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How does your company describe circling approaches?

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How does your company describe circling approaches?

Old 16th Dec 2013, 20:50
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Desert185 View Post
We have 113 posts on how to do a circling approach. How many of you do not have the 1000/3 limitation on your ticket, and how many of you without the limitation work for a company who allows circling approaches, and how many of you have actually made a circling approach within the last year...in the airplane?
I hold 3 FAA type ratings and none of them have the restriction (727, 737, SD3).

One of the companies I currently fly at allows circling approaches. At that company I have made multiple circling approaches in actual IFR conditions within the last year.

That being said, what exactly was your point? That the "average" pilot these days goes from a 2 mile runway with an ILS to a another 2 mile runway with an ILS and doesn't actually require any situational awareness since ATC and George will handle it all for him? Because I could see that being a very real thing.

Last edited by aviatorhi; 16th Dec 2013 at 22:20.
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Old 16th Dec 2013, 20:59
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Situational awareness? For the kind of money they pay?
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Old 16th Dec 2013, 22:07
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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The destiny of such actions is that sometime in the future there is likely to be an attempt to get B747s or A380s into what was originally constructed as a fishing camp in some mountainous valley in central Alaska.
Already happening... Not 380s going into Alaska (when will you realize there is a world outside the borders of your own country?), but airliners going into small airfields that originally wasn't planned for such operation. This in a broader sense than just circle to land. You Americans may be surprised to learn we in Europe operate to airports where you are committed to land, should an engine failure occur during approach (with special approval from the authorities of course, special training required etc. to mitigate the risk). You don't want it "to look about right". You want to be absolutely certain that it IS right!

Hence, when the regulating authorities approve of it, and your airline tells you to go there, you don't what to use TLAR as a method:

Major Kong Rides the Bomb - YouTube
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Old 16th Dec 2013, 22:18
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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About right is close enough to be effective, if you just keep polishing the cannon ball you're never going to accomplish anything.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 01:12
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JeroenC
Actually, sensible post from AirRabbit. I do see the trend in my outfit (no widebodies though).
Thanks JeroenC … this trend isn’t terribly obvious – or it wouldn’t be continued. However, my opinion is that such trends do, indeed, exist, and, in my opinion, there are a few issues that “bubble up to the surface” that have more sinister consequences than this type of “cheat sheet attempts” to assist training or passing tests where airplanes are involved. The really sinister part is that it’s not like what students in school used to call “cheat sheets” – where the answers to the chemistry exam were written on the inside of someone’s shirt cuff or on the underside of a baseball cap brim. This would be more like those students actually practicing the mixing of reasonably dangerous chemicals, but use chemically modified versions that produce a vastly lessened effect, even though they have been told that mixing these chemicals are critical with respect to rate of mixture or the sequence of mixture. If they get sloppy or hurried, or don’t follow the precise requirements of mixing, the result is still well within the margins of what they believe to be acceptable – and if the instructor hasn’t seen or didn’t witness the short cuts or the ratios or any other aspect that was not within the prescribed boundaries, it might appear to that instructor that all the students did what they were required to do – and met all the established requirements. Sounds good … sounds reasonable. However, if those students developed habits of a mixing philosophy that, in the classroom, allowed what appeared to be safe and innocuous results, but could likely result in massive explosions if those mandatory specific rates and sequences are not followed, the “what” and the “when” and the “how” that the students learned through practice could easily cause severe injury, or worse, when they get to the “real world” and use “real chemicals.” I don’t think that this analogy is overly dramatic when one considers the fact that pilots control expensive machines, and are responsible for the lives of numerous persons who are on board. Of course, as the airplane gets larger, carries more passengers, the more important the training and the more impact will result if that training suffers in a similar way.

No, I’m not saying that we are on the verge of seeing massive airplane accidents, but I am saying that we’ve likely come close in the past – on several occasions … and as the daily flight numbers continues to grow and the “old head” pilots finally reach the required retirement age – the younger, every eager, lesser experienced pilots, who will be more and more dependent on what they learn in training will become more and more the norm in airline cockpits. You do the math. IF such short cuts are appearing – if such incomplete or mostly accurate training continues – it’s only a matter of time.

