View Full Version : Cloud Break Procedure

Captain Smiley
28th Apr 2002, 02:52
Can someone tell me the difference between a Cloud Break Procedure and an NDB Approach Procedure.


28th Apr 2002, 03:34
An NDB approach will probably line you up with a runway - if you follow the approach plate carefully - and you should be able to land "straight in"..........a cloud break procedure (which may use an NDB, may not) could just get you below cloud....pointing at nothing in particular....and, in this instance, "pointing at nothing" is a good thing.

Consider the simplest cloud break of all - which we did at Liverpool many times.......fly to 10 dme on Wallasey 360 radial and keep descending until you see the sea. You can pick your own decision altitude.

28th Apr 2002, 04:57
Captain Smiley,

An NDB approach is just that, an approach to an airport. It may or may not be a runway approach and line up with a runway. Otherwise circling is required. To (legally) fly any approach an instrument rating is required.

A cloud break proceedure is just that - a way to get below cloud. Enroute instrument rating holders are able to fly cloud break but not approaches. Naturally the minima are higher for cloud break.

In OZ there are cloud break proceedures not even at an airport.

28th Apr 2002, 07:12
Captain Smiley... in PNG, we use it a little differently to all the descriptions posted so far on this thread. We have many airports where terrain is so closely adjacent, that a conventional runway-aligned or even circling procedure cannot be used. We thus came up with the definition that any approach that has to terminate outside a circling area would be termed "Cloudbreak".

The aircraft may or may not be pointing toward the airport at the MAPt and, indeed, the airport may not even be anywhere in sight at that point. Pilots need to do their homework before flying such an approach here and there is no substitute for a good working knowledge of the airport and its surrounding features.

These approaches are not employed at airports that are designated as ports of entry (ie international airports). To fly any instrument approach in PNG, the pilot must hold an instrument rating issued, or recognised, by PNG CAA. There is no such thing here as an enroute instrument rating.

Other countries may or may not treat Cloudbreaks the same way.

28th Apr 2002, 16:40

At my previous job we flew for the UN in Afghanistan. As the wars had destroyed all nav aids (and I mean all!) the only way we could go from IMC to VMC when approaching an airfield, was using cloud break procedures based on dual GPS. (Which required special approval by the danish CAA.) Special MSA charts had been drawn depicting sectors 25 nm, 15nm and 10nm from the navigation point. So all we did was fly to the point and descend according to the chart. If you entered from a "high terrain" direction, and still was IMC when overhead you then just turned into the lowest sector. If you did not go VMC you diverted.
Maybe it sounds complicated, it was not. It took a bit of practise mentally to put your "life" in the hands of the american DOD, but it worked OK. One or two scary moments when the GPS's came up with internal errors at the same time, and had to be reset.......

Captain Smiley
29th Apr 2002, 01:56
Thanks all. I really appreciate the info.

Be better, not bitter.