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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 23:13   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Continuing approach when below minima

Quick question probably more for the IR instructors/ATC. Was always under the impression that if one had commenced an approach (when weather was above minima) and the weather then dropped below minima, one could continue the approach down to DA. Incident several days ago when this happened to me. ATC passed an RVR which was below minima. I replied "roger". They then asked me to confirm i wouldnt be descending below 1000ft aal (which I already was). Only option was to abandon approach and go around. Im not disputing ATC were wrong but have things changed recently or have i misunderstood regulations. If anyone has comments or can direct me to a definitive answer that would be gr8.
Thanx All
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 23:43   #2 (permalink)
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I agree with your view of things and more importantly so does the CAA. The AIC on the 'approach ban' is here:


Maybe ATC didn't realise you were already below 1000'? Might be worth giving the Tower a call to discuss - ATC are usually amenable to such conversations and the RT will have been recorded. If you're lucky, there might even be a radar tape that can be replayed to decipher what went on...
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 13:26   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks EGBK flyer for that. Think I may well do that. Gonna chat to our chief pilot too. Thanks for the AIC reference too. Thats what i needed

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Old 4th Sep 2008, 05:05   #4 (permalink)
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Reading this circular I would assume that you have to do the missed approach directly if you are already below 1000'.
I can't find where it says that you may continue if you are already below 1000'
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Old 4th Sep 2008, 09:57   #5 (permalink)
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The circular only covers a case in which you are not below 1000 aal. If you are, it's a normal instrument approach - i.e. you continue to MDA/ DA and go-around if you don't get the required visual reference etc.

If the approach ban is in place, ATC will direct you appropriately (e.g. vectors to hold or divert to your alternate).
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 10:20   #6 (permalink)

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The link which EGBK has provided you with gives details of the UK approach ban - you must not descend below 1000' aal if the RVR is below minima, although once past 1000' you may continue the approach if the RVR subsequently falls below minima.

However, that is different to ICAO, which says (I think) that you must not continue past the OM or FAF if RVR is below minima, but once you've passed this point you can continue if it falls below minima.

I wonder if the difference between UK and ICAO rules is what's causing your confusion?

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Old 7th Sep 2008, 12:33   #7 (permalink)
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Hmmm; i always thought that the approach ban set in before reaching the FAF/OM. If you pass these and then weather goes below minima you may continue to DH etc. If there is no FAF/OM indicated at the particular airport then a decision to continue or abandon approach must be made before descending below 1000ft height.

Am ready to be corrected though
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Old 8th Sep 2008, 10:34   #8 (permalink)
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Flyingforfun - I think you're right. My employer's ops manual says:

Commencement and Continuation of an Approach

The Commander of an aircraft who receives information that the RVR is less than the specified minimum may continue an approach to land provided that:

When he receives that information the aircraft is below the outer marker altitude or equivalent position, and
The specified visual reference for landing has been established at the Decision Altitude/Minimum Descent Altitude and is maintained.

Note: Where no outer marker or equivalent position exists the pilot in command shall make the decision to continue or abandon the approach before descending below 1000 ft above the aerodrome on the final approach segment.

Note 2: The equivalent position can be established by means of a DME distance, a suitably located NDB or VOR, SRE or PAR fix or any other suitable fix that independently establishes the position of the aircraft.
I would think that's been written to cover the UK and ICAO versions.

Last edited by EGBKFLYER; 8th Sep 2008 at 18:54.
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Old 8th Sep 2008, 16:14   #9 (permalink)
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Approach Ban

if the RVR is within limits the approach can be commenced. Should the RVR drop below minimums before the FAF (or 1000ft AAL in the absence of a FAF), the approach must be terminated, and a missed approach flown. However, if the RVR drops below minimums after the FAF (or 1000ft AAL in the absence of a FAF) has been passed, the approach may be continued at the discretion of the aircraft commander. I should imagine this could be found verbatim on ICAO DOC 8168, PANS OPS.
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