• This site moved from forums.flightinfo.com to flightinfo.com. Please update your bookmarks.

Hey Avbug!

Speedtree

lovin' life
Joined
Jan 6, 2002
Posts
193
Total Time
4000
A question to keep you sharp. I don't know if it will be hard or not, I guess it depends on whether or not you know the answer. Or anybody else.

What's the regulation that states you can log an approach if it's IMC at the FAF? I think this is the generally accepted rule but where is it written down?


Thanks
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
14 CFR 61.57(c)

Let me take a crack at it until Avbug shows up.

14 CFR 61.57(c) states the approaches must begin in IMC:

(c) Instrument experience. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR, unless within the preceding 6 calendar months, that person has:

(1) For the purpose of obtaining instrument experience in an aircraft (other than a glider), performed and logged under actual or simulated instrument conditions . . . . .

(i) At least six instrument approaches . . .

(emphasis added)

So, if you commence the approach at the FAF in less than VFR conditions but break out anytime thereafter, you get to count the approach and the time as actual instrument time. All an instrument approach procedure is is a way to let down safely in IMC.

Hope that helps.
 

low&slow

In Limbo
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
48
Total Time
5000
Bobbysamd, I think you might be wrong :(

In order for the approach to count, you would have to both begin the approach and end it (FAF to DH/MDA) in less then VFR conditions or simulated conditions.

Here's my written proof, which can be found at the FAA website under the FAQ for Part 61 (http://av-info.faa.gov/data/640otherfaq/pt61-16.doc). It appears to be on page 97 of the document, buried among all the other "interpretations." Granted this source is not legally binding, but as the disclaimer says at the beginning of the document, it's as close as you'll ever get without being infront of the law judge (but then it also says that the judge's ruling may be overruled by the NTSB, so who really knows??? :confused: :) )

QUESTION: As far as logging an approach in actual, is there any requirement (i.e. must it be in actual conditions beyond the final approach fix)? Assume that the pilot was flying single-pilot IFR so he couldn't simply put on the hood if he broke out?

ANSWER: §61.51(g)(1) and §61.57(c)(1)(i); Again the only place where it defines logging “instrument flight time” means “. . . a person may log instrument time only for that flight time when the person operates the aircraft solely by reference to instruments . . . .” As for logging an "actual" approach, it would presume the approach to be to the conclusion of the approach which would mean the pilot go down to the decision height or to the minimum decent altitude, as appropriate. If what you’re asking is whether it is okay to fly to the FAF and break it off and then log it as accomplishing an approach, the answer is NO.
{Q&A-291}
 
Last edited:

bigD

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Posts
2,020
Total Time
4.9e17
Well dang it low&slow - I certainly hope you're wrong. Otherwise I'm going to have to go back through my logbook and remove a bunch of approaches. I always logged the approach if I was IMC after the FAF, but not necessarily to the DH or MAP. A couple of weeks ago I flew the ILS to 300 feet - I can't log that as an approach? Or am I misreading what you said?
 

low&slow

In Limbo
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
48
Total Time
5000
I just copied and pasted what I read from the FAA interpretation. Since I'm fairly dumb :) and not an official source :(, I guess you're going to have to make your own interpretation of what the FAA interpretation is. But come to think of it, I seem to recall watching you fly that approach, and I think you were closer to 200' when you popped out :)

low@slow
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Clarification

Maybe I need to clarify what I wrote. You can count the approach because you started it in actual. How else will you let down legally in IMC? I would count an ASR or PAR as an approach using the same rationale.

You may count as instrument time only that under which you were flying the airplane in actual conditions by reference to instruments. How else would you be flying the airplane? In other words, let's say you started the approach in IMC and moments later, you broke out. I would count only those "moments" as instrument time. So, if it was only a couple of minutes, that's the only time you can count as instrument time. Some people may not log the time at all. Others, who are starved for actual, might count .1.

Of course, the FAQ opinion is not an official interpretation. Just like if you went to ten different FSDOs with the same question you might get ten different answers. People will always say, though, that a FSDO opinion does not count as a legal opinion.

Hope that helps a little more.
 

DC9stick

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
147
Total Time
13000
This would only be a factor for those flying under Pt. 91.
Part 135 and 121 instrument proficiency checks taken each six months meet all FAR requirements, therefore no logging of approaches is required.
 

avbug

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Posts
7,602
Total Time
n/a
Rather than dive into this again, we covered this at length in the FAR forum. It would be best to go read over that and then post back with further questions.

