Instrument Question

MJEPilot

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1. What decision would you make outside the FAF and weather is below mins?
2. You are outside the OM and vis. goes below mins, what would you do?
3. What does the "A" mean in VOR-A?

Thanks.
 

Mickey

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If wx goes below mins while outside the FAF and I'm flying part 91 I would still continue the approach (but, be very ready for a missed). The weather could be hovering around mins and could go back up again or the tower's vis might be worse than the approaches. If wx has been below mins all day I might not fly the approach. If fuel was a concern I might not fly the approach and head to an alternate while I still have plenty of fuel. When I'm flying under 121 regs I'm not allowed to fly the approach.

The A could mean a couple of things. The runway is not aligned within 30 degrees of the approach course or that a higher than normal descent rate is needed to fly the approach and therefore only circling and not straight in mins are published.
 

swimmer

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In addition to the explaination provided by Mickey in regards to the A in VOR-A indicating a circle approach. It also designates that it is the first approach of that type associated with that particular navaid. So if there was multiple circling approaches associated with that VOR (to the same, or different airport) it would be designated VOR-B...VOR-C etc.
 

bobbysamd

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Shooting the approach

Assuming Part 91, I'd shoot the approach to minima and hope that I break out and/or have one of the required runway environment items in sight. If I don't, welllll.....the rules are usually right, so I'd take a miss. Of course, I've followed the 1-2-3 rule and have enough fuel to go to my alternate.

Some people would try the approach again. It's easy to make a blanket statement sitting here and typing whether you should or should not. I won't. The best response to that is, well, it all depends on what the weather was doing the first time. Don't forget about all the stories about people who go below IFR fuel reserves repeating the approach and hoping the weather will lift. As a rule of thumb, figure on consuming 15 minutes of fuel shooting an approach.
 

ILLINI

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In addition to everyones great comments so far, I just wanted to add that under part 91 you can shoot an approach regardless of what the weather is - even if it is reported 0/0.

As an instrument instructor I used to take my students to where the weather was 0/0 (or close to it) to shoot approaches just so they could experience it. This was nice, because the airports with the weather below published mins were always dead and you could do pretty much anything you liked since the 121 and 135 guys couldn't even attempt an approach. Just make sure there is an airport you can make it into with the fuel you have on board. ALWAYS HAVE AN OUT!
 

Timebuilder

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I tell my students that they can try a second approach after the intial missed, fuel permitting. After that, unless there is a VERY good reason to believe that there will be improved conditions, the second missed leads to flying to the alternate, ASAP. Otherwise, there is a desire to "duck under" the mins and "take a peek", which is not only illegal, but dangerous.
The best advice? Fly as though you are 135/121 until you have a good amount of "actual" experience following your instrument checkride.
 
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FlyinBrian

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I just thought I'd address directly what other posters have hinted at... How you handle any situation depends a great deal on your experience, the equipment you're flying and many many other factors. I may not handle the situations you describe the same way every time. If you're fairly inexperienced, in the clouds alone, feeling overworked, it's a bumpy ride and they report that the vis is 0 in blowing snow, I say screw the approach and take your alternate. It is unlikely that you'll ever see the runway, but the chances of screwing up on the landing or the missed under these conditions is pretty high.

If it's a nice calm ride, you feel caught up, you've shot the approach a million times, the weather is reported right at mins or slightly below... Sure as heck I'm going to go down and have a look.

Bottom Line, always be aware of your whole situation, and make the best decision for your current situation. And when in doubt, start at the hearing and work backwards!
 

MJEPilot

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Thanks

Thanks everyone for the responses, so let me get this straight, Part 91 is for General Aviation (Private Pilot, instruction, etc.), Part 135 is for Chartering, and Part 121 is Commercial Aviation (United Airlines, etc)?
 

FlyinBrian

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Your description of 91/135/121 is a bit simplified, but you're definition works.
 

BigFlyr

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To all you cowboys out there that would shoot the approach just because you're legal under Part 91, would you also carry hazardous materials which is also legal under part 91? I think you'd be better off saving your fuel and going to an alternate or hold for conditions to improve rather than attempting an approach when conditions are reported to be below minimums regardless of what regs you're flying under.
 

