If there is a misprint on an instrument plate, is a pilot required to comply with it?

Steve V.
  • If there is a misprint on an instrument plate, is a pilot required to comply with it? Steve V.

    This is a snippet from the KESC RNAV 36 approach. It's a real procedure, I didn't photoshop it except to add highlighting.

    Let's say I was in the position that the blue aircraft is in (roughly 10 miles from WOKOL bearing approximately 320), and I had been cleared to WOKOL for the RNAV 36. I am assuming ATC did not explicitly tell me to do a procedure turn.

    What am I supposed to do when I get to WOKOL? The plate says NoPT, which is obviously a mistake. Do I still fly the course reversal? Do I whip into a 150 degree left turn over WOKOL as illustrated?

    Here are some relevant passages from the AIM:

    AIM 5-4-9:

    The procedure turn or hold-in-lieu-of-PT is a required maneuver when it is depicted on the approach chart, unless cleared by ATC for a straight-in approach. Additionally, the procedure turn or hold-in-lieu-of-PT is not permitted when the symbol “No PT” is depicted on the initial segment being used, when a RADAR VECTOR to the final approach course is provided, or when conducting a timed approach from a holding fix.

    AIM 5-4-5 (D. 2. b.)

    The published procedure will be annotated to indicate when the course reversal is not necessary when flying within a particular TAA area; e.g., “NoPT.” Otherwise, the pilot is expected to execute the course reversal under the provisions of 14 CFR Section 91.175. The pilot may elect to use the course reversal pattern when it is not required by the procedure, but must inform air traffic control and receive clearance to do so.

    If an instrument plate contains errors, am I still required to comply with them?

    enter image description here

  • The literal answer to your question about complying with the plate is also in AIM 5-4-9, right after the piece you quoted (my bold):

    NOTE- The pilot may elect to use the procedure turn or hold-in-lieu-of-PT when it is not required by the procedure, but must first receive an amended clearance from ATC. If the pilot is uncertain whether the ATC clearance intends for a procedure turn to be conducted or to allow for a straight-in approach, the pilot must immediately request clarification from ATC (14 CFR Section 91.123).

    In other words, any time you aren't sure or you suspect something is odd then you should just ask ATC.

    On the other hand, if your question is about this specific procedure and whether the NoPT notation is (or even can be) correct or not, you might want to phrase your question in that way.

  • Other RNAV approaches have the NoPT labeled on the the side away from the runway. This one is probably a misprint. If you believe an approach is incorrect, you should ask ATC just to make sure. If you feel the need to differ from an approach as published, whether because of a misprint, weather, traffic, a whim, or an emergency, you should ask or inform ATC.

  • The first thing that you should do is check the NOTAM's for the airport (which of course, you should do before you leave on your flight). Very often, these types of errors have been discovered by someone else and the FAA will have issued a NOTAM to let everyone know. In this case there is no NOTAM, so we would have had no reason to suspect an issue before we took off.

    The main point has already been made. If you are airborne and there is any reason to suspect that something is wrong, ask ATC for clarification and move on.

    If I encountered this situation and couldn't ask for clarification (ie. lost communication) then I would simply select a different approach and fly it.

    For the record, the Jeppesen chart has it coded correctly:

    enter image description here

    Now, aside from the operational considerations, it is very important to notify the FAA when you find discrepancies like this so that they can be fixed. Here is a quote from the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide:

    REPORTING CHART DISCREPANCIES

    Your experience as a pilot is valuable and your feedback is important. We make every effort to display accurate information on all FAA charts and publications, so we appreciate your input. Please notify us concerning any requests for changes, or potential discrepancies you see while using our charts and related products.

    FAA, AeroNav Products
    SSMC4 Sta. 4503
    1305 East-West Highway
    Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281

    Telephone Toll-Free 1-800-626-3677
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Mark the chart you are using with the suggested changes and include an explanation of the discrepancy. Mail this corrected chart to the address above and we will send you a replacement right away. Suggestions concerning this guide are also welcome.

    For the record, I have already emailed the plate with the suggested changes to the email address above, and hopefully a NOTAM will be issued soon and an amended approach procedure will follow sometime after.


    Update

    I received the following response from the FAA:

    Dear Louis:

    Thank you for reporting the problem

    ...

    Control Number 18335 has been assigned to this issue for tracking purposes. This concern has been closed with the following Response:

    Thank You for your inquiry. A P-NOTAM is being assigned to correct the discrepancy.

    Regards,

    Note that the NOTAM hasn't been issued as of yet.

    Update 2:

    New NOTAM issued on 01/17/2014 to address the error on the instrument approach procedure:

    !FDC 4/3036 ESC IAP DELTA COUNTY, ESCANABA, MI.
       RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, ORIG...
         CHANGE TAA TO READ FROM 274/30 CW 094/30 (NOPT) TO WOKOL
         (IF/IAF) AND FROM 094/30 CW 274/30 TO WOKOL (IF/IAF).
       THIS IS RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, ORIG-A.
       1401171859-PERM
    

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