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How does your company describe circling approaches?

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How does your company describe circling approaches?

Old 6th Dec 2013, 23:54
  #21 (permalink)  
ZAZ
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Aim of the game

To get lined up with the runway at the minima without breaking the lateral boundaries and the vertical limits.
FWIW I use the GPS to stay inside the limits, stick rudder and power to stay above the minima which until you are lined up with the centre line is the NOT BELOW Limit until established on the centre line.

Timing> WTF timing its a visual eyeball manouvre not more no less
You are off the panel and eyeballing for the runway LOW and SLOW as we were taught in IFR school.

No square crap either you fly for the runway and stay within the circling limits out there to stop you hitting something..like maybe a crane or radio mast

Unless its night and thats different again
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 00:10
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Unless its night and thats different again
It's night...
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 00:12
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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...and not a Cessna 172 going 65 knots. Back to IFR school.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 00:21
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Could we please keep the PPL/General Aviation stuff in another forum where it belongs?

I posted a set of comments, not long ago, on what I believe I’m seeing more regularly in this industry … that being the development of, and the subsequent dependence on, a “set of numbers” that are presumed to be the “answer” to the problem or the situation under scrutiny.
It's been like this for 50 years or more, when flying high performance jet aircrafts. You ever heard about:

Flying by the numbers.

You don't go around guessing in a aircraft that e.g. has a TOW varying between 45000 and 77000 kg weight, depending on the task of the day. For a very good reason, we rely on either calculated values or set number to accomplish certain tasks. Your rant was appropriate in the previous thread about sidestep. But here it has absolutely no value, and unfortunately devaluates your position, as your post show lack of knowledge in airliner operation.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 04:02
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Cosmo,
To be fair, I think AirRabbit is advocating a balance between numbers and execution. One should be confident in visually assessing the manoeuvrings required, but a solid starting point (the predicted numbers) is pretty essential for a reliable outcome too. However, it is certainly the case that some cirling approaches are so compact, that if the initial path isn't pretty much spot on, it will probably be a go-around and so numbers can be crucial to success.

AirRabbit,
The fact that a "circle-to-land" is a visual maneuver appears to be completely disregarded and replaced with a dependence on altitude and stop-watch timing to determine when to turn to land. It's a VISUAL maneuver. It has nothing to do with blindingly flying until a determined number of seconds has ticked by - and then doing something else - likely just as questionable.
I suspect, if this is the way people approach a circling approach it is because they only ever perform the act in the sim, where the visuals are not panoramic and actually require a calculated flight path such then when the runway is again sighted half way around base it is roughly in the right position.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 12:32
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AirRabbit
I posted a set of comments, not long ago, on what I believe I’m seeing more regularly in this industry … that being the development of, and the subsequent dependence on, a “set of numbers” that are presumed to be the “answer” to the problem or the situation under scrutiny. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, this practice has become a rather routine goal of an increasing number of aviators – the practice likely initiated when each person was a “new hire” … ostensibly generated either by that person, or other persons, to provide an outcome of the specified task, under the specified circumstances, using the specific set of numbers, to allow the appearance of an adequate piloting performance.

I even described several “number set” discussions …
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirRabbit
“…for tasks such as … “what engine parameters should I set for a heavy weight landing in an XXX airplane type?” or “what rate of descent should I hold during a zero flap approach for an XXX airplane type?” or any of the multitude of other similar “examination crutches.”
The line of thought represented in this particular thread is yet another example of seeking and providing information regarding the accomplishment of a very specific flight task - here, the completion of a circle-to-land – where simply “plugging in the provided numbers” will provide an “adequate” result. The fact that a "circle-to-land" is a visual maneuver appears to be completely disregarded and replaced with a dependence on altitude and stop-watch timing to determine when to turn to land. It's a VISUAL maneuver. It has nothing to do with blindingly flying until a determined number of seconds has ticked by - and then doing something else - likely just as questionable. The reason such a task is included is to allow a pilot to fly an instrument approach procedure to get below a cloud deck or within visual range of the airport and from that point, visually maneuver the airplane to the runway on which the pilot was cleared to land. Nothing more. Nothing less. Deliberately ignoring the concept of keeping the landing runway in sight while maneuvering to land completely ignores the concept on which the procedure was developed - and potentially sets up a skills-deficient pilot for almost anything less pleasant than landing on the runway originally intended.

