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Guest Darren Howie

A short guide to conducting circling approachs.

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Guest Darren Howie

G'dayAfter watching the discussion and confusion on and about cirling approaches i thought i would put some of my notes and experience down for all to read.My experience is as follows.Currently i am employed to operate as crew on the Dash 8 series aircraft operating into most larger towns on the East coast of Australia.Prior to that i was a Check and training pilot for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia on the B200 Super King Air and C404.Check and training and Instrument rating tester for one of Australia's corporate charter organisations flying the Cheyenne Series,Cessna Citation etc.OPerating in Australia requires pilots to become very familiar with circling procedures as many airports do not have runway approaches and hence circling becomes a way of life and in some cases death.Circling is the single most dangerous procedure that a pilot must conduct on a regular basis.Operating into regional airports requires us to be tested every 3-6 months on circling procedures(normally assymetric)in the simulator.First up it is not easy!!!It requires a very high standard of instrument flying skills and having a second person handy makes the workload a lot easier.Note i said instrument flying skills,with 2 crew it is an instrument procedure with the pilot flying acting as an autopilot and the non flying pilot acting as the director talking you around the circuit.Ok what is circling?It is a procedure by which the aircraft in positioned onto the end of a runway by visual reference to the ground and or runway.Normally it is required when conditions are IMC and the instrument approach is either not runway aligned or the approach is for a non suitable runway.From the completion of the approach the aircrft must be positioned by the crew to become aligned with the landing runway withouta)hitting the groundb)losing visual reference if possiblec)going outside the circling areaOK how do we do it.By day on completion of the approach and when you are visual with the runway in sight the 737 can be decended to 400'AGL to assist in remaining visual.At night you should NEVER go below the circling minima until you are in a position to commence a standard approach descent to the runway.The 3 diagrams attached highlight the procedures which will work in ANY aircraft from C152 to SR71 on how to position the aircraft so as to end up being aligned on the landing runway.When flying these procedures you must fly as accurately as possible.With very close monitoring of HDG,time and alt and the terrain!!In the PMDG 73 you will be doing it all yourself,single pilot circling the hardest thing any pilot will do in there career.That is if they ever get the chance.Many companies do not permit circling at all,some by day only and a few allow full circling by day and night.For major airlines circling is not normally done as runway approaches are available almost all of the time so it is a little used procedure and hence is not practiced regularly.However for smaller companies and regional operators it is a must know or must not do peocedure.These 3 diagrams will get you around most of the time assuming you fly them accurately enough.If possible always aim to have the base leg INTO the wind.The last thing you want to do is end up in a steep overshooting turn at night low level trying to line up with a runway in poor vis.The number of peole who have killed themselves and their passengers spinning in at the end of a runway is a long long list.Sometimes because of circling restrictions this is not possible.In this case allow for the wind on the downwind run to give you room for the turn ono base and final.You may even have to fly a continuous turn onto final.Give yourself space as much as visibility and the circling area will allow!These procedues attached are those used by many as a standard guideline in how to fly the most demanding procedure there is bar none for any commercial pilot(particularly on one engine).Accuracy in timing and flying combined with pre thought on how to get onto the ground should get you safely around the circuit,if notGO AROUND!!There are 3 procedures here which can get you around the circuit from any position in which you become visual.If you are somewhere else just position the aircraft to pick up one of these.Practice them and you will soon see you can fly an entire ciruit with almost NO reference to the runway apart from looking for the abeam runway end position for starting timing.Have fun learning this most challenging facet of real flying.Darren Howiehttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79743.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79744.jpg http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79745.jpgThis is my office.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79746.jpg

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Guest Valid_Andy

Awesome Darren, will have to give it a go! Is their a usual bank angle for the turns, or does that change with aircraft?