I’ll throw out one example for your consideration. Do you recall the ABX DC-8 crash in Narrows, Virginia in December of 1996? It was a post-maintenance flight check with very experienced flight crewmembers on board. One of the tasks they were conducting was a recovery from an approach to stall. You can read the report for yourself, but the crew on board had been trained, most recently in a simulator – and presumably some likely had performed the task in a training airplane at some time in their career. But the long and short of the accident was that as the airplane entered the stall, the flight crew attempted to recover by simply adding power while maintaining the pitch attitude (or increasing it slightly) to avoid a loss of altitude during the recovery. Unfortunately, the procedures used in any airplane training, very likely never took the airplane into the actual stall – in fact the instructors were very likely to have carefully ensured that recovery was initiated just when entering into the approach to stall area. In the simulator, it didn’t matter, because the understanding had been ingrained into these crew members – and they practiced it in the simulator, over and over – that if the power was simply added, the airplane would fly right out of the stall – regardless of the pitch attitude – and that was what they did – over and over and over – all the way through 16,000 feet! Each time they attempted to add power, they only generated compressor stalls on at least 2 of the engines. They reduced the power to allow the engines to recover, and then added power again, while maintaining (perhaps even increasing) the pitch attitude. The experienced captain and the former chief pilot for that airplane, along with a very senior flight engineer – all well trained and experienced – but they didn’t recover the airplane – and, while I’m not trying fix the blame on those men, in any way, because while they didn’t recover, they didn’t because they were incorrectly trained, and they didn’t know it.

In the operation of any airplane, learning something that “usually” works, but it is required to be performed in a specific way, or in a specific sequence, or at a specific time … if the basic understanding of why “it” works and an understanding of when, where, and how, the controls should be inserted or power is to be added or reduced, isn’t understood completely by the crew members … the likelihood of favorable outcomes on a continuing basis is being reduced … day by day by day.

Last edited by AirRabbit; 17th Dec 2013 at 01:47.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 01:15
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aviatorhi
I hold 3 FAA type ratings and none of them have the restriction (727, 737, SD3).

One of the companies I currently fly at allows circling approaches. At that company I have made multiple circling approaches in actual IFR conditions within the last year.
You are absolutely correct – I also have several type ratings and none include a circle-to-land restriction. And I think I understand the relative use of the CTL (and the less-often-used clearance for the “contact approach”), and have flown my fair share of both of those tasks – none of which, by the way, were the highlight of my day for that day – other than I made it home or to the hotel in one piece. I also completely understand the occasional necessity for such clearances, and if these approaches are flown the way they were intended, and if the pilots flying them don’t deviate from the intent of the clearances or compromise the altitudes, distances, speeds, etc., they are safe –no compromise … but with every small deviation a pilot may make (intentionally or not) the safety factor is compromised substantially. Additionally, what I think is absolute “nuts” (that’s a technical term) is attempting to do this with any 2-aisle airplane. While anyone who flies the heavy metal knows just how maneuverable they are – they also know what kind of inertia builds up and how hard it is to make immediate adjustments. Taking one of those airplanes down into the weeds to wallow around looking for the runway is … well, I don’t think the moderators here would allow the language I had considered… but I think you get my meaning.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 05:45
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert185
We have 113 posts on how to do a circling approach. How many of you do not have the 1000/3 limitation on your ticket, and how many of you without the limitation work for a company who allows circling approaches, and how many of you have actually made a circling approach within the last year...in the airplane?

Reply:

I hold 3 FAA type ratings and none of them have the restriction (727, 737, SD3).

One of the companies I currently fly at allows circling approaches. At that company I have made multiple circling approaches in actual IFR conditions within the last year.

That being said, what exactly was your point? That the "average" pilot these days goes from a 2 mile runway with an ILS to a another 2 mile runway with an ILS and doesn't actually require any situational awareness since ATC and George will handle it all for him? Because I could see that being a very real thing.
The point is that we're in the minority, and now, with over 120 posts, circling is being discussed in a manner that would cause one to think that it is a common occurrence, when in reality it is a fairly rare event, and rapidly becoming a lost art with the airline types.

Its also one thing to explain one's views on how to safely perform a circling maneuver, but another thing to actually do it.

Over 120 posts and we may be the only two, type-rated, current and qualified (Cat D, in my case) to do them. I guess I just find that odd.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 06:19
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Anything in the art of flying that can not be confined to an SOP, will eventually disappear. Sad, but true.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 17:16
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Is your post meant to be an eyesight test?
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 21:31
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by OK465
I never have been a fan of the KMEM LOC 27, circle to land 18R by offsetting just to the north of the Fedex ramp to demonstrate sim circling fidelity and crew prowess. Sim instructors had to scramble when Stapleton shut down. Who’s going to circle at Memphis anyway…unless 3 out of 4 runways are closed?