If I were ever to plead with anyone about flying an airplane – particularly an airplane with innocent passengers aboard – where their presence is only due to the fact that they “trusted” in the ability, knowledge, and professionalism” of the pilot – this is where and what I would plead ... Please … evaluate the reasons you are asking for such information … review the mechanics required to perform the task in question … talk with a flight instructor you trust … practice the mechanics involved in completing the task in question … ask your instructor to critique your performance and offer recommendations for improvement … and then repeat that sequence until you and your instructor agree that you have learned how to perform the task.

There is nothing wrong with breaking down any flight task into the scientific and mathematic parameters that are involved … however, your reliance on being able to repeat any such sequence of parameters may well work only under circumstances essentially equal to the circumstances that existed for the task associated with the particular flight task on which the analysis was accomplished. Being a pilot is highly individual ... and is dependent upon being able to deal with the circumstances that exist at each individual point in time and space, which you, as a pilot, are expected to perform. It’s analogous to learning how to write by copying and committing to memory (both mental memory and muscle memory) very specific sentences, paragraphs, or books. Then, when you are inevitably asked to write the answer to “how do you feel?” you might well find yourself being quite ill-prepared to write an answer to that perplexing question. However, if you were to have learned how to read, write, spell, develop sentences, understand punctuation, and the like … you might be able to write an answer to such a question without having to be overly concerned about the concepts of verbs, adverbs, connectors, personal pronouns, and adjectives … like, “I am feeling pretty darn well, thank you.”

It may take some innovative thought processes on your part, and certainly a lot of effort and a lot of practice, but you will find it supremely beneficial to learn to fly rather than learning to apply a canned sequence of numbers to any specific circumstance you might meet in your aviation career.
Cliff's Notes version, please. Or are you writing for yourself again?
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 13:39
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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AirRabbit
Well said! Finally some common sense.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 15:22
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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I challenge, nay defy, anyone to maintain visual contact at low level on a rainy night with 2400m vis when they are on the outside of the circuit turns. Given the experience of some guys in RHS who will trust their judgement that "it's OK to turn now, boss."
Been there, done that, in big a/c and it works. Sometimes numbers are a very useful tool. The same is true with power settings. If you set it too low to start with it ain't going to work, so why do it? OK, there are those who say if you need more then give it; same with less only reduce it. But I still advocate that it makes life simpler, less work load and puts me in charge and ahead of the a/c, if I set a sensible power setting first and then fine tune it. If I guess in the dark and have to chase after the a/c IMHO that's not the way. But that is a whole other philosophy than the circling matter. It's just an answer about 'the numbers' idea.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 17:08
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cosmo Kramer
It's been like this for 50 years or more, when flying high performance jet aircrafts. You ever heard about:

Flying by the numbers.

You don't go around guessing in a aircraft that e.g. has a TOW varying between 45000 and 77000 kg weight, depending on the task of the day. For a very good reason, we rely on either calculated values or set number to accomplish certain tasks. Your rant was appropriate in the previous thread about sidestep. But here it has absolutely no value, and unfortunately devaluates your position, as your post show lack of knowledge in airliner operation.
Hello Mr. kramer:

It goes without saying that everyone here is certainly, and obviously, entitled to their own opinions on posts … and … those who make them. Personally, while others may not feel this way, it doesn’t bother me that you may believe I have a “lack of knowledge in airliner operation.” You may or may not find that fact amusing or significant (that’s essentially irrelevant) because I’m perfectly comfortable with what I know and how I apply that knowledge … including MTGW of the airplanes I’ve flown (some of which, by the way, got up to just under the million pound mark) and I’m more than a little familiar with the associated variances in performance adjustments required when the weight of the airplane is different from “last time.”

