IFR Routings

A short exchange on IFR routings...

94/10/11 16:17

From: E-Pilot To: DIPLOCAT Judith Bradt

First of all,

When I was flying a missed approach that specified a return to the outer marker, was I right to avoid tracking outbound on the inbound ILS in case someone else was coming in? It seemed to make sense.

No, not in my opinion. You fly the missed approach as published. Period. If that means on or near the inbound localizer course, so be it.

Here, a visit to your local TRACON or Center will help.

Understand that when you're doing any instrument approach, that airspace is exclusively yours. Center and/or approach can give it to no one, even if you're doing a "practice" approach. ATC has separation minimums between aircraft which is not only horizontal -- which your question implies that you're thinking in terms of -- but vertical separation as well. YOU own the airspace: but there's a risk of mixing IFR and VFR traffic in any meteorological conditions.

For VFR traffic in VMC, they're expected to see and avoid you -- but ATC is responsible for radar separation of all traffic while you're doing a practice approach UNLESS you accept a visual from the approach. Then, visual separation is YOUR responsibility.

In actual IMC, you fly the missed as published. You own the airspace, and NO ONE can penetrate that airspace in the vertical or horizontal limits of the approach corridor and/or Class C airspace unless radar can insure adequate separation.

I find that IFR Flight planning takes a long time; I hope that it gets easier with practice. I suspect, like most things, that it does. I've completed everything up to the parts that need weather, which will wait until tomorrow morning.

Yes, planning takes time. It's unfortunate, but true. You may pick up some speed with practice, but there are few viable shortcuts if any. Some pilots begin to feel after while that it's just not worth it to do such planning: they're well on their way, at that point, of becoming a statistic of some sort. Resist the temptation to "wing" it.

I'll also read the Loran manual that the owner sent me, to see if I can begin to understand how it works and which waypoints I might like to have in there.

LORAN, like all other navigation, has its place. On a short flight, I wouldn't bother. I've found little use for it unless you're traveling far outside the IAD-BOS corridor, AND it does add to your workload. ATC will rarely give anyone point-to-point direct traveling north-south along the eastern seaboard AND under 10,000 feet. Better to file a flight plan along the preferred routing and ask for direct (sometimes On-top direct works great!). Unless the LORAN is repeated on an HSI, it can divert your attention and be more of a distraction than it's worth.

Of course, on a flight of 500-600 miles, it WILL save you fuel and the controllers will sometimes take pity on you, giving you direct, say, from the VOR nearest your departure point to some fix from which a STAR begins. This is a good case for talking with the controllers at the local Center.

Question: In my preparations, I do review the approach plates for the approaches I expect and might use. Ideally, does one memorize them, or lock in the key elements so that when one reads the plate during the approach, the elements are familiar, or should one be able to pick up any plate cold and fly it well? The last seems to indicate a rare ability, though it probably happens a lot and people manage to get down somehow. As you can imagine, I hope to always do better than "manage to get down somehow". My idea is to review the approaches I'm most likely to use, and rehearse (and write down, not for reference, but as part of the learning process) the steps I will expect to take.

Going into an unfamiliar airport, I ALWAYS look up the routing and all the approaches into that airport. I peruse the approach plates to determine why they've published the approach as they have -- there's sometimes a final approach course lined up with the runway, but there's no straight-in minimums. Hmmmmmmmm. Wonder why?

There's a terrible temptation to quickly scan the approach plate for course, frequencies, and MDA/DA. No no no no no no. Even flying single-pilot IFR, I always do a full briefing.

For Seattle:

"This will be the ILS 13R to Boeing Field, chart 11-1, 2 April 93. Aiport is at 18'; tower on 120.6. Inbound course is 130 degrees (set) on 110.9 (tuned and identified); Nolla NDB on 362 MHz (tuned and identified; marker switches UP, audio UP; lights tested and bright/dim); 2200 feet to glide slope intercept; altitude is 2117 feet on glide slope at NOLLA, 8.1 DME on the ILS; minimums at 263' MSL (250 feet); radar altimeter is set for 250'. Current ceiling is reported at 300'.I need 5000 RVR or 1 mile for the approach; current visibility is reported at 2 miles. Missed approach is at 263 feet, 1.7 DME on the ILS. Missed approach is: climb to 2000' via the IBFI localizer southeast course to IBFI 6.0 DME/SEA R-075, then continue climb to 5000' via the IBFI LOC southeast course and SEA R-101 to BLAKO intersection and hold, teardrop entry. SEA VOR, 116.8 for the missed, and TCM VOR, 109.6, both in the backup NAV for the hold (tuned and identified). Flaps 20 landing." Also, there are some steps which I'd use for the RMI which I neglected to mention in that you aren't familiar with it.

I found that, in addition to having another pilot to monitor the approach (whom I could ask questions of as to MDA/DA, weather, and missed approach instructions), it helped to write down the DA(H) altitude on a Post-It note (in this case, 263(250) for BFI) and the first three steps of the missed approach (Climb to 2000' via the localizer to 6.0 DME, then continue climb to 5000' via the BFI LOC course and SEA R-101). My Post-It would look something like this:


| BFI 18' Twr 120.6

| DA 263' (250)


| C 2000' BFI LOC to 6.0 DME --

| C 5000' BFI LOC to SEA R-101 --

| SEA R-101 to BLAKO (11.8 DME); TD entry


Of course, you must be very careful to write down the correct data for the correct approach!

Once again, your advice about calling TRACON for routings is VERY helpful, and I think it cuts down on the likelihood of frantic plotting and map-flipping in the runup block, and the distraction of a route one didn't plan for in flight.

Again, the Jeppesen publications would be very helpful in giving you the ATC preferred routings -- which are ALSO time sensitive (for busy airport blocks, or times which are completely saturated at the larger airports).

You should understand that ATC isn't going to let you fly through a busy corridor while US Air is busy flushing all their aircraft out of PIT.

Well, hope this helps. Keep planning...

Next: IFR Cross-Country Drama...

Judy & JJ
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