737/A320/RJ class aircraft certainly do operate into less than cosmo..politan airfields, even in the US, where some days/nights the only way in to a particular runway is to circle, like LTAT.

I instructed circling at published circling minima in the B727 aircraft (not sim) for over 10 years. We taught and always used geometry and wind adjusted timing as the basic template for circling; any other useful references were ‘gravy’.

More importantly we taught the proper missed approach procedure from each and any point in the approach and circling maneuver, so that one could circle safely at circling minima to the opposite end of a single runway with nil additional visual references and worst case would be a missed.
Of course, you probably recognize that one of the primary reasons that KMEM ILS27 or LOC27, with a circle to land on 18R is used as a simulator task for Circle-to-Land, is that KMEM is likely well established in various simulator manufacturer’s visual data base libraries (and any data base in such a library makes it available at little or no cost to a purchaser) AND, not insignificantly, the conduct of this combination of “approach-and-circle” can be accomplished without violating ANY of the FAA’s operational requirements, (which means that it is likely that no international regulation would be violated either) even if the visual system has an extremely limited visual display system. While that is perfectly acceptable – as far as it goes – on it’s own, with no additional instruction, it does nothing to verify and entrench into the minds of first-time airline pilots what becomes necessary to perform an approach and circle operation similar to the one you described as … “one could circle safely at circling minima to the opposite end of a single runway.”

So … I have just a couple of curiosity questions, OK465 … but first and foremost, you deserve serious kudos for emphasizing the importance of executing a missed approach from “each and any” point during the instrument approach and the following circle maneuver.

My first question has to do with the fact that when you were teaching circling approaches you described “geometry and wind adjusted timing” as being the “basic template” … but that a circling approach could be accomplished with “nil additional visual references.” To me, this implies that there were at least some visual references that were at least somewhat important. Was there something, or some things (plural), that you thought was(were) “primary” visual reference(s) … and what specific kinds of things did you include as “additional references?

Second, if my copy of the List of Airports by ICAO code is up-to-date and accurate, the example airport you referenced (LTAT) is Erhaç Airport in Malatya, Turkey. I’m just curious as to why you chose such an airport – as I am sure that there isn’t necessarily a huge portion of the participants here who even know that this airport exists, let alone would consider it a likely candidate for a “representative airport” for participation in this discussion.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 01:33
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by OK465
The only thing we had at CSM was the lady who sunbathed nude just west of the downwind. Sometimes though she was at the store or inside baking cookies.
Obviously, the reason I asked, as you probably picked up if you read my earlier posts on this thread, is that I am firmly of the opinion that the “circle-to-land” is strictly a visually based task … and since I AM married, I’ll side-step the sunbather issue – regardless of the degree of relevance … or importance … and I use that 2nd word ... tongue-in-cheek. However, ahem, once the pilot makes visual contact with the runway (and that is the RUNWAY, sunbathers notwithstanding) or the airport (and if it’s just the airport, that pilot would have to know exactly where on that airport whatever it is that the pilot is able to see is located and where the runway is located in reference to that object) and, significantly, if the pilot doesn’t see the runway and/or the airport (with the same caveat, i.e., knowing where the runway is in reference to whatever is seen) the entire time he/she is flying via visual references, it’s time to initiate that missed approach that you ensured your guys were capable of performing. There are (or at least were) some here who advocated flying by reference to the flight instruments and timing via a stop-watch. There was one comment that it would not be possible to see anything visually in some circumstances (night, rain, fog, etc.) so the pilot needed to “navigate” rather than “aviate.” In fact, this person even indicated that, of course, visual contact with airport/runway would necessarily be lost (and doing so was apparently of little or no importance to this person) due to it’s “disappearing behind the F/E panel and all those circuit breakers.” I was apparently unsuccessful in convincing this person that it was imperative to maintain visual contact with something on the airport or the runway in order to continue to circle – but he was adamant that all was perfectly safe and legal even if the circuit breaker panel didn’t allow visual contact until the pilot reversed course.