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Thankyou very much Darren!Questions:In picture 2 what is going on? The runway disappears at the end of the landing runway or previous threshold of landing runway? Where has the aircraft previously come from and what has it done? Is it a point after a go around?If I understand you correctly this type of approach is used when no other approach is available and the weather is bad (surely another approach would be more accurate). Is it meant to fairly precicely line you up with the runway, or just get you near to it? Not quite understanding the point of it as it seems very inaccurate.A still slightly confuzzledGeoffrey BaleanCanberra, AU (YSCB)http://www.hifisim.com/images/as2004proudsupporter.jpg http://www.vozvirtual.org/images/pmdgforumsignature.png"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. All is well!"Pentium 4 2.4GHZ, P4G8X Deluxe with Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet, 512MB RAM, LG Flatron L1710S 17" LCD, GeForce MX440 Millenium Silver, Creative Soundblaster Audigy, Logitech Speakers, CH Yoke & Rudder, Quantum Fireballp AS30.0 - Basically nothing crash hot :)MSFS 2004 acof, PMDG 737 6/7/8/900, Activesky 2004, Flight One Cessna 152, SquawkBox 2.3 w/ guage, ServInfo 2.2, FS AutoStart, FS Real Time, FSUIPC 3.212 (unreg.:()

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Guest Darren Howie

Hi AndyThe standard bank is 25 degrees for all turns in almost all aircraft.Zapper may be able to enlighten us as to what speed Bluebird circle there 800 series 737's.ThanksDarren

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Guest Darren Howie

HI GeoffIn situation 2 the likely scenario is that you have become visual to late in the approach to commence a stable approach to the runway.In this case you can overfly the runway and fly a full circling circuit back onto the original runway.What also could happen is that the non precision approach brings you in at to great an angle to fly the last segment in poor visibility.In this case just overfly the runway and fly the full circling aproach.This type of procedure would be required going into generally an airport which eitherA)Has no runway aligned approaches(Very common at smaller airports)B)Due to traffic you may not be able to fly your most desied approachC)Due to terrain or weather only one approach may be available and you must position the aircraft when visual onto the other end of the runway(very common)D)Due to wind you may have to land on the opposite runway from the approach you have recieved.Runway approaches are common in Europe and the States but not as common elsewhere.Many NDB ad VOR approaches bring you in at excessice altitudes or angles that will mean you will HAVE to fly the aircraft around in low vis and cloudbase to get onto the ground.This is why ILS approaches are preferred where possible but for instance if you fly into Mackay,Townsville,Hamilton Island etc only non precision approaches are available.In bad weather the best approach(the one with the lowest minima)may not be for the runway you will have to land on(due to the wind).In the simulator world you can genarally pick your approach but in real life you may often get stuck.A good example is Coffs Harbour.Arriving from Sydney the most time efficient way to get onto the ground is to fly the 03 VOR/DME.However if the wind is a Southerly like yesterday runway 21 will be in use.Therefore the fastest(not necessarily safest)way onto the ground is to fly the 03 VOR/DME and circle off the bottom over the water back onto Rwy 21.Understand??Darren

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Guest tmetzinger

I'll just chime in again - yesterday I was out in a C182 going for a breakfast run from FDK to THV. Ceilings were around 700-1000 AGL and vis was 1-4 miles in mist.The outbound trip was fine - THV has a GPS approach aligned with the runways - we used 35 - and we broke out with 100 feet to spare.The return trip was another story. FDK has 2 runways, 5/23 and 12/30. there's an ILS to 23, an RNAV to 23, and a GPS to 5, and a VOR-A approach that aligns pretty well with 23.The problem is that they are resurfacing 5/23, so the ILS was turned off and 5/23 was closed. So we had the option of using the VOR-A, GPS 5, or RNAV 23 and then circling to land on 30.We elected to use the GPS 5 approach because it had the lowest circling minimums at about 600 AGL. We broke out at minimums, but there were lower clouds still in the way, so we had to miss that approach. We then flew the VOR-A back in from the opposite direction and had better luck, circling at 80 knots and about 400-500 AGL. I managed to keep the airport and runway in sight the whole time, but the base to final turn was at 200 AGL, because I was keeping the circuit as tight as possible.I haven't been that aroused and focused flying an airplane in a while - circling low definitely get's your attention. There is NO way I'd have attempted it in the night time.

