Some circling approach questions during flight training

head zhao
  • Some circling approach questions during flight training head zhao

    I have some questions about circle-to-land approaches.

    If we have the runway in sight above MDA, do we need to continue to descend to MDA on downwind? Can we just keep fly like a traffic pattern until abeam aiming point and then start the descent?

    Similarly, If during circle to land approach we lose the runway on downwind but we are above MDA, do we need go missed still toward to the runway? Since we are above MDA we should still have obstacle clearance....

  • No, you do not need to descend all of the way to the MDA if you have the required visibility to continue. In fact, I would recommend against it since it puts you awfully close to the ground while you are maneuvering to align with the runway. Why do that if you don't have to?

    MDA stands for Minimum Descent Altitude, and is just that. The minimum.

    As far as going missed, you would fly the missed approach in the same way because while you may have obstacle clearance where you are now, the missed approach procedure assumes that you fly it the correct way, and in this case you just have some extra padding since you started out higher.

Related questions and answers
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