The concern I was registering – as you apparently recognized in my earlier post – is arguably the same recognizable factors under discussion in this thread. It started with what was likely an apparently innocent question … “how other companies describe the circling approach procedure, specifically the base turn to final from downwind.” The combination of terms is what “set-off” my light bulb … as there are precious few actual “circling approach procedures” that include a “downwind leg, a base leg, and a final approach leg” … including the appropriate turns from one to the next … and where they DO exist … the procedures for accomplishing a circle-to-land should be equally applicable there as to any other circle-to-land maneuver. The mere fact that there are multiple categories of airplanes should be a giant clue to the fact that those who design the circle-to-land authorizations at any airport are acutely aware of the necessity to cover more ground (i.e., due to the necessity to maintain a higher airspeed for the larger categories of airplanes) and is the reason that some airports do not provide circle-to-land capabilities for some categories of airplanes.

In this thread, the original post, and some of the follow-on posts, seemed to be advocating the same sort of “fly the cheat-sheet numbers and no one will know that you don’t know how to do it.” The fact is that most of my colleagues are interested in populating their cockpits with trained and competent professionals. Many of those friends of mine are recognizing that some of their newer colleagues are frantically recalling (some actually ask for a reminder regarding configuration or techniques) the “cheat-sheet” methodology for some specific tasks.

If there are pilots who believe it necessary to recall the appropriate formulae and then calculate the existing airplane weight and configuration; temperature; density altitude; the true, calibrated, and/or indicated airspeed to hold; the required thrust necessary to achieve that particular speed – requiring a formula for fuel flow and EGT to compute the required thrust level; reference a manual for the throttle position that would yield that thrust level for the existing altitude; the needed bank angle to stay within the authorized ground distance from the runway; and all the other numerous facts, figures, and calculations deemed necessary to complete a circle-to-land maneuver … I say … go for it. Knock yourselves out. However, if I were your instructor, and circle-to-land was the subject at hand, I’d ask you (politely at first) to put away all that … well, stuff … and look out of the window, fly the airplane at the appropriate circle-to-land airspeed, keeping the required ground objects clearly in sight while maneuvering the airplane to align with the landing runway. Additionally, we (you and I) would continue that practice, at varying airport/runway combinations, until BOTH you and I realized that you had assimilated the required knowledge and awareness to repeat that task successfully – whenever and where ever it was necessary for you to do so. Of course, where I have worked, you would have had the capability to ask for a different instructor … but those instructors I know wouldn’t likely differ in their approach from what I was asking you to do.

While I’m not sure of the nationality of many of those on this forum, here is the specific regulatory requirement in the US for the circle-to-land:
Title 14CFR Part 91.175 (e) Missed approach procedures. Each pilot operating an aircraft, except a military aircraft of the United States, shall immediately execute an appropriate missed approach procedure when either of the following conditions exist:
(1) …
(2) Whenever an identifiable part of the airport is not distinctly visible to the pilot during a circling maneuver at or above MDA, unless the inability to see an identifiable part of the airport results only from a normal bank of the aircraft during the circling approach.


Originally Posted by flyboyike
Cliff's Notes version, please. Or are you writing for yourself again?
… as it seems to be getting harder and harder for you to read and comprehend my posts … please allow me to free you from what you may believe is your responsibility to read and understand what I write unless I do so in a “cliff notes” fashion … please feel free and welcome to disregard anything I post. I wouldn’t want you to strain your ability to comprehend beyond what is available in other notable and respected cheat sheets – like “cliff notes.”

EDIT:
Perhaps you should do what I've done - I'm relying on the logic that the "IGNORE" function will solve the problem for both of us....

Last edited by AirRabbit; 8th Dec 2013 at 16:26.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 17:20
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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So, that's a no to the first and yes to the second?
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 17:58
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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My version with Cat D aircraft...

If downwind, slide out (vis permitting) for room to turn to final without overshoot. Go 30 seconds from abeam the threshold and start 180 turn to final, which is my standard, VFR night pattern procedure.