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Rgr Thankyou very much for the further explination :) I now get it 5 by 5.Geoffrey BaleanCanberra, AU (YSCB)http://www.hifisim.com/images/as2004proudsupporter.jpg http://www.vozvirtual.org/images/pmdgforumsignature.png"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. All is well!"Pentium 4 2.4GHZ, P4G8X Deluxe with Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet, 512MB RAM, LG Flatron L1710S 17" LCD, GeForce MX440 Millenium Silver, Creative Soundblaster Audigy, Logitech Speakers, CH Yoke & Rudder, Quantum Fireballp AS30.0 - Basically nothing crash hot :)MSFS 2004 acof, PMDG 737 6/7/8/900, Activesky 2004, Flight One Cessna 152, SquawkBox 2.3 w/ guage, ServInfo 2.2, FS AutoStart, FS Real Time, FSUIPC 3.212 (unreg.:()

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Guest Darren Howie

Geoff-Glad to hear you get it ok.G'day Tim-Night circling is pretty safe if you follow the rules.One good thing to know is that at the circling minima you are GUARANTEED 300'(Cat A+:(,400'(Cat C)terrain clearance of all natural(not cranes,buildings etc) obstacles.In the States what is the procedure for descent at night in the circling area.In Australia you ar not permitted to leave the circling minima unril you reach a point where you must to commence a standard approach to the runway.IE If circling at say 800' at night you would leave that alt say just after turning base.Are there any restrictions in the States.Out here there where 2 accidents in 4 months involving poor night circling which lost 2 Navajo's and 18 people which convinced everyone to not go below minima unitl in the normal approach phase.CatchyaDarren

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Guest meyomyx

Hi Darren,I have just finished the Tribhuvan Int SIDSTAR which I have uploaded to NavData (VNKT). There is some text at the beginning to read which includes a url for the plates but ........... the circling approach to Kathmandu Tribhuvan (along with all the other procedures) is interesting. I have included the circling approach in the file as a STAR. If you get the chance, take a look because I'm unsure what the procedure would be for either runway. The text makes mention of an arc restriction - RWY 02 seems to imply a turn to finals at 2.5 DME - following a 2.5DME arc. Runway 20? Well personally, I'd give up unless flying something very small and slow!...... apart from the fact that it probably wouldn't be recommended for this size of airplane by many operators methinks!I was there recently - they get 777's in and out of there somehow.CheersNick Kidd

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Guest Darren Howie

Hi NickKathmandu is one of the worlds most difficult airports when the weather goes down.I have copies of the charts for VNKT are you talking about the circ VOR/LCT approach chart 13-2??The SIDS are awesome and difficult to fly precisely due to the tight 2.5nm arcs that must be flown.The circling minima is 730 AGL and 2500m vis which is seriously hard work and not a realistic number given from 700' your slant vis will be up around the 3500-4000m mark so realistically the minima you would be forced to use by flying an appropriate circuit would be in the order of 4-5KM.It also has difficult missed approaches.I think it was a Pakistan or Indian A300 crashed there about 10 years ago after mis interpreting the missed approach arc and flew smack bang into the side of a real real big mountain.The only thing left was the tail sticking out the side of this granite beast.It looked incredible in the photo's and the recovery was super difficult.A dangerous place!!DarrenPS Nice job on the sids/stars just downloaded them and they look great.

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Hi I'm trying to figure out where does the circling procedure say we sould turn on a chart (left or right)? I can't find any indication of that in charts with a circling procedure included except for MSA restritions.Can someone show me a chart where the turn is indicated (left or right)?Thamks,David

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Guest Darren Howie

Hi DaveIf there are no circling restrictions listed on the Approach chart you can turn anyway you like to get to the end of the runway.The only restrictions are.A)You remain inside the circling area which is defined by what CAT the aircraft is operated under.B)You maintain the vis and and remain clear of cloud while circling(if you lose visual you must do a missed approach from wherever you happen to be).C)Keep the runway lights or approach lights in sight.D)Remain at least 400'AGL in the 737 by day.If no turn is mentined then you are on your own to find your way to the end of either runway.Does that answere your question???Darren

