Pilot's tip of the week

Going “Missed” on a Circling Approach

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Subscriber question:

 "How about addressing the proper procedure for executing a missed approach once you're into a circling approach." - Dale A.

Wally:

“Always a tough call when on a circling approach. The Aeronautical Information Manual tells us that if we are required to make a missed approach after starting the circle, we should always make an initial turn toward the landing runway and then to continue that turn until established on the missed approach course. The goal here of course is to keep clear of all obstructions.

Going MissedRecall that when circling at MDA, in an approach category A aircraft, we are protected within a 1.3 mile circle from the ends of the landing runway. So if we always turn toward the landing runway first, that will keep us within that circle as we began our climb. Once having established that turn, we can then continue turning as we capture the published missed approach course or heading and continuing our climb.

Obstruction clearance on a missed approach is based upon a climb rate of 200 feet per nautical mile from the missed approach point, so while we are circling back toward the missed approach point we have a chance to gain some altitude before we leave the circling protected area.

Circling approaches and the possibility of having to make a missed approach can be a very complex maneuver. It is very important to pre plan your pattern and possible missed approach options using the plan view diagram of the airport before you start the approach. If you are trying to figure this out while circling and attempting to maintain aircraft control, you are setting yourself up to be an NTSB statistic.”

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