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2 Answers

Civilian use of “initial” on the radio

Asked by: 1542 views FAA Regulations

Just curious if anyone knows if use of the military position call "initial" is actually valid at civilian airports.  We have ex military pilots that use this term at an uncontrolled field.  I think they mean they are on a long straight-in final, but I'm really not sure.  Neither are many other non-military pilots.  I looked in the FAA's Pilot Controller glossary, and there is no mention of the term in there.  Anywhere else I could look?

I'm not asking about the IFR initial approach fix.



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2 Answers

  1. Chris on Mar 08, 2014

    Typically they are performing an overhead pattern when they call initial, not a straight in. Can’t help with the validity question.

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  2. Michael Lepkowski on Mar 12, 2014

    AIM 5-4-27 Overhead Approach Maneuver. As stated, when they say “Initial”, or more appropriately “request the Initial” with ATC, they are asking to fly an overhead pattern. The Overhead is developed specifically for the airport. Typically, they will fly at an altitude above normal TPA, straight down the runway, then “Break” at midfield, making a 180 degree turn to join the downwind, then another 180 to land.

    The “Initial” is the begging of the overhead maneuver. Military pilots like it because it allows you to fly as fast as possible to the runway, then drop in.

    Insofar as they follow 91.126 direction of turn for that airport, it’s valid.

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