Them's the basics with variables for terrain, darkness, wind, etc. I don't have circling restrictions on my ATP types, BTW (and I don't believe any of us do).

We train, etc. for circling approaches every year in the sim, but prefer straight-in's with the heavies, and the missions normally allow for straight-in ILS or RNAV approaches. Thank you very much...
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 19:39
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Where abouts in the B737 FCTM does it mention 3secs/100AAL ?
I know we do it but I have never seen it!

My current FCTM mentions adjusting heading and timing so ground track does not exceed obstruction clearance distance.

I recall a note in the FCTM mentioning along the lines that timing is no longer needed due to GPS and the use of the FMC (fix page). But this might be for a visual approach.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 02:06
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Kefuddle
I suspect, if this is the way people approach a circling approach it is because they only ever perform the act in the sim, where the visuals are not panoramic and actually require a calculated flight path such then when the runway is again sighted half way around base it is roughly in the right position.
I think if you check you will find that the US regulatory authority does not qualify a simulator for the circle-to-land maneuver UNLESS the visual scene presented to them during the evaluation includes sufficient visual cueing to meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 91.117(e)(2) – which states, as I posted earlier, “…a missed approach must be made when an identifiable part of the airport is not distinctly visible to the pilot during a circling maneuver at or above MDA, unless the inability to see an identifiable part of the airport results only from a normal bank of the aircraft during the circling approach.”
If this requirement can be met and is observed by the simulator evaluator, then the simulator is qualified for that task – and the paperwork will include what airport and what runway combinations were used for that qualification. From there it is up to each individual training program approval authority (usually a principle operations inspector) and the airline using that simulator as to whether or not a circling approach may be included in the approved training program. Which is to say that if an identifiable part of the airport cannot be continuously in sight during the maneuver, that simulator would not be qualified for circle-to-land tasks. This means that flying beyond the visual system capability and relying on a stop watch and heading references to know when to turn - hoping to again be able to see the airport - is NOT something that the regulatory authority, at least in the US, would do.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 02:28
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RAT 5
I challenge, nay defy, anyone to maintain visual contact at low level on a rainy night with 2400m vis when they are on the outside of the circuit turns. Given the experience of some guys in RHS who will trust their judgement that "it's OK to turn now, boss."
Been there, done that, in big a/c and it works. Sometimes numbers are a very useful tool. The same is true with power settings. If you set it too low to start with it ain't going to work, so why do it? OK, there are those who say if you need more then give it; same with less only reduce it. But I still advocate that it makes life simpler, less work load and puts me in charge and ahead of the a/c, if I set a sensible power setting first and then fine tune it. If I guess in the dark and have to chase after the a/c IMHO that's not the way. But that is a whole other philosophy than the circling matter. It's just an answer about 'the numbers' idea.
I think I mentioned that any pilot is free to fly their airplane in any manner that is safe and does not exceed the rules or the aircraft certification limits. Hopefully, the manner chosen by most pilots will be completely in line with both the company’s and the manufacturer’s preferences for how to do what it is they are doing. If it’s easier for you to run through a quick calculation to determine a logical power setting – and are adept at being able to make necessary adjustments to “fine tune” that setting to keep the airspeed where you want/need it … I am certainly not going to quarrel with you. In my experience, I have not come across very many who are able to do what you describe – I believe what you say and have no intent to dissuade you from your choice of actions. What I have seen is one prospective new-hire or one relatively new student surreptitiously attempting to pass the “gouge” along to others in the class to know what power setting and pitch attitude to use to maintain an appropriate airspeed during a no-flap approach, or engine-out approach and landing, as well as other, similar such “gouges” and other “cheat-sheet” assistance. Not only does that very likely ruin that individual’s chance at being honestly evaluated – it very likely will set up in that person’s mind that it’s the perceived performance that matters … and “doing the job” comes further on down the list of important factors. THAT is what I was objecting to – and I’ll continue to object to it, in the strongest of terms.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 02:55
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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The concern I was registering – as you apparently recognized in my earlier post – is arguably the same recognizable factors under discussion in this thread.
No it's not. The other poster asked as question, if a 60/60 deg turn was the right "formula" for at sidestep.... a maneuver that contains so many variables (distance from threshold, distance between the approaching and sidestepping runway to name a few), that the only way it can be flow, is by looking out the window... Even for a newbie, with no idea, the proposed 60/60 deg was so ridiculous (compared to the few deg heading change required to do a sidestep), that one can only assume he was posting it to provoke a reaction.. In internet terms a socalled "troll".

