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ILS approach circle to land

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FAA Regulations, Instrument Rating

It might be stupid question but I am not sure what is the DH for ILS approach circle to land to San Luis County RGNL (SBP). There is no circle to land minimum in the SBP ILS RWY 11 approach plate but there is one in the LOC RWY 11 approach. (ILS and LOC approach are not on the same approach plate.) Q1. What altitude can I descend to circle for the ILS approach if there is no circle to land minimum on the approach plate? Q2. Circle to land is always on the non precision approach not on precision? Q3. If I need to circle to land, is it always non-precision and need to step down not following the glide slope? It would be great if you can give me FAR/AIM or any other official reference that I can take a look. Thank you in advance!

1 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Jul 02, 2015

    1. If there are no circle to land minimums on an approach procedure chart, you may not circle to land using the approach.

    2. Yes

    3. Circle to land minimums are not flown using a vertically guided approach procedure such as an ILS or LPV unless there is also a Non Precision Approach (NPA) Straight In option on the same approach chart (Localizer or LNAV option). With a vertically guided procedure, the MAP is at the DA while on the GS. This may be some distance from the runway and is usually lower than a non precision MDA. The NPA MAP is usually located well beyond the location of the DA and most typically at the runway threshold. The point is that the vertically guided MAP starts earlier than the NPA and can’t be used by the pilot to determine the MAP for a circle to land. The NPA may also use step down fixes which don’t apply to the vertically guided procedure after passing the GS intercept point. The GS may be used when flying to a circle to land as an advisory glidepath, but the minimum altitudes on the approach override the GS if there is any difference, in other words, if the GS goes below a minimum altitude, it must be abandoned and the minimum altitude must be flown.

    Approach design standards are found in FAA order 8260.3. FAR Part 97 defines the approach chart data and the approach is in effect a visual representation of the data that is included as a regulation. FAR 91.175(a) says you must use an approach as defined in part 97. Any minimum on the chart is a regulation. FAR 91.175(b) describes how the DA/MDA is determined. 91.175 (c) describes the conditions under which a pilot may descend below the DA/MDA.

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