21st Feb 2012, 12:04
This question is more of a debate we had the other night in the flight deck and wanted to clear it up. Our clearance was "Cleared for a visual approach not below the DME steps, when ready track for final"
Conditions were Night VMC and we're coming in IFR.
Inbound to the aerodrome above the DME steps (all visual requirements met) at 15 nm I decide to manourve within the DME sector above the DME steps to pick up the LLZ and GS to be able to descend below MSA at 10nm.
My question is, must I maintain my inbound track till 5nm or does the "when ready track for final" clearance negate this?
23rd Feb 2012, 13:48
If I remember correctly you should track as directed until 5 nm so the clearance to track to final when ready means you can track to final any time after recieving that clearance.
That is what I would expect.
I assume the controller was allowing you to track around any cloud and manouver to final when you were able.
What was your destination?
23rd Feb 2012, 15:48
In the UK given a Visual Approach, then subject to any restrictions specified, it's up to the pilot how he carries it out.
24th Feb 2012, 07:12
AIP ENR 12.8.4 Tracking Requirements. Tracking requirements for a visual approach include the following:
a. A pilot in command must maintain track/heading on the route progressively authorised by ATC until:
(1) by day, within 5NM of the aerodrome; or by
- for an IFR flight, within the prescribed circling area; or
- for a VFR flight, within 3NM of the aerodrome; and the aerodrome is in sight.
b. From this position the circuit must be joined as directed by ATC for an approach to the nominated runway.
So the 5NM doesn't apply at night... unless your "type" circling area kicks in at 5NM... However the when ready track for final is complying with part a. "As authorised"... If they just said "Cleared Visual Approach RWY 33" you would only be able to alter your authorised tracking inside the circling area.
27th Feb 2012, 08:12
Thank you all very much for your input. That clears it up!
27th Feb 2012, 08:38
Blockla.... presumably you referred to the Irish AIP as I can't find an ENR 12.8.4 in the UK AIP..? Herein lies the problem - different countries may have different criteria for Visual Approaches. The places I worked never had such restrictions, although I accept the rules may have changed.
27th Feb 2012, 10:34
HD, indeed they do - you may be surprised to know that in Australia (whose AIP Blockla is referring to), a VFR aircraft can be cleared for a visual approach!