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3 Answers

Why this approach name is RNAV-A and only circling minimums?

Asked by: 1397 views Instrument Rating

Hello There!

During my oral stage test. My instructor asked me for KCTY RNAV-A  Approach.

Basically   [-A] is runway alignment factor is over 30 degree. But this approach is only

9 degree for runway4. After that I checked Instrument Procedure Handbook. (4-11).

The book said Circling only procedure is one of follow 3 reason.

  • Alignment factor exeed 30 degrees(But only 9 this time)
  • The descent gradient is greater than 400 ft per nautical mile(But 217ft/nm)
  • A runway is not clearly defined on the airfield 

By the way, Why this approach is put name RNAV-A.

Help me :)

Thank you!

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3 Answers



  1. Russ Roslewski on Feb 16, 2016

    Notice that the IPH says “Typically circling only approaches are designed for one of the following reasons”.

    Note the word “typically”. There are other reasons as well, such as penetrations of a 20:1 slope from the runway, that can affect whether straight-in procedures are allowed. The three in the IPH are just the three most common.

    However, I would bet in this case it’s the third reason, “a runway is not clearly defined on the airfield.” That’s worded pretty broadly, but if you look at the available historical aerial imagery on Google Earth, that runway for years was mostly just a strip of asphalt. The markings (runway numbers, centerline markings, etc.) were obscured, worn off, or missing. It wasn’t until about 2012 – 2013 that the current, clear markings were painted on. If there hasn’t been a request from the airport to the FAA to update the procedure, it won’t show up on the FAA’s procedure production schedule.

    Sometimes that’s the only reason things are how they are – nobody has requested to update them based on more current information or facilities.

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  2. Nascr1Arrival on Feb 16, 2016

    I’m really curious about this too. Did your stage check instructor not tell you? That would be an awaful stage check if he asked you a question and then didn’t tell you an answer. Runway 4 is actually aligned to 049° and so is the approach so it definitely isn’t the alignment.
    Russ- I know a fairly large airport that completely reconstructed their runways and the faa didn’t bother to update the diagram and charts for a year and a half.

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  3. John D Collins on Feb 16, 2016

    It is up to the airport authority to provide updated data. These approaches are circling only because of the lack of runway markings at the time the approach was published. They would now qualify for straight in, but it is up to the airport authority to request the update.

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