Originally Posted by OK465
I didn't choose LTAT, it was discussed earlier. It certainly appears very representative of an airport that the only way to get in to one end of the runway with wx and winds and terrain as factors requires a circle. Substitute Butte, Montana for a similar setup then. ILS, RNAVs & LOC to 15 only with some VOR A/B circles, no approach to 33.
OK – sorry – I just couldn’t imagine using an obscure airport as a reference for a discussion where all kinds of experience and locations are represented.

But, at your suggestion, I did take a look at the Butte airport – and, of course, you’re right. It looks to be a “sporty” kind of airport. According to what I see, Butte has 2 runways – one that’s 5100ft X 75ft and the other that’s 9001ft X 150ft. I would presume that there is not a lot of commercial traffic on the 75ft wide runway, meaning that it’s probably Rwy 15/33 that gets most of the traffic. I see one(1) ILS and one(1) LOC/DME to Rwy 15, as well as a VOR or GPS-B to the same runway. But it looks like there is a VOR or GPS-A approach to the airport (a lot more aligned with the smaller runway - Rwy30) than with the larger runway (Rwy33) and because the inbound course for this “instrument approach” is 272 degrees, flying that approach requires a circle-to-land, which is the only chart- minimums listed on that chart. I can’t imagine passing up an ILS or LOC approach if you wanted to land on Rwy15, so I can’t imagine flying the VOR or GPS-B to the airport and circling to land on Rwy15 … so it probably is used by the larger category airplanes to circle to Rwy33 and for the smaller airplane to circle to Rwy30. With the visibility required for the Cat C or Cat D airplanes being 3 miles and an MDA of a bit more than 3000 feet AGL (almost from the final approach fix, FAF) the airport/runway (Rwy33) should be able to be seen within a short time of departing the FAF inbound, at an angle of about 60 degrees or so to the right of the nose.

I’ve never been there (obviously) and don’t think I’m going to make plans to go anytime soon. I also suspect the weather can be nasty at times and probably quite turbulent with windy conditions. All of which likely tightens the “butox” muscles on final approach for almost anyone – and likely even more if the sun is down. And I continue to say that larger airplanes have little (if NO) business in getting down in the weeds, or in this case, down in the snow drifts, wandering around looking for the landing runway. I used a technical term earlier – and it still applies. That would be just “NUTS!”
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 02:44
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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So much philosophy, so little time.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 02:49
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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With the visibility required for the Cat C or Cat D airplanes being 3 miles and an MDA of a bit more than 3000 feet AGL (almost from the final approach fix, FAF) the airport/runway (Rwy33) should be able to be seen within a short time of departing the FAF inbound, at an angle of about 60 degrees or so to the right of the nose.
Your referring to the VOR/DME A here, CAT C/D. You better look at that again.

http://155.178.201.160/d-tpp/1313/00588VDGA.PDF

Even if you descend from the 9000' FAF to the rather high MDA of 8540' in 0.4 NM, that puts you at 2995' above the threshold 3.0 NM from the runway. Sure you can see it with 3 mile viz, but that's nearly a 10 degree FPA down to the runway. You aren't going to make it on that pass with a leisurely 60 degree right turn in. In fact you probably can't get in to 33 from this approach without turning your back at some point to the runway.

The preferable IAP to get into 33, in fact all the way down to an even lower 1300' OVC with 3 miles viz and winds, for example 330 at 30 in blowing snow is to fly the LOC to 15 to the lower 6800' MDA and circle southwest for a left turn into 33....using wind adjusted headings (geometry) and wind adjusted timing (stopwatch).

http://155.178.201.160/d-tpp/1313/00588LD15.PDF

Miss safely if things don't go your way....or divert early if you're not approved for it or if you calmly assess even trying it to be 'nuts'. I'm not pushing doing something beyonds one's capability or authority.

But gaining unrestricted circling qualification on the LOC 27 circle to land 18R at MEM certainly neither prepares nor realistically qualifies you for this brand of circling approach, and doesn't distinguish between the two.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 04:31
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by OK645
Even if you descend from the 9000' FAF to the rather high MDA of 8540' in 0.4 NM, that puts you at 2995' above the threshold 3.0 NM from the runway. Sure you can see it with 3 mile viz, but that's nearly a 10 degree FPA down to the runway. You aren't going to make it on that pass with a leisurely 60 degree right turn in. In fact you probably can't get in to 33 from this approach without turning your back at some point to the runway.

