If you have been cleared for a contact approach, I realize that you may deviate from the instrument approach procedure and dead reckon a track to the destination.
Let's assume that you have been cleared for such an approach. If you become disoriented and decide that you now want to follow the approach procedure again, do you now need to get a new clearance to do so (assume you now want to do a full approach procedure).
Or, does a clearance for a contact approach allow you to shoot the actual procedure, dead reckon a straight-in landing, circle-to-land, or join the circuit as you would if it were VFR (i.e. is it a blanket clearance, allowing you to choose any of the above means of landing?) I'd imagine that if you are being cleared for a contact approach, ATC is expecting you to fly the approach and landing like a circuit at circling minima or at circuit altitude.
Thanks in advance for all comments,
So, if you have been cleared for a contact approach and can no longer maintain visual ref or don't think you will find the airport, you should advise ATC and request another clearence. ATC will not expect you to do the full procedure on your own without a clearence. Oddly enough however the only form of IFR separation that ATC could normally apply to a contact is vertical because they have no idea what lateral area you might need to complete it. They would be surprised if you went 10 miles past the airport and then back again.
For the contact you have to have;
a) the weather limits
b) the pilot has to be able to navigate from where he is to the airport visually
For the visual the pilot has to;
a) have the airport in sight
b) have any IFR traffic that he is to follow in sight
I have seen multiple aircraft on the visual approach at once, tho usually not more than two, I've only ever seen one aircraft on the contact at a time, but we have radar right to the ground so we have lots of other options.
If I was flying (I'm not a pilot) and could no longer continue on the approach I was cleared for, like the contact or the visual, I'd be sure I told somebody about it.
One thing though, if you had to do a miss due to an aircraft problem, what type of missed approach would you do?
Straight from ATC manops:FREEFALL wrote:The contact approach is an approval by ATC. Not a clearance. .
You may clear an aircraft for a contact approach provided:
A. the aircraft requests it;and
B. there is an approved functioning instrument approach for the airport.
Issue alternative or missed approach instructions if weather conditions are such that completion of a contact approach is in doubt.
Maintain an IFR separation minimum between an aircraft cleared for a contact approach and other IFR and CVFR aircraft.
To summarize, a contact approach is not an approval, it is a clearance. Technically, if an aircraft is unable to continue on a contact approach, they are required to request an alternate approach clearance. However, since ATC is still required to provide separation to an aircraft on a contact approach, no one usually takes issue with an aircraft who doesn't request an alternate clearance but continues with an instrument approach. The reason you may hear "contact approach approved" by ATC is simply laziness on our part. Usually we have already cleared you for "an approach" after which you request a contact. Instead of giving you a new approach clearance, many controllers will use the shorter phrase "contact approach approved".
Unlike a visual, we cannot clear another aircraft for an approach to follow the preceding aircraft which is on a contact. We must maintain IFR separation. (Manops 476.3)
However you can also use a contact approach to proceed past the missed approach point without having the required visual reference for the runway. For example on an approach with high minimums, you are clear of cloud but cannot see the runway because a cloud bank is between you and the runway. At this point if you know where you are and where the runway is and there is room around the cloud (or over or under) you can continue to the runway with visual reference to the ground. If you have made a bad decision and cannot actually get to the runway safely then you are still covered for the missed approach, although you now have a problem as your missed approach point is a couple miles behind you. Just like a missed in a circling, you now have some fancy footwork to do to get yourself safely onto the missed approach path.
On a visual, you HAVE to stay VFR. On a contact you can return to IFR mode.
What does "if able" mean? Are you asking the controller if he is able to approve the request? What could she possibly know to let her approve or disapprove? "requesting" makes it sound like you want something now, but you also said you're still in IMC. Huh?xduster wrote:Even easier is once cleared for an approach I always ask the controller
"If able requesting the contact approach". Works really well if you're still imc and know of higher ceilings or good vis at your destination.
You may warn the controller you may request the approach later, but then wouldn't you better word it as something like "may request contact approach later"? And once you are actually clear of cloud, and can make it in, then go ahead and request it outright?
Since i don't meet the requirement of a contact at this time. I ask "If able (once below the cloud deck and meetiing the requirements) that i'd like to do the contact".
Also we are talking to the FSS controller more times than not once we can do a contact so it saves us from asking FSS to get us a contact approach approved from center.
But what exactly are you doing by telling the controller this? Not requesting clearance for a contact approach, since you can't accept one yet. If just advising her that you are likely to ask for one later, then please reconsider your wording to refer to the future tense. Or are you asking for permission in advance, so that you don't intend to talk to her again? Is that legal for a controller to approve?xduster wrote:Since i don't meet the requirement of a contact at this time. I ask "If able (once below the cloud deck and meetiing the requirements) that i'd like to do the contact".