SentryIP

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Cowboys?

Hmmm...you mean a pilot operating within the constraints of the regulations is a cowboy? I would agree with you in certain situations. However, if you plan for it ahead of time and, more importantly, stay within your limits, it would be OK. One should always plan their exits. :cool:
 
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MJEPilot

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So

So, are there different rules or thoughts if you are outside the FAF as apposed to the OM. I read all the replies, but most discussed the FAF and not the OM, so I am not sure if the OM would be included in the same regulations that are being applied to the FAF. Thanks.
 

DC9stick

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The FAF and OM are often confused. the FAF on an ILS approach is the point of Glideslope intercept. the OM is a locator reference.
Exerpt from FAR 121 ( If a pilot has begun the final approach segment of an instrument approach procedure in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and after that receives a later weather report indicating below-minimum conditions, the pilot may continue the approach to DH or MDA. ) Therefore if on an ILS and after intercepting the GS the weather is reported below minimums you may continue the approach and land provided the landing visibility requirements are met. Where is the final approach point on an ILS is a question asked on many interviews.
 

MJEPilot

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So.........

So, is it correct to state that if I am outside the FAF and the weather goes below mins. then I will not attempt to execute an approach (hold and awaite weather to lift or go to alternate). If I am at the OM and the weather goes below minimums, then I can continue the approach and be ready to execute a missed if the visual references for the runway are not insight. Of course, speaking FAR 121 not 91, because 91 allows one to execute approaches no matter when weather goes 0/0.
 

flydog

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I agree with BigFlyr. Although not prohibited under Part 91 if the weather is below minimums it makes no sense to shoot an approach you know you cant complete. Its a waste of time, money and a needless risk. Every approach has minute element of risk in that an electrical or instrument failure at close to decision height could stop your clock for good so why chance it. I would exercise better judgement and divert to the alternate or enter a hold if the wx is coming up fast.

Under Part 135/121 its prohibited
 

FRDOG

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In my company if we are part 91 we shoot the approach. I have always gone down to take a look in personal flying also. It's always tight but half of the time I make it in....yes legally. Remember if you see the Zipper you can go down to 100 above TDZE. From then it's your call. If you can justify 1800RVR or whatever it has to be for that approach then you are legal.
-Dog
 

FRDOG

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Ok, I re-read the question and would like to revise my answer. I only started going down to 100 above TDZE and to like 50 above if i see the red lights on an ALSF-1-2 when I had like 100 actual under my belt. Before that I was not comfortable doing such low stuff in my 182. (I fly bigger stuff now) Point....50 or even 100 feet at 130kts is low to make a decision on weather or not you're legal to land....only with experience was I comfortable doing stupid sh*t like above. Either way you can't even try it 121 or 135 if you are past GS intercept.
-dog
 

FRDOG

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rather, you can't try it if you are outside the glide....duh
 

TurboS7

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First I agree with all of the above. If I had plenty of fuel and I am part 91 I would take the airplane down to minimums, if I had the ALS, approach lights, REILS, I would go down to 100 AFL, if I saw the red terminating bars or runway I would land, if not I would miss. Standby I have to turn the steaks....assuming that I have plenty of fuel I would come back around for a second try. I have found that on the second go usually it can be sucessful. You know the conditions etc. Once we were flying an approach into ROA and missed. The we realized that we were looking for the runway at the wrong place, we caught the lights on the second approach and made it it. The third try---forget it I am out of there no matter what. More people have died on the third try then you can count on your fingers and toes. Speaking of approaches, every professional pilot should have to confidence to fly the aircraft down to zero/zero. If you are in the sim see if the instructor will let you. It is nice to know that you can safely do it if you have too. Steaks are burning..see ya.
 

Diesel8

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Nice discussion. I'd just like to add something about fuel. Don't forget that on your second + attempts you are cutting into your fuel to fly to an alternate and the 45 minutes plus after that under IFR (if you filed an alternate...). Even if that's plenty fuel...don't forget the follow up "interview" question (hopefully not real life) "and when you get to your alternate, there is a plane geared up on the runway..."
That 45 minutes of fuel might be needed. Just think about those things when you are considering your second, third, fourth... attempts.
 
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