Flying a high performance jet aircraft:
At night, in 2400 meter visibility, in rain, with strong wind, with turbulent conditions, with mountains surrounding the airport, with a cloud cover a few feets above your head, in 600 feet AGL - with out having a systematic approach to the task, flying by the seat of your pants, is reckless!!
...is to allow a pilot to fly an instrument approach procedure to get below a cloud deck or within visual range of the airport and from that point, visually maneuver the airplane to the runway on which the pilot was cleared to land
A circling is rightly a visual maneuver, but flown in IMC conditions. You are proposing to fly looking out the window when flying downwind. What visual reference do you expect to have? Is the terrain sloping, what horizon do you have to ensure a safe flight attitude? NONE. You have a pitch black, wet windscreen with mountains hiding ahead at a, by the authorities, precalculated safe distance. Flying a circling approach at night, in low vis, rain poring down your window, strong gusts and turbulence... I prefer you keep your eyes on the attitude indicator, not looking over your shoulder for the runway... thank you

(A runway you won't be able to see anyway, because the co-pilots head is in the way and the rest is covered by the circuit breaker panel).

Here is how it should go: When the timing is completed (co-pilot had the barely visible 90-degs-off-runway-lights in the corner of his eye during the downwind and does a sensibility crosscheck for position), you start rolling in. You won't be able to see the runway the first 45-60 degs of the inbound turn, because of the bank of the aircraft (no longer cover by co-pilots head, but co-pilots roof), so you continue to fly the ADI, and try to keep the aircraft under control from the turbulence from the nearby mountains. When the runway finally comes to view, thereafter gradually you includes the lit runway into your scan, but stay mostly on the ADI to avoid vertigo (rain is still hammering on your otherwise black window). When aligned, and the runway and approach lights are giving you sufficient cues that maintaining wings level by their reference alone can be assured, you switch you primary reference to the runway, but still glance back on the ADI, until you are ready to flare.

Either you never tried or obviously forgot how humbling an experience it can be to fly to an airport with a complete dark environment (no moon, no cities), even on a good night, without rain, without turbulence, on a straight in, on an ILS, with the autopilot engaged! We have lots of those airports in our route structure, and most of them require circling if unfavorable wind.

I am no hero. In the above scenario, personally I would divert. Unless one of the factors was removed (like no rain or during daytime). I would however be able to do it, using the mentioned method if I had no other option. Knowing that you have no system and no plan, I would be scared , pardon my French, if I was a passenger on your aircraft (which I, must say fortunately, see from your profile I will never be).

Having a system is not for the purpose of breaking any rules, it's not the purpose to continue the approach despite loosing visual reference. On the contrary, a system is in place to ensure that you do not extend you downwind beyond the needlessly, so that you end up father away than the prevailing visibility will allow you to keep the airport in sight. Yet far enough, to assure that you within the remaining distance to go, can complete the approach and landing and at the same time remain inside all established approach criteria that your company may prescribe for circling approaches.

Being a pilot is highly individual ...
No, and yes...
Second reason is for standardization, so that good CRM in a difficult situation is supported. Pilot are indeed individuals, but they shouldn't each bring different work methods along to work for the simple reason that we need to be able to trust, predict and work together in an unambiguous manner.

The above method is not a choice for me (though I would choose it voluntarily too), it's a part of my airline's SOP, which is approved by our regulator.


P.s.
You keep harping about "taking with your instructor", which I actually find a bit insulting. This is a professional pilots forum, the contributors here are already (should be) educated pilots. If you have something to say about flight training in small aircrafts:
Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) - PPRuNe Forums
or here:
Private Flying - PPRuNe Forums
(I agree that a circling in a C172 or Piper Seneca is a no-brainer and at the speed they move/turning radius/ability to stop and descent on the spot, can easily be flown as you would a normal visual circuit. I could do a circling approach in either aircraft without leaving the airfield perimeter fence).

