When is it an approach?

C172Heavy

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Just wondering if anyone has any input on the following.

When does flying an IAP become an approach done?

i.e. You are flying in VMC on an IFR plan and fly an approach not under the hood. Can you log this as a completed approach?

What about if the ceiling is 3000' or so and you punch through the layer and complete the approach even though you weren't really in the soup for most of the procedure.

Thanks for any input.
 

sydeseet

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The approach phase begins at the initial approach point/fix; hence the term. This is the divider between the enroute and/or feeder portion. You must be IMC (simulated or real) inside the final approach fix to count the appoach for currency. No, you cannot log a VMC approach without wearing the hood.
 

seattle

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If the IAP starts at the IAF then shouldn't I be able to count an approach flown when IMC (even just a little bit IMC) inside the IAF.

Example: (VOR Approach W/ On Airport NAV Station)
Let's say MEA to the on-airport VOR is 3000MSL - the VOR is the IAF. If VMC starts at 2999MSL then I should be able to count the approach.

I'll agree that you're probably not giving your instrument skills any great workout as you fly the procedure turn in VMC. However, gradually reducing personal minimums from this extreme allows a new instrument pilot to build confidence while maintaining currency.

There isn't a FAR that covers this issue.... is there?

Anyway, that's my $0.02.

Seattle
 

sydeseet

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The rule, and I can't remember what FAR it is, is that you must be IMC at the FAF to log the approach for currency. A 2000-3000 foot ceiling is technically VFR (good VFR by most standards). This is what I was taught during my CFII which was restated during the oral by the DE. Logging an approach is saying that you successfully COMPLETED an approach (or darn close - FAF) not just that you began one. It makes sense. Besides, a new instrument pilot should get an IPC every six month's until he has some real experience; not just for safety, but for confidence.
 

bobbysamd

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Logging approaches

I second "Sydeseet." You have to be in IMC at the IAF to count the approach. Now, let's say you break out at 1000 AGL. It still counts as an approach and you can count it for currency.

Sorry, folks, unless you're hooded in VFR you can't count the approach, even if you're on an IFR flight plan.

We used to file, even in the local area when we'd go shoot approaches. It seemed that we received better handling that way and ATC certainly didn't discourage it.
 

avbug

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Take it a step farther. The FAA has held that for the purposes of meeting the currency requirements of FAR 61.57(c), the approach must be flown under actual or simulated instrument conditions to minimums. If the approach is not flown to minimums, it is does not count. There is no specific requirement about starting at the FAF, or published FAF; one must fly the proceedure by reference to instruments, to the minimums specified for the approach proceedure.

One may also perform the required approaches in a simulator or approved flight training device, per the applicable regulation.

I don't have the energy to go dig it up tonight, but legal interpretations bear this out, and similiar reference (although not binding) may be found at the FAA FAQ site.

The presence of instrument conditions for a portion of the approach are not adequate to qualify; the proceedure must be flown by reference to instruments, simulated, or actual.

One does NOT need to wear a "hood", or other view limiting device. One may accomplish simulated reference by ducking one's head down below the panel, in some aircraft. So long as the flight is conducted by reference to instruments, and not outside visual cues, and is executed to minimums,the approach may be used for the sake of meeting the currency requirements of 61.57.

Think about the purpose of currency. It's not about visually flying down the glideslope and calling it good. It's about a bare minimum standard for instrument experience. One does not gain meaningful instrument experience flying a visual approach, or an instrument approach visually, and this cannot be applied to the currency requriements of 61.57.
 

seattle

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Ok, it's education time for me.

If I understand what y'all are saying then for an approach with no FAF I must be IMC (or hooded) down to MDA to count it?

While we're on the topic. I want to go get some hood time in an attempt to maintain my currency. I fly a complex airplane. The safety pilot doesn't need to have a complex signoff does he/she? Does the safety pilot need to be current?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Seattle
 

enigma

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If I get cleared for the approach and the ATIS reports conditions that constitute IMC, And I fly any portion of the procedure without outside visual reference; Then I log an approach. I find this to be entirely reasonable and wouldn't mind defending that position to an inspector. In reality, unless you crash and the Feds give your logs a finetooth comb review, no one will ever know the w/x conditions that were present when you logged approaches. Even then, it would be hard to prove that you weren't IMC at the MAP.
The really important thing is that you don't shortchange yourself. The currency requirement was put there to protect you and your pax. Don't go out and attempt a 200 and a half ILS when your only recent experience was being IMC between the intermediate and final fixes on a day that had good vis below that deck.

Avbug states that the FAA has given an opinion that holds that you must be IMC down to minumums in order to count the approach for currency, and he rarely has his facts wrong. So I will concur, that you need to have minimum w/x to count the approach towards the currency requirement. Luckily, I think, I get to stay current by taking a PC every six months.

If you don't have the opportunity to get actual minimums approaches, I suggest that you get a safety pilot and wear the hood down to the MAP. Just remember that the visual image you get when at minimums in hard IMC, is dramatically different from the one you get when you pop the hood off in CAVU w/x.

regards
 

seattle

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Thanks for the reply.

