91.175 tells when you must execute the missed.
You will probably not be as near the runway threshold when you do the
missed from the glide slope minimum as you will using the elapsed time of a
A missed approach procedure only guarantees obstacle clearance when you
begin the missed at the missed approach point.
At an unfamiliar airport it is best to go elsewhere if you do not have the
airport in sight at the minimum descent altitude.
On occasion you may decide that
a missed approach other than that published will better fit your safety
requirements. Be sure to coordinate this with ATC so that they can give you
appropriate headings and altitudes to fly. An alternate missed procedure may not
No Autopilot on Missed
An autopilot may fly the aircraft
quite a while before a system failure becomes apparent to the pilot. A pilot who
continually relies on the autopilot is going to lack proficiency in hand flying.
The capable pilot scans all the instruments and is partial panel proficient only
if he is capable of cross checking instrument against instrument so as to
determine a failed instrument. Any
instrument which seems ‘failed’ must be compared and verified before being
The autopilot is disengaged on
the missed so the pilot can hand fly the impending climb and turn. You have
pre-set the heading bug, haven't you. The inability of the pilot to hand fly and
fly partial panel is necessary to prevent spatial disorientation. One-third
of missed approach accidents are due to loss of aircraft control. Approach
accidents that result in accidents should have been missed in the first place.
Second approaches that go lower are
preludes to a crash.
I.e. add power, raise the nose, confirm that you have positive rate of climb
established, and then retract gear and flaps. No reason why the same mantra
couldn't be used for a VFR go-around.
FAR 61.65(b)(2) required instrument
pilots to be instructed in DR.
DR is required for non-radar transitions to final approach
DR is required in doing holding patterns
DR is required in a non-precision approach when a navaid does not define to
missed approach point.
DR can legally be used on an IFR flight that extends beyond the "service
volume" (range) of a navaid.
Such flight can be initiated by either pilot or controller.
Radar monitoring will be provided.
DR provides situational awareness which should be augmented by a time and
distance log record of the flight.
Have your plates marked so you
don't have to look around for the times distances or altitudes.
Memorize them if you can. Plan your descent so as to reach the MDA (minimum
descent altitude) at least 1 mile before reaching the MAP (missed approach
Speed changes are used by ATC to
more efficiently move traffic. Any non-compliance, errors or inability to make
the changes are likely to affect your arrival. The only speed change that ATC
cannot directly order is the 250 knots above 10,000 of 91.117.
ATC deals with indicated, true,
and ground speed. True airspeed is used for flight planned enroute speeds. The
pilot flies indicated speeds and ATC corrects his radar measured ground speed
ATC wants to know if your speed
changes + 10 knots or by 5%. When you file your flight plan the speed you use is
the ATC reference speed from which changes are measured. If ATC assigns you a
speed, that speed becomes a clearance. Clearances are not violated.
Remote Altimeter Setting Source (RASS)
All altimeter settings must come
from a national Weather Service official observer or approved source such as
AWOS or ASOS.
There are two different
altimeter settings used in aviation. European pilots and glider pilots tend to
use QEF. Americans use QNH for most operations. The selection to be used for the
decision height of an approach makes a difference. Jeppeson provides both
numbers. NOS only QNH.
QEF is when the altimeter is
set to read zero at the airport elevation.
QNH is when the altimeter is set to read elevation from a datum plane which is
at the oceans mean sea level (MSL).
Remote altimeter setting source (RASS)
Most remote settings are close
enough to the field’s setting that you may be tempted to think the difference
can be ignored. When a low exists in the area the difference can be critical.
The higher remote minimums must be applied to intermediate, final segments, to
step-down and circling minimums. The DH of precision approaches applies the
difference but it is not applied to MSAs (Minimum safe altitudes , initial
segments, airway segments or feeder routes.
There is some question as to whether, when you reach into the 45-minutes
required fuel reserve, it constitutes an emergency. You are allowed to use
this reserve to complete a flight to an alternate landing but should you land at
such an alternate with less than the required 45-minute reserve you would be in
violation of FAR 91.151. Catch 22?
IFR fuel performance is
relatively uncertain since your route will be different than planned as often as
not. Don't hesitate to advise ATC of a minimum fuel situation. With
minimum fuel don't hesitate to divert, maintain altitude until within engine out
distance. Most no-fuel accidents occur within five miles of an airport.