Last edited by cosmo kramer; 9th Dec 2013 at 04:25.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 03:06
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RAT 5
The same is true with power settings. If you set it too low to start with it ain't going to work, so why do it?
Originally Posted by AirRabbit
If it’s easier for you to run through a quick calculation to determine a logical power setting – and are adept at being able to make necessary adjustments to “fine tune” that setting to keep the airspeed where you want/need it … I am certainly not going to quarrel with you.
Calculate?? Knowing SET NUMBER thrust settings (we are flying jets not piston props), could be essential to your survival!! Try flying with out airspeed indicator by the seat of your pants... you won't live long ...here it comes:
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 14:14
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Of considerable significance for flying in areas with TERPS: last year the FAA began implementation of more conservative circle to land protected airspace. This will be accomplished on an attrition basis so the conversion won't reach all airports until perhaps 15 years, or so.

I presume this will affect other countries that use TERPs, but I don't know that with certainty.

Following is the pertinent legend material published by the FAA:


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Old 8th Dec 2013, 18:51
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cosmo kramer
A circling is rightly a visual maneuver, but flown in IMC conditions. You are proposing to fly looking out the window when flying downwind. What visual reference do you expect to have? Is the terrain sloping, what horizon do you have to ensure a safe flight attitude? NONE. You have a pitch black, wet windscreen with mountains hiding ahead at a, by the authorities, precalculated safe distance. Flying a circling approach at night, in low vis, rain poring down your window, strong gusts and turbulence... I prefer you keep your eyes on the attitude indicator, not looking over your shoulder for the runway... thank you.
I hope that you take this post in the spirit in which it is offered … I have no intent to insult or belittle you in any way … I just wanted to offer the recognition of a concern and an explanation…

My concern is that you either are not aware of what the regulations say or have either misinterpreted it or have had it inappropriately explained to you. I know of no one who would write – let alone publish - the statement you made above, for anyone/everyone to see! I would encourage you to talk with someone who knows what rules are and knows how they can be, and often are, enforced - and I'm sure you know someone who would fit that description.

The answer to the first question you asked above (What visual reference do you expect to have?) is simple – I (and any other pilot with a license that I know) would expect to be able to see an identifiable part of the airport on which I expect to land. If I was not able to see and identify something I knew to be on the airport and knew exactly where on the airport that object was located, I would, in compliance with sound thinking AND the regulations, immediately execute the required missed approach. The understanding is that if the pilot knows what is seen on that airport, and knows the location of both what is seen AND the runway on that airport, there will be sufficient information to continue to fly toward where the airplane will be safely aligned with the runway to complete a safe approach and landing. That is a continual process – such that if at any time the pilot can no longer continue to see an identifiable portion of that airport, the regulation is clear, a missed approach must be initiated. There is a reason the FAA publishes regulations … and not recommendations. If a pilot accepts a clearance for a “circle-to-land,” and then deliberately elects to disregard what may or may not be visible “out the window” (and looking out the window during a circle-to-land is not as unimaginable as you may believe) that pilot has to be aware that he/she has just deliberately decided to operate contrary to an FAA Regulation. If the conditions ever get to a point similar to those conditions you described (i.e., pitch black, wet windscreen, mountains hiding ahead, low visibility, rain pouring down, strong gusts, and turbulence) and the pilot believes those conditions exceed his/her ability to continue with the task at hand (i.e., continue to circle to align with and then land on the designated runway) I would whole heartedly recommend that this pilot execute an immediate missed approach. Executing such a decision is, unfortunately, thought by many to be an admission of poor performance – and that is simply untrue! Executing a missed approach is a professional response to a professionally recognized set of circumstances that have been determined, by that professional, to exceed that professional’s knowledge and/or ability. AND, anyone who would criticize any pilot for making such a decision is, in my not-so-humble opinion, less than worthy of being called a pilot!