The preferable IAP to get into 33, in fact all the way down to an even lower 1300' OVC with 3 miles viz and winds, for example 330 at 30 in blowing snow is to fly the LOC to 15 to the lower 6800' MDA and circle southwest for a left turn into 33....using wind adjusted headings (geometry) and wind adjusted timing (stopwatch).

Miss safely if things don't go your way....or divert early if you're not approved for it or if you calmly assess even trying it to be 'nuts'. I'm not pushing doing something beyonds one's capability or authority.

But gaining unrestricted circling qualification on the LOC 27 circle to land 18R at MEM certainly neither prepares nor realistically qualifies you for this brand of circling approach, and doesn't distinguish between the two.
All VERY well said. And I certainly wouldn’t attempt to fly directly from the 9000 foot or the 8540 foot altitudes directly to the runway, even turning through that 60 degrees. That would, just as you point out, leave you “a bit high.” But the flight crew could certainly follow a ground path well to the left of a direct course (i.e., turn left at the FAF) presuming the pilot flying – which would likely make that the RHS pilot – could retain the airport/runway in sight continuously (eliminating the awkwardness of describing a visual maneuver that relies on flying "essentially blind" until the time runs out) displacing that overflown ground track to the southwest – which would increase the flying distance to the airport/runway. Certainly it shouldn’t be terribly unusual to expect a descent rate that is higher than that achieved on a 2.8 – 3.0 degree glide slope in solid IFR conditions. For example (and I’m not implying that it’s the same thing at all, but…) during a “normal” VFR traffic pattern – what is considered to be a normal rate of descent from the downwind leg to final approach? Of course it depends to a large degree on how far from the runway the ground path of the downwind leg is flown. As I recall, descent rates between 800 and 1200 fpm were not prohibited in any of the aircraft I’ve flown in descending from downwind, around the final turn and lining up on final. Of course, I would think it entirely appropriate that the company has a maximum descent rate in such circumstances. On the other hand, if the pilot was really intent on flying the approach to the opposite end of that particular runway and circling to land, essentially the same kind of wider displaced arc from the runway is likely to provide more than adequate visual references throughout the maneuver while allowing a much further ground distance to be covered, making the descent from circling MDA a lot more comfortable on the end of the maneuver – and since this time the circle would be on the “same side” of the airport, but approaching from the other end of the runway – it would be the LHS pilot doing the flying and the looking.

ALSO – while it may surprise you to learn – I completely agree with your position on the simulator circle-to-land at MEM27 CTL 18R. What it is … is legal … and to me, “legal” doesn’t necessarily provide what is needed. Unfortunately, I could probably provide a similar list of where simulator exposure doesn’t provide all that a lot of folks believes such exposure does provide (recall my post on the ABX crash). But that’s a whole different issue – well, different in that it affects other understandings and pilot practice beyond, and other than, the circle to land issues. In such cases, substantial additional training is absolutely necessary, in my view – of course, I’m not in charge. However, some of the more modern simulator visual systems DO, in fact, have very realistic visual systems that provide out-the-window displays that provide horizontal fields of view that exceed 220 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. In all but a very few cases, this kind of display capability is well within expectations of cockpit visibility from one airplane wing-tip around to the opposite wing-tip. Some simulator manufacturers have even experimented with horizontal adjustments that would allow “shifting” the projector mounting plates and the reflective screens (mylar or mirror) to either the left or right, to provide the pilot on THAT side of the airplane even further “over the shoulder” visual capabilities. With such a shift in the mechanics, the computer generation continues to position the visual scene directly in front of the airplane directly in front of the simulator cab as well. At this time I don’t know where those efforts stand – naturally, a manufacturer isn’t going to fully develop something that won’t sell … and if the airlines and training centers don’t want it (because the regulator does not – at least at this time – require it) it is very unlikely that manufacturers will continue to develop and refine something that will sit on their back shelf.

Thanks for a refreshingly frank exchange - I admire the way you participate here.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 13:16
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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OK465:

But gaining unrestricted circling qualification on the LOC 27 circle to land 18R at MEM certainly neither prepares nor realistically qualifies you for this brand of circling approach, and doesn't distinguish between the two.
Amen to that.

Using your Butte example, the CAT C/D CTL HAA and visibility are greater than 1,000 and 3 so a Part 121 operator could take a 777 in there on a charter and do what you propose. The fact the PIC is not qualified to CTL doesn't matter because the greater than 1,000-3 gives him a pass on CTL qualifications.

And, Butte is "old TERPS" for CTL, so lots of luck in all respects.
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