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Guest d809dp

Is anyone still around who could re-post those images? Would be really cool - looks like some great information in this post!Cheers,Tom

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>G'day>After watching the discussion and confusion on and about>cirling approaches i thought i would put some of my notes and>experience down for all to read.>My experience is as follows.>Currently i am employed to operate as crew on the Dash 8>series aircraft operating into most larger towns on the East>coast of Australia.>Prior to that i was a Check and training pilot for the Royal>Flying Doctor Service of Australia on the B200 Super King Air>and C404.>Check and training and Instrument rating tester for one of>Australia's corporate charter organisations flying the>Cheyenne Series,Cessna Citation etc.>OPerating in Australia requires pilots to become very familiar>with circling procedures as many airports do not have runway>approaches and hence circling becomes a way of life and in>some cases death.>>Circling is the single most dangerous procedure that a pilot>must conduct on a regular basis.Operating into regional>airports requires us to be tested every 3-6 months on circling>procedures(normally assymetric)in the simulator.>First up it is not easy!!!>It requires a very high standard of instrument flying skills>and having a second person handy makes the workload a lot>easier.>Note i said instrument flying skills,with 2 crew it is an>instrument procedure with the pilot flying acting as an>autopilot and the non flying pilot acting as the director>talking you around the circuit.>>Ok what is circling?>It is a procedure by which the aircraft in positioned onto the>end of a runway by visual reference to the ground and or>runway.>Normally it is required when conditions are IMC and the>instrument approach is either not runway aligned or the>approach is for a non suitable runway.>From the completion of the approach the aircrft must be>positioned by the crew to become aligned with the landing>runway without>a)hitting the ground>b)losing visual reference if possible>c)going outside the circling area>OK how do we do it.>By day on completion of the approach and when you are visual>with the runway in sight the 737 can be decended to 400'AGL to>assist in remaining visual.>At night you should NEVER go below the circling minima until>you are in a position to commence a standard approach descent>to the runway.>The 3 diagrams attached highlight the procedures which will>work in ANY aircraft from C152 to SR71 on how to position the>aircraft so as to end up being aligned on the landing runway.>When flying these procedures you must fly as accurately as>possible.>With very close monitoring of HDG,time and alt and the>terrain!!>In the PMDG 73 you will be doing it all yourself,single pilot>circling the hardest thing any pilot will do in there career.>That is if they ever get the chance.>Many companies do not permit circling at all,some by day only>and a few allow full circling by day and night.>For major airlines circling is not normally done as runway>approaches are available almost all of the time so it is a>little used procedure and hence is not practiced regularly.>However for smaller companies and regional operators it is a>must know or must not do peocedure.>These 3 diagrams will get you around most of the time assuming>you fly them accurately enough.If possible always aim to have>the base leg INTO the wind.>The last thing you want to do is end up in a steep>overshooting turn at night low level trying to line up with a>runway in poor vis.>The number of peole who have killed themselves and their>passengers spinning in at the end of a runway is a long long>list.>Sometimes because of circling restrictions this is not>possible.In this case allow for the wind on the downwind run>to give you room for the turn ono base and final.You may even>have to fly a continuous turn onto final.>Give yourself space as much as visibility and the circling>area will allow!>These procedues attached are those used by many as a standard>guideline in how to fly the most demanding procedure there is>bar none for any commercial pilot(particularly on one>engine).>Accuracy in timing and flying combined with pre thought on how>to get onto the ground should get you safely around the>circuit,if not>GO AROUND!!>There are 3 procedures here which can get you around the>circuit from any position in which you become visual.If you>are somewhere else just position the aircraft to pick up one>of these.>Practice them and you will soon see you can fly an entire>ciruit with almost NO reference to the runway apart from>looking for the abeam runway end position for starting>timing.>Have fun learning this most challenging facet of real flying.>Darren Howie>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79743.jpg>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79744.jpg> >>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79745.jpg>>This is my office.>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/79746.jpg>Why is the attachment missing? It says the page cannot be displayed.Ken.

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Hello, I can't display the attachments, either.RegardsJock (YMML)

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