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Teardrop Procedure Turn

Asked by: 2831 views Airspace, FAA Regulations

Reference KRMN ILS 33:  Why is there a teardrop PT shown but the profile view says "Procedure Turn NA"?

Reference KLNK ILS 18: Assume I need to fly the full procedure. Do you have to go to outbound on the teardrop PT to 12 DME LKN VOR to JUSAM before turning to intercept the localizer? In other words can you not turn (for example) at 7 DME from LKN VOR to intercept the localizer?


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11 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Jan 19, 2014

    KRMN ILS33. Look up Procedure Turn in the PCG. According to this definition, the teardrop maneuver is not a procedure turn, although it is often referred to as the teardrop procedure turn. My guess is that the Procedure Turn NA note in the profile view is to remind the pilot that they must follow the depicted course of the teardrop maneuver. With a regular PT, the side and the boundary limits (within 10 NM) are required, but otherwise the form of the turn and location of the turn is at the pilot’s discretion. With the teardrop, it is not.

    KLNK ILS 18. Per my previous answer, flying the full teardrop maneuver is mandatory.

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  2. Dan Chitty on Jan 19, 2014

    Thank you John.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Jan 19, 2014

    I’m going to disagree with John on this one because it doesn’t explain the KLNK procedure where the teardrop PT does not have the NoPT notation and the chart refers to the teardrop in the usual PT place in the profile view.

    Why the difference? This is a guess. The one at KLNK is a Teardrop PT. The one at KRMN is not.

    In the KLNK procedure, the teardrop begins and end at CLONE, the IF/FAF. In other words, just like a barbed PT or a HILO, you start and end the course reversal at the same fix. It is indeed a procedure turn, although in a specific shape which must be flown.

    OTOH, in the KRMN example, you begin the “teardrop-shaped” turn on a fix that is not on the FAC and to which you do not return. It’s not a “teardrop Procedure Turn” at all, but a course segment more akin to a DME arc or other transition to the FAF from the en route environment (which also say “NoPT” on their segments). That’s why it’s notated diferently.

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  4. Steve Butler on Jan 19, 2014

    Sorry Mark, but I agree with John. The KLNK procedure begins with the LNK VOR and ends at CLONE.

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  5. Mark Kolber on Jan 19, 2014

    Don’t be sorry, Steve. In either case, operationally they are flown the same way, so it’s an interesting academic question Dan raises. And, whether student pilot or CFI, we’re all here to get the benefit of increasing our knowledge.

    But going back to Dan’s question, how do you account for the one at KLINK being described as a teardrop on the approach chart (and the one at KRMN is not? Or that one says “NoPT and the other doesn’t? Are you taking the view that the approach chart for KLNK is erroneous because it does depict the teardrop as a PT and doesn’t say “NoPT”?, how do you account for the difference?

    (Note that even the AIM discusses the teardrop PT as a form of PT. See, for example, AIM 5-4-9(b)(2))

    Here’s another variation on the theme: the KOTM ILS 31. In this variation, it doesn’t say “teardrop” but it also doesn’t say “NoPT.” My guess doesn’t fully explain that variation either but still, the only difference I can discern between the KRMN one and the other two is that the KRMN teardrop does not cross the FAC while the other two do.

    At this point, since the FAA itself uses the phrase “teardrop procedure turn” in various publications – AIM and IPH, I think the explanation must lie somewhere other than “it’s technically not a ‘procedure turn.'”

    I’ll be interested to see what else turns up.

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  6. Dan Chitty on Jan 21, 2014

    Thank you all for the great information. Very helpful.

    I was able to locate a very helpful staff member at the FAA charting office and asked them about KRMN ILS 33 and the “Procedure Turn NA”. Come to find out, the wording “Procedure Turn NA” in this case was printed in error and the teardrop course reversal/ turn is authorized if needed.

    Also if interested, further language in the AIM below regarding the teardrop turn:

    A teardrop procedure or penetration turn may be specified in some procedures for a required course reversal. The teardrop procedure consists of departure from an initial approach fix on an outbound course followed by a turn toward and intercepting the inbound course at or prior to the intermediate fix or point. Its purpose is to permit an aircraft to reverse direction and lose considerable altitude within reasonably limited airspace. Where no fix is available to mark the beginning of the intermediate segment, it must be assumed to commence at a point 10 miles prior to the final approach fix. When the facility is located on the airport, an aircraft is considered to be on final approach upon completion of the penetration turn. However, the final approach segment begins on the final approach course 10 miles from the facility.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Jan 22, 2014

    Nice follow-up Dan. It’s surprising how many times something on a chart is simply an error. I sent a formal written request on this one, with all 3 examples, to the FAA charting office – if I get a written response I’ll post it.

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  8. Mark Kolber on Jan 29, 2014

    I received a written answer from the charting office. It confirms Dan’s report that the “NoPT” on the RMN chart is an error and that the “a teardrop procedure turn is not a procedure turn” answer is not correct. Also incorrect was my answer trying to reconcile the three without calling one an error by making description of the teardrop as a PT based on whether it turns inbound or out.

    Here is what they had to say about the three charts:

    “KLNK ILS or LOC RWY 18 is correct. This is a charting spec requirement.” (That’s the chart describing the teardrop as a teardrop)

    “KOTM ILS or LOC RWY 31 will be corrected to by charting” (that’s the one that shows it as a procedure urn in the profile view but doesn’t use the word “teardrop”)

    “KRMN ILS or LOC RWY 33 is documented incorrect and is being amended with a permanent change NOTAM 4/4545.” (that’s the one that uses the noPT notation in both the Plan and Profile views)

    Here’s the NOTAM : https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/notamRetrievalByICAOAction.do?method=displayByNotamID

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  9. Dan Chitty on Jan 29, 2014

    Thank you Mark for the additional information.

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  10. Stephen Youngblood on Apr 19, 2014

    Can anyone tell me what the max DME I can be north of the Tear Drop proceedure at KPBF, ILS 18? It begins at 12.4 DME on the 022 radial, but there is no indication on how tight you have to keep it, nor does it indicate a consistant 12.4nm

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  11. Mark Kolber on Apr 20, 2014

    Stephen, if you take a look at Chapter 7 of the Instrument Procedures Handbook, you’ll see that a simple standard rate turn from NETAA to the extension of the FAC is contemplated.

    Just like a fixed distance holding pattern.

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