PlaneFan
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Explain ATC Instructions

Wed May 10, 2006 10:02 am

I'm listening to live ATC of Midway and I'm consistently hearing the following "Cleared ILS 31C, circle 22L". Can someone please explain what this means. What runwawy are they actually landing on? What does it mean to circle 22L?

MANY thank!

~PlaneFan
 
WMUPilot
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Wed May 10, 2006 10:05 am

They are landing on 22L but they are using the ILS approach procedure for 31C then then will circle around to runway 22L for landing.

Looks like the winds are favoring runway 22L but with the weather being bad the minimums for 22L wouldn't allow for landing but if they use the minimums for 31C and the circle they would be allowed to land.
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futuresdpdcop
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Wed May 10, 2006 10:06 am

Airplanes are setting up on the ILS to 31C, then breaking off to cirlce onto 22L. Winds at MDW are most likely out of the west/southwest. I'm sure someone else will give you a more techinical explanation.
 
phelpsie87
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Wed May 10, 2006 10:59 am

MDW is landing 22L and there is no ILS for that runway. So if the aircraft wants an ILS approach, or if the visibility is low, approach control will give them the ILS approach clearance, hand them off to tower, and then tower will advise the aircraft to circle and land on 22L using a visual approach.
 
midway7
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Wed May 10, 2006 11:07 am

It is an awesome approach - both on a plane and watching from the ground.
 
PlaneFan
Topic Author
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 12:44 am

Thank you all for your responses!

I love this forum!

~PlaneFan
 
BoeingOnFinal
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 3:30 am

At what point do the pilots start the circling? at the 31C minima? How do they perform the circling, does the pilot decide which way (L or R) they circle? I've heard about ILS approach 31L sidestep 31R (As an example, not Midway), that seems a bit easier to understand  Smile
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xjramper
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 3:40 am

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 6):
I've heard about ILS approach 31L sidestep 31R (As an example, not Midway), that seems a bit easier to understand

The sidestep is a maneuver when landing in the same direction. In this case they are circling to another runway.

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 6):
At what point do the pilots start the circling? at the 31C minima?

Basically when you are able to maintain visual contact with the runway at which you are landing and by listening to ATC instructions.

XJR
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bri2k1
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 4:23 am

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 6):
At what point do the pilots start the circling?



Quoting Xjramper (Reply 7):
Basically when you are able to maintain visual contact with the runway at which you are landing and by listening to ATC instructions.

Exactly. The AIM states that, for a circle-to-land approach, ATC authorization must be obtained and required visual contact with the airport is made. To make a visual approach and landing, VMC must prevail at some point before the approach minima.

Circling approaches do provide obstacle clearance, as long as maximum circle radii and any restrictions on the side of the runway to circle to are adhered to. Circling MDAs and minima for starting the circle-to-land approach are published on the approach plates.
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ZID
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 10:49 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 8):
for a circle-to-land approach, ATC authorization must be obtained

Only at airports with an operating control tower. At an uncontrolled airport the pilot flies a circle-to-land approach on his own. In fact ATC is not allowed to issue a circle-to-land clearance at an uncontrolled airport.
I'm not joking! This is my job!
 
bri2k1
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun May 14, 2006 12:03 pm

How would you get to an uncontrolled field in IMC if not in contact with ATC? You must have visual contact with the field to be cleared for a visual approach. The circling minima are lower than basic VFR minima for the airspace where the field is located, but you must still have visual contact with the runway to land at a Class E airport. The ATC center or approach facility will terminate radar services prior to touching down, visually, at the uncontrolled field. This must be what the AIM is referring to as "ATC authorization." If you intend to land on a runway not aligned with the ILS, and you reach the descent minima for the intended landing runway and do not have visual contact, you must execute the missed approach.
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ZID
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 4:22 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 10):
You must have visual contact with the field to be cleared for a visual approach.

Why would you be flying a circle-to-land maneuver on a visual approach? You'd just descend in VFR conditions and land on the appropriate runway according to the local traffic pattern. You'd need to circle to land off of an instrument approach. Like at London, Kentucky, if the wind was out of the southwest, you'd fly the ILS RY6 approach and then circle to land on 24 since they don't have an ILS RY24.

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 10):
The ATC center or approach facility will terminate radar services prior to touching down, visually, at the uncontrolled field.

Do you even bother to check and see to whom you're responding?

