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ATC clearance for circling approach

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As the title suggests: Do you need a specific clearance to fly a circling approach into a runway? Or does ATC clear you for a Visual approach and you may fly the circling approach if you wish?

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As a GA student pilot at a mid-size UK airport, the procedure for a visual approach is: when you get around 5 - 10 miles to the airport you tune the airport ATIS and determine what is the active runway. You should already have consulted your airport chart so that you know if there is a left-hand or right hand pattern and if there are further restrictions. You decide where you would like to join the pattern -e,g, downwind, base, overhead - then you contact ATC and request permission for the approach you wish. ATC may give you permission for your request, but they also may ask you to do something different depending upon other aircraft in the pattern.

 

There is a set of pilot training manuals by Pooley's here in the UK, and I recommend them for simulation pilots as well as real pilots if  you would like to learn and fly by real-world procedures. They are available on Amazon and cost  around £18 each. Volume 1 in the series, "Flying Training", gives an overview of flying basics,and has a series of training lessons. I have found it very interesting and satisfying to go through these lessons in flight sim as a real-world pilot in training would.

 

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'Cleared for the ILS 29, circle to 11'

 

'Cleared for the VOR Alpha'

As a GA student pilot at a mid-size UK airport, the procedure for a visual approach is: when you get around 5 - 10 miles to the airport you tune the airport ATIS and determine what is the active runway. You should already have consulted your airport chart so that you know if there is a left-hand or right hand pattern and if there are further restrictions. You decide where you would like to join the pattern -e,g, downwind, base, overhead - then you contact ATC and request permission for the approach you wish. ATC may give you permission for your request, but they also may ask you to do something different depending upon other aircraft in the pattern.

 

There is a set of pilot training manuals by Pooley's here in the UK, and I recommend them for simulation pilots as well as real pilots if  you would like to learn and fly by real-world procedures. They are available on Amazon and cost  around £18 each. Volume 1 in the series, "Flying Training", gives an overview of flying basics,and has a series of training lessons. I have found it very interesting and satisfying to go through these lessons in flight sim as a real-world pilot in training would.

The op is asking about circling versus visual approaches under ifr. Completely different than what you have been exposed to so far in training for ppl. The pattern entry and procedures you are describing pertains to vfr flying, not ifr. Although there is nothing to prohibit an ifr visusl from terminating in a traditional pattern as you describe, it is really not necessary nor always expected.

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In stock ATC menu you can request runway and approach independently of each other. In that case ATC will allow you to fly an approach with sidestep or circle to land on a different runway.

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I think Kevin is right. ATC will tell you "circle to rwy XX". Although circling approach is a visual maneuver, it's totally different from a visual approach. For example, if the visual contact with runway is lost during the circling, you will fly the published missed approach.

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This is how we do it RL. Unless you are shooting it for kicks, you may be pushed to a circle due to weather. You are using a instrument approach to get in close enough to visually maneuver to land on another runway. Let's say we are getting into KEWR. The winds favor RWY11 but weather is marginal with heavy crosswinds and you want to use RNAV 22R to get in. You would request RNAV 22R circle 11. You will fly the RNAV 22 down to circle mins and break off into a down wind for 11 when visual, ensuring obstruction clearance. In the event you go missed, you fly the RNAV 22R missed approach.

 

ATC will clear you to shoot the RNAV 22R circle 11. In flight sim, just shoot the instrument portion and fly the circle using the appropriate minimums.

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they will clear you for an approach in this way... "cleared VOR rwy 34 approach circle to rwy 16." At this point, youll fly the VOR appr for rwy 34 and when you get to cicling mins for said appr, youll stay at the circling minimum altitude and WHILE STAYING IN VISUAL CONDITIONS, circle to rwy 16. (the VOR rwy 34 appr chart will tell you if you are prohibited to circle in a certain direction...like east of the field for example.) I have also had tower tell me a specific direction to circle to the landing runway.

 

If for whatever reason during you actual circling manuever you cant maintain visual with field, then you are required to go missed.

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From the FAA 7110.65 ATC Manual - 4-8-6 "PHRASEOLOGY− CIRCLE TO RUNWAY (number), or CIRCLE (direction using eight cardinal compass points) OF THE AIRPORT/RUNWAY FOR A LEFT/RIGHT BASE/DOWNWIND TO RUNWAY (number)."

 

I've got lots of night circling approach stories and not proud of any of them.   :smile: 

 

blaustern 

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From the FAA 7110.65 ATC Manual - 4-8-6 "PHRASEOLOGY− CIRCLE TO RUNWAY (number), or CIRCLE (direction using eight cardinal compass points) OF THE AIRPORT/RUNWAY FOR A LEFT/RIGHT BASE/DOWNWIND TO RUNWAY (number)."

 

I've got lots of night circling approach stories and not proud of any of them.   :smile:

 

blaustern 

Yes, I saw what you mentioned left out on some posts.  They will say sometimes, "Circle West/East..etc"

 

One of the last ones I flown was, "Cleared ILS 33L, Circle 17". 

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In stock ATC menu you can request runway and approach independently of each other. .......

 

 

I know this is a thread for RL procedures, but thanks for your reply to my sim-based post, Barry! :cool:

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