What's your take on the safety pilot recurrency and complex signoff issues?
 

Simon Says

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The only way that I log an approach is if the field is IFR. That means you cannot get a visual, and you have to fly the approach "weather" I am IMC or not. Again, because of all of the gray areas of logging time, I justify all of my entries in my logbook by being able to comfortably answer any questions posed by an interview board.

Question though...........Is a Contact approach an IFR manuver?
 

ksu_aviator

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Just as a sidebar...if you have to fly the complete approach procedure under actual/simulated conditions then wouldn't you have to fly the Missed Approach Procedure as well?
 

Simon Says

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I dont understand KSU. Why would you have to fly the miss. (if at mins you have all the required elements to land)
 

Speedtree

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Seattle,

In answer to your question about safety pilots. The answer is found in FAR 91.109(b). The safety pilot needs to possess a private pilot certificate with appropriate category and class ratings. In your example, Airplane: Single-Engine-Land. No mention of endorsements, currency, or even a medical. You are the PIC. How you interperet it is for you to decide based on how conservative you are.

Keep asking questions.
 

avbug

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A contact approach is conducted under IFR, and is an approach proceedure, but is NOT an instrument approach proceedure, and may not be counted toward the currency requirements of FAR 61.57(c). FAR 61.1 defines an instrument approach as an approach proceedure defined in part 97 of the FAR. The contact approach is not defined under FAR 97, but is an approach proceedure (not instrument approach proceedure) used in lieu of a standard SIAP, with prior approval, and upon pilot request.

Weather a field is "IFR" makes no difference at all. The decision to log an approach when an airfield is reporting instrument conditions is a personal decision, and has no basis in the FAR. An approach conducted outside instrument conditions (actual or simulated) to an airfield reporting instrument conditions, may not be counted for currency under 61.57(c). This subparagraph requires that the approach be flown to minimums by reference to instruments, and that the entire approach be flown with reference to minimums. If an airport is reporting instrument conditions, the approach itself in many cases may be flown visually, or without reference to instruments. In such a case, to use the approach for the purposes of currency, the approach would have to be flown under simulated instrument conditions for the sake of legality.

Note also that an airfield is not IFR, but may be conducting operations under instrument flight rules. The existence of instrument conditions does not make a field "IFR;" the field does not go IFR, or become IFR. It simply has instrument conditions. Under FAR 91, one may begin an approach, fly to minimums, and then land if the required visual references are in sight, regardless of what is reported. Therefore, the reporting of instrument conditions, or meteorological conditions less than VFR, is not binding, except for certain operators. (It may hinder one's chances in appeal following a violation in certain circumstances, but that's the subject of another very different thread...).


Weather a safety pilot is required to be current with respect to landings, flight review, etc, and have the appropriate endorsements for the aircraft being flown, depends on the function of the safety pilot. If the safety pilot is the pilot in command (a common arrangement), then the safety pilot must be fully capable of acting as pilot in command. This includes currency, endorsements, etc.

If the safety pilot is not to act as PIC, then he or she does not need to hold endorsements for complex, conventional gear, etc. The safety pilot is required only to hold category and class ratings for the aircraft being flown, with a minimum certification of private pilot. Therefore to properly answer the former question, the question must specify the role of safety pilot, in piloting the airplane. If the safety pilot fulfills the roll of safety pilot only, then he or she need not hold the endorsements. If the safety pilot fulfills the role of PIC, he or she must be capable in every respect to act as pilot-in-command.

There is no requirement to fly the "complete" proceedure, which would include the missed. There is a requirement to fly the proceedure to minimums. If the flight termniates without going missed, the approach may be counted. Again, one must fly approaches, not full proceedures. 61.57 specifies no requirement to show missed approaches, but does specify flying approaches, tracking, and holding.

I have to agree also with 8N that the truth of the matter is that ultimately no one will likely know the actual conditions of your approach, of if you used a view limiting device, if you were in instrument conditions throughout the approach, etc. If you fly the approach by reference to instruments, to minimums, by all means, log it. If you're not in instrument condtions all the time, but still fly the approach by reference to instruments, so be it. If you log it as simulated instrument, then you must also include the name of the safety pilot as required by FAR 61.51(g)(3)(ii).
 

ScRaMJeT

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This is what I say!

Hey Young Pilot Friend :)

If you are flying an approach like its a real approach, log it anyway, in the grand scheme of things it won't really matter. From what I've seen, I've never heard the question "How many approaches have you done" being asked in an interview. Come to think of it I've never been asked that on a checkride. As a matter of fact, I fill in my logbook once every 2 months and I guesstimate how many approaches I've done. You guys admit it to the little fella

And if you are worried about Currency go to the local FBO fly their frasca 142 or their ATC 820, and look your good for 6 months, and it took all of 2 hours.

I don't know, I guess i'm just a pawn in the Chess game of life.
 
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