We routinely terminate radar services for aircraft on approach before they get the field in sight. This is for the pilot's benefit. Once they are established on the approach and I no longer need to be talking to them for separation purposes, I inform the pilot that "change to advisory frequency is approved" allowing them to contact the common traffic advisory frequency and announce their intentions, this phrase also let's them know that radar services are terminated and I have no further traffic for them and they are free to fly the approach on their own. Afterwards I have nothing more to wait for but their cancellation either on my frequency or through flight service, unless they are forced to fly a missed approach.

Now back to the subject at hand - the circling approach - and as I was saying in my previous response. I, as a 15-year air traffic controller at Indy Center where I work aircraft into uncontrolled airports daily, cannot legally clear you for a circle-to-land approach. At an airport without an operating control tower, I must simply clear you for the ILS RY6 approach to London and then if you need to circle to land you do that on your own.
I'm not joking! This is my job!
 
bri2k1
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 4:32 am

Quoting ZID (Reply 11):
You'd just descend in VFR conditions and land on the appropriate runway according to the local traffic pattern.

You might have to descend in IMC. Flying the local traffic pattern at an uncontrolled field implies VMC.

Quoting ZID (Reply 11):
Do you even bother to check and see to whom you're responding?

You're a center controller, great. That has nothing to do with what I posted, which is in the AIM. Do not forget that pilots and controllers share the same glossary in the AIM.

Pilots do not like controllers with attitudes any more than controllers like pilots with attitudes.
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ZID
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 5:47 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 12):
You might have to descend in IMC. Flying the local traffic pattern at an uncontrolled field implies VMC.

Exactly! I was responding to your comment about a visual approach. So I sure hope that you'd do a visual approach in VFR conditions.

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 12):
You're a center controller, great. That has nothing to do with what I posted

It has everything to do with what you posted. I made a slight, and completely accurate and factual, correction to your statement about always needing ATC clearance for a circling approach. You then responded to me like I was some know-nothing punk 22-year old, and proceeded to try and tell me I was wrong.

I am sorry that I hurt your feelings by correcting you, but that is what this forum is all about. It is intended for people to ask questions that can then be answered accurately by people in the industry and people with extensive knowledge of the subject matter.
I'm not joking! This is my job!
 
vxg
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 6:02 am

I have a question regarding the original subject - the circle to land approach @ MDW 22L. What kind of airplanes are being cleared for this approach? ATA and SWA jets? At what altitude are they doing the circle?

That would be incredibly wild if they were! As it is MDW short runways require some added attention & precision for the landing so if you're a big jet breaking off at a low altitude and basically going onto a base leg for 22L aren't your passengers in for quite a thrill ride? Is the added risk of not coming in on a stabilized approach acceptable to air carriers?

- VxG
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 6:39 am

Quoting WMUPilot (Reply 1):
They are landing on 22L but they are using the ILS approach procedure for 31C then then will circle around to runway 22L for landing.

Looks like the winds are favoring runway 22L but with the weather being bad the minimums for 22L wouldn't allow for landing but if they use the minimums for 31C and the circle they would be allowed to land.

Incorrect; mins for 31C Do Not apply. A circle to land is a visual manuever, as indicated by this post:

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 8):
Exactly. The AIM states that, for a circle-to-land approach, ATC authorization must be obtained and required visual contact with the airport is made. To make a visual approach and landing, VMC must prevail at some point before the approach minima.

Circling approaches do provide obstacle clearance, as long as maximum circle radii and any restrictions on the side of the runway to circle to are adhered to. Circling MDAs and minima for starting the circle-to-land approach are published on the approach plates.
 
deltamike172
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 7:05 am

Lets simplify:

Many instrument approaches have a section in the approach minima for "circle to land". This is the minimums required (higher vis and cielings) if you are circling to any other runway at the airport. This goes with the part in the AIM that tells pilots that they must stay within a certain distance of the airport at all times when circling to land.

Some instrument approaches are not approaches to a specific runway (VOR-A for example). Thus, the approach minima is high becuase you MUST circle to land to all runways. Now, that is what the pilot cares about, and what the charts mean.

As for ATC phrasology, which I believe is the original question, "circle to land" is only stated by tower controllers who are clearing you for that approach. In this case, it was midway tower.

Approach Controls and Centers CANNOT clear aircraft to "circle to land." They can only issue approach clearances for an approach. The circle to land portion of the approach is pilots discretion and is not stated even if its not to a specific runway. This is due to the fact that approaches and centers are not responsible for traffic flow into the airport. It is the pilots responsibilty to announce position on CTAF and work his way into the airport on his.her own.