Originally Posted by cosmo kramer
A runway you won't be able to see anyway, because the co-pilots head is in the way and the rest is covered by the circuit breaker panel…
…and that is why the regulation does not require that the pilot continually maintain visual contact with the runway – only that the pilot maintain visual contact with an identifiable part of the airport – again, presuming that the pilot knows where the runway IS in relation to what on that airport that pilot can continue to see.

Originally Posted by cosmo kramer
Either you never tried or obviously forgot how humbling an experience it can be to fly to an airport with a complete dark environment (no moon, no cities), even on a good night, without rain, without turbulence, on a straight in, on an ILS, with the autopilot engaged! We have lots of those airports in our route structure, and most of them require circling if unfavorable wind.
I’d prefer to not get into a comparison of your respective logbook entries, number of hours flown, number of airplane types flown, places departed from, or where we’ve each landed an airplane. Those kinds of things simply no longer matter to me … but, suffice it to say that I vividly recall doing just what you say … although doing so with an A/P engaged didn’t come until I’d been around the pattern more than a few times.

During my career, I have earnestly attempted to ensure that I learned it (whatever “it” was) completely, developed a confidence on which I could depend, and then, when my career evolved into teaching and evaluating, I’d like to think that I took that level of understanding and humility along with me and was reasonably successful in using that as a primary characteristic in my teaching and evaluation. No one “knows” everything about everything – and everyone has to “learn” before they “know.” Not everyone has the same inherent abilities for everything they attempt. I’ve seen THE most agile basketball players bounce off their *ss when attempting to get onto an ice skating rink; and I’ve seen pilots perform the very best “Immelmann turn” and return to land only to “prang” one that likely should have blown the tires – and almost everything in between.

The “circle-to-land” authority was envisioned to assist pilots in landing at airports/runways that may not (or not yet) have a precision approach to assist landings on THAT runway in inclement weather. It’s the same thing with a “contact approach.” BUT, there are specific requirements that are associated with each – and those requirements are there for a reason. If, as you describe, the airport is on the opposite side of the cockpit from the person flying the airplane – logic would dictate that the other pilot (on whose side the airport/runway IS) should be one manipulating the controls to maneuver the airplane – otherwise the requirements are not met. The rule doesn’t say the maneuver may be continued as long as “someone” in the cockpit can maintain visual contact … it says, and, again, I quote from 14CFR Part 91.175(e)(2):
Each pilot … shall immediately execute an appropriate missed approach procedure when … the following condition exists:
(1)…
(2) Whenever an identifiable part of the airport is not distinctly visible to the pilot during a circling maneuver at or above MDA, unless the inability to see an identifiable part of the airport results only from a normal bank of the aircraft during the circling approach.

Please note … the language does not say that the approach may continue “when the airport is hard to see” or “the pilot can continue if someone else sees the necessary ground objects” ... or anything else.

I would hope that anyone reading this thread would take the time to reevaluate their own knowledge and abilities and determine not to attempt anything beyond that knowledge and those abilities ... and certainly determine to not deliberately operate an airplane contrary to the existing rules under which that flight is conducted.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 18:58
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 802
Originally Posted by cosmo Kramer
Try flying with out airspeed indicator by the seat of your pants... you won't live long ...here it comes:
I certainly can’t believe that you are convinced that the pilots on that ill-fated Air France flight were doomed because of incorrectly reading airspeed indicators … are you?
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 19:49
  #40 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: -
Posts: 206
If I could just pour some cold water on our more passionate members for a second...

The original query was "How does your company describe circling approaches?"

I would like to know how other companies describe the circling approach procedure, specifically the base turn to final from downwind.

(Bearing in mind the responses that we should be able to do it all manually anyway etc etc, this is a particularly specific question about why the timing is the way it is.)
I didn't ask how to circle, although hearing other pilots thoughts about is always nice.

I think the answer is that is up to the operator to specify how to do it, in the context of obstacle safe area and actual visibility.

Thanks for all the replies.
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