By using altitude, climb/descent, distance, speed and wind a pilot can calculate
the amount of fuel required for any flight. The presumption is that you know
your hourly consumption based on actual flights using your flight practices and
leaning skills. An additional presumption is that minimum reserve
requirements of the FARs will be met for the flight type and conditions. The
destination of an IFR flight must meet the 1, 2, 3 minimums forecast one hour
before to one hour after ETA. It is of
interest that the NTSB found that should you land with below required fuel
minimums the burden of proof for a violation rests with the FAA to show that the
planned flight time was in error.
Complete flight, thence
Fly to alternate, thence (You can change your alternate so long as you can get
Fly 45-minutes at cruise
No alternate required if forecast of: 1. One hour before/after ETA a
ceiling of 2000' and 3-mile visibility.
IFR planes are required by FAR to have IFR reserves of fuel at all times
during IFR flight. Once you are airborne you are not required to proceed to
your selected alternate airport on the flight plan. You can legally go to any
airport. An IFR pilot has no right to be surprised by making a missed.
Both forecast weather and approach time weather at the airport should be within
the expected parameters of a pilot's planning and expectations. Any diversion of
a flight-planned route is best held to mind before the need actually exists.
The pilot who has not done any
diversion planning is now under considerable pressure. His initial option is to
do another approach but second approaches are notorious for both their failure
and accident rates. The second attempt tends to push personal minimums as well
minimums and fuel minimums..
Advance preparation is an
insurance program to be used before the flight situation becomes critical. IFR
training is unlikely put a student into an IFR situation where all the options
are down to one. The training that is needed is that which makes the trainee
sensitive to the need for presumptive diversion planning. If these events do
not occur in training, then when they occur in later IFR life the lesson will be
a real life experience. The right of Part 91 flights to try an approach,
regardless of minimums greatly increases the probability that the end result
will be a missed approach followed by a diversion flight.
Meanings of ‘Established’
"Established" is a variable, it
may mean "needle alive and moving toward centre", half-way, touching the
doughnut or even centred. A centred needle provides the greatest obstacle
clearance. One opinion is that when needle starts to move begin your turn to the
Reference Heading. When needle stops --stop turning.
For descent to published altitude "established"
means making the procedure turn or crossing the fix for the first time in a
The major consideration for
being ‘established’ is obstacle clearance.
A centred needle gives the best clearance. The standard procedure turn if
taken to its ten-mile limits and to full needle deflection is at the edge of
obstacle protection. Errors of needle deflection may work either for or
against obstacle clearance. The better you know the terrain and maintain your
situational awareness the more ‘established’ can vary from the centred needle
Choosing between a Circle, Downwind or Diversion
It is important that the pilot
pre-decide the limits that trigger each choice.
Using airline criteria is the safest choice.
Circles are not allowed at night, if you don't go visual at circling minimums,
if the cloud base is ragged and not permitting a visual circle,
Where a steep turn is needed to maintain visual obstacle clearance, if you
become disoriented, and if you cannot align with the runway you must go for the
Doing the circle as published you will be nearly 8000 feet from the runway and
600' above it when approaching final.
Only a perfectly executed circle has a prayer of being both legal and
During the circle you cannot be looking where the aircraft is going.
It is necessary that the training program include actual circle to land
situations both day and night.
The removal of the hood while trying to maintain altitude, bank and visual
contact unassisted is difficult to accomplish.
Do an actual circle to land procedure only at your home field.
How much tailwind can you handle for the last two thirds of runway?
Know that a ten-knot tailwind component will double all distances required for
Know the possibles for your aircraft right now so you fly with a pre-decided
minimum runway length
Make practice short field landing in calm-wind conditions and then one normal
Double or tripling these figures you come up with some pre-decided options.
Make Vref figures for your usual flying
Get the ground speed and sink rate required for reaching the threshold or the
A 20-knot change in speed will give an 86% change of energy with a l0-knot
headwind to a 10-knot tailwind. --At 60 knots a descent rate approaching into
the headwind will require a descent of 500 fpm
At 60 knots the tailwind will require 700+ fpm.
The tailwind has speed illusions that cause pilot want to slow below Vs.
With a tailwind you get a flatter approach that needs skilful power and
trim use for a stable approach. –--------Knowing you have a tailwind helps you
appreciate the problems.
Runway contact will be faster with more braking.
Wet more than doubles the required distance
The Missed Is Not a Go-Around
A missed briefing must be a part of every pre-approach briefing.
Most IFR approaches end in landings.
Most practice IFR approaches end in missed approaches.
Real world IFR training should do more landings than misses.
To land from an IFR approach you must have the runway environment in sight
before reaching DH or MDA.
Most critical point (s) are transition (s) IFR to VFR to IFR to VFR to
Survival depends on your ability to ignore all influences and distractions by
concentration on the gauges.
All missed approaches begin with a wings level climb