So, to sum up, Pilots can circle to land if :
Towered airport...... If the approach has CTL approach minima and the tower cleares the aircraft for that procedure.

Non-Towered airport..... Aircraft is cleared for approach, pilot decides which runway is in use and does whatever is necessary to land. While "circle to land" is NOT stated in the clearance, it CAN be flown if necessary.


Unfortunatly, I am also a Center controller, so, I guess that didn't really help much.

DM
 
bri2k1
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 8:33 am

Thank you, DM172. I think that's a great summary of what we're talking about here.

ATC means more than centers. I have lots of respect for ATC as they are a large part of my being able to complete a flight safely, from CD to ground to tower to TRACON to center.

Quoting ZID (Reply 13):
You then responded to me like I was some know-nothing punk 22-year old, and proceeded to try and tell me I was wrong.

I am sorry that I hurt your feelings by correcting you,

I just don't like attitudes -- it has nothing to do with my feelings, or those ludicrous things you want to believe I said, insinuated, or whatever.

Quoting ZID (Reply 13):
Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 12):
You're a center controller, great. That has nothing to do with what I posted

It has everything to do with what you posted.



Quoting Deltamike172 (Reply 16):
Approach Controls and Centers CANNOT clear aircraft to "circle to land."

I hope now you see there could be other viewpoints at least as factually correct as your own.

...

By the way, the plane I first soloed in is registered as 172DM...that doesn't have anything to do with your handle, does it Deltamike172?
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deltamike172
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 12:28 pm

You must fly with Aspen airways at KAPA or flew with Altitudes, as did I, since the first aircraft I soloed in was also N172DM. Sweeeeeet!

DM
 
dizzy8
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon May 15, 2006 7:55 pm

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 6):
At what point do the pilots start the circling? at the 31C minima?

At the LATEST...1120' MSL (501' AGL) and at least 1 mile of visibility...

http://flightaware.com/resources/airport/MDW/IAP/all/pdf
dizzy8
 
ZID
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Tue May 16, 2006 1:06 am

Bri2k1,

You don't like attitudes?

This thread has six responses that didn't need to be here.

You made a very good statement about circling approaches but it did have one error in it when you stated that a pilot must have ATC clearance to execute a circle to land maneuver. I merely clarified that statement by mentioning that you must have ATC clearance at airports with operating control towers, but at airports without operating control towers you don't need ATC clearance and, in fact, a controller cannot issue such a clearance.

This is where our input for this thread should have ended.

But you were so shocked that somebody dared to correct you that you just had to cop an attitude and try to say that I was wrong.

You need to understand that this is what this forum is about. There are alot of knowledgable people in the industry on this board and I doubt that there is any aviation related question that the people on this board can't answer fully. But it is rare for one person to answer any question in it's entirety by themself. One person answers it partially and then another amplifies that response with additional information and then someone else will clarify a previous statement and so on until when all is said and done the person with the original question has a complete and accurate answer.

You can't let yourself get all bent out of shape just because someone clarifies one of your statements.
I'm not joking! This is my job!
 
dizzy8
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Tue May 16, 2006 2:00 am

Quoting ZID (Reply 20):
There are alot of knowledgable people in the industry on this board and I doubt that there is any aviation related question that the people on this board can't answer fully. But it is rare for one person to answer any question in it's entirety by themself. One person answers it partially and then another amplifies that response with additional information and then someone else will clarify a previous statement and so on until when all is said and done the person with the original question has a complete and accurate answer.

Excellent point. I've been a pilot for 31 years. In almost every case where a group of pilots and aviation-types are discussing the FAR's, there's going to be as many interpretations of the FAR as there are people in the group.

The FAR's are second to only perhaps the Federal Tax Code where one can keep asking the same question to different people until one gets the answer he'd hoped for! (This goes for FAA personnel as well...and THEY write the darn things.) In aviation, EVERYBODY can be right (or wrong) at the same time!

The bottom line is ALWAYS that the PIC is in command...try to see and be seen...remember that the pilot is usually the first to go...and always carry a blank NASA reporting form with you.
dizzy8
 
bri2k1
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Tue May 16, 2006 2:11 pm

ZID, I first apologize if you interpreted any animosity in my posts. It was surely not intentional. I do state above my respect for controllers, and of course I enjoy learning from the variety of knowledgeable contributors to this forum. It is, as you know, what makes it so great.

I quoted the AIM, but I admittedly first learned of the information contained therein from an article in AOPA magazine, January 1998, which I quote:

Quoting AOPA Magazine, January 1998:
Sometimes the surface wind dictates that you must land on a runway other than the instrument approach runway. So you fly the approach to a specified minimum descent altitude, and if you're then in visual conditions, you circle to land on the runway best aligned with the wind. The instrument rating practical test standards (PTS), in Task E of "Instrument Approach Procedures," asks you, the applicant, to exhibit adequate knowledge of the elements related to a circling approach procedure.

To prepare for any questions the examiner might ask, such as "What exactly is a circle-to-land approach?" it's helpful to study the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) glossary. It defines the "Circle-to-Land Maneuver" as "A maneuver initiated by the pilot to align the aircraft with a runway for landing when a straight-in landing from an instrument approach is not possible or is not desirable. This maneuver is made only after ATC authorization has been obtained and the pilot has established required visual reference to the airport."

Although the glossary holds vital information, it doesn't embrace all knowledge. It's important to know and understand what constitutes a circle-to-land approach, but it's also good to know what a circling approach is not. Because an overhead approach is included with the rest of the instrument approach discussions in the AIM, an applicant might mistakenly cite overhead approach procedures when describing a circling approach. That is a mistake. An overhead approach is a VFR maneuver.

I hope you can understand the comments I made in better context now, not as a personal attack on your contribution, but rather an attempt to reconcile the printed material there and in the AIM with you statements. Specifically, the mention of requiring ATC clearance -- the AIM, nor the article, specify exactly what clearance is required during which particular phase of the manuever. My initial interpration of that material may have been incompletely accurate, and I stand to learn substantially from posting on and reading from this forum. Of course, as a controller, you have a very different in-depth knowledge of certain legal and operational procedures than I do (or am supposed to) as a pilot. That's why we're both required to interact with each other to ensure the safe outcome of a flight.

Regardless of posts that "need to be here," I did interpret a condescending attitude in your posts. While I certainly do post information that is not correct from time to time, it is unprofessional and uncecessary for anyone to speak condescendingly to another member. Please understand that is the basis for my comments regarding attitude. I will refrain from posting further on this subject to hopefully reduce the fuel added to the fire. My only intent in posting this reply is to convey to you, publicly, that I do indeed value your contribution, along with all the others, including my own. It is very wisely stated by you and others that no one individual holds the key to all aviation-related knowledge. I understand and continue to believe this fact. It is, however, separate from my ability to accept countering viewpoints. I regarded your comment asking if I even bothered to see to whom I was responding as especially condesceding, as I continue to believe pilots and controllers work together. Irrespective of altitude, we always work side-by-side.
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KENWINK
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:58 pm

kenwink
i believe my posting and 8 replies to "circle to land clearance by tower"-----(another posting) has been completely answered by this marvelous exchange of information.
circle to land clearance can only be given by atc!!!!
circle to land maneuver at uncontrolled airports is the sole responsibilty of the pilot while remaining in the maneuver area (obstacle clearance area)!!!
correct phraseology is "circle to rwy---- and explicit instructions for left or right downwind or base during the maneuver!!!
circle to land rwy-----is not correct phraseology!!!! circle to rwy-----is correct phraseology followed by "cleared to land"
DO I HAVE ALL THIS CORRECT?? THANKS, KEN
 
seven3seven
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:32 am

The minimums to do a circling maneuver at Southwest Airlines are 3 miles visibility and a 1000 foot ceiling.

Typically we start the right hand turn at 2500 feet msl at the RUNTS intersection on ils 31C and peform a quick left hand pattern to 22L.
The tower wants us to circle as tight as possible but will tell us to extend the downwind if they need spacing.

I typically plan on a 3 mile final at 1600 feet msl which is 1000 feet agl so its a quick maneuver.
My views are mine alone and are not that of any of my fellow employees, officers, or directors at my company
 
Mir
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RE: Explain ATC Instructions

Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:03 am

Quoting EssentialPowr (Reply 15):
Incorrect; mins for 31C Do Not apply. A circle to land is a visual manuever, as indicated by this post:

There are definitely minimums for a circling approach, and they apply to the instrument approach being conducted. You still have an MDA and you still have a visibility requirement (in addition to the requirement of remaining within the appropriate circling radius).

-Mir
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