I'm not against covering it again, but the material is still available, complete with references and legal interps. Let's start there.
 

Speedtree

lovin' life
Joined
Jan 6, 2002
Posts
193
Total Time
4000
Thanks, I will see if I can find it.
 

Speedtree

lovin' life
Joined
Jan 6, 2002
Posts
193
Total Time
4000
I found it. Good Information.

It is one of those times where some reading between the lines is appropriate. As mentioned on the other thread and by FAA inspectors in Houston. You are responsible for interpreting the FARs for yourself and following them and maintaining your own proficiency and legality so be conservative.

Thanks everybody.

Next time I won't be so lazy.
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Counting approaches

:confused:

I did search the FAR section, as Avbug recommended. He cited a 1992 opinion letter. Then, I carefully read Low&Slow's post and went to Mr. Pinkston's link. Mr. Pinkston's link is from 2001 and essentially said the same thing, although Mr. Pinkston was making an assumption in his opinion:

As for logging an "actual" approach, it would presume the approach to be to the conclusion of the approach which would mean the pilot go down to the decision height or to the minimum decent altitude, as appropriate. If what you’re asking is whether it is okay to fly to the FAF and break it off and then log it as accomplishing an approach, the answer is NO.

(emphasis added)

What we're talking about is commencing an approach, going to the FAF, leaving the FAF inbound, establishing on the final approach segment, starting timing, etc. In other words, continuing the approach on the final approach segment and breaking out, e.g. at something like 600' AGL, no? Mr. Pinkston is making a presumption that the approach will be flown to mins. Not all approaches are flown to mins. So, applying his reasoning, it doesn't count? :confused:

I'm saying we're using the approach as intended, to let down in IMC. I still think you can count it as an approach, on the basis of logic and common sense. However, Mr. Pinkston's comments are recent, and, more importantly (tympani roll, please), he's with the FAA. So, although yours truly doesn't agree 100% with Mr. Pinkston, perhaps in the interests of conservatism and not doing anything wrong, we should do it his way.
 
Last edited:

Timebuilder

Entrepreneur
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
4,625
Total Time
1634
Bobby, is it possible that Mr. Pinkston means that you simply have to continue to fly down to the DH after breaking out of IMC at 600 AGL in order to have accomplished the approach?

I, too would only log the time spent in IMC as the "actual" time, but I would log the approach that begins in IMC at the FAF. If I were not able to do this, I'd have to log all approaches for currency by using a safety pilot in simulated conditions becuase of the rarity of flying an approach to mimimums and having things work out just perfectly so that I have one or more of the twelve required runway environment items in sight at the moment I arrive at the DH.

In addition, at a busy airport, approaches in simulated conditions rarely go to the DH because the controller needs us to break off, circle to another runway, 360 for traffic, etc.

I'm starting to surmise that only a small fraction of pilots meet Mr. Pinkston's definition of an approach. Interesting.
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
I dunno . . . .

:confused:

I agree. It is interesting. That's where I'm coming from. That's why I'm not 100% persuaded by his opinion. But, of course, he's from the FAA and is here to help. We're not getting much help in this instance, though. We're having to play aviation lawyer without having law degrees.
 

hyper

We got "change" alright.
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
469
Total Time
6000
Ah! Confusion at it's finest....only in true FAA form!

You see, they want it to be obscure and open ended so that they can grab you by the gnads with any open interpretation they want.

But don't fergit...they're here to help.
 

avbug

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Posts
7,602
Total Time
n/a
The intent of the regualation is clear. Nobody has ever been violated for lack of currency because the FAA went back and checked weather reports, or questioned crewmembers if their compadre stayed on the gages until DH.

The administrator isn't trying to trap anybody. The intent of the regulation is to fly an approach be reference to instruments, period. This may be done in simulated, or actual conditions. It may be done in a simulator. The regulation doesn't require that a view limiting device be worn, that a certain type of cloud or smoke be present, or any other specific stipulation of how to qualify the conditions. If you break out, continue through the approach to minimums and land.

The approach must be conducted to minimums, or in other words, you must fly the approach, not just a small portion of it. The intent here, or the spirit of the law, is to proficiency. It's a weak spirit; six approaches in six months is hardly enough to stay proficient. However, it's the basic minimum; a standard established just as practical test standards are a minimum, 90 day currency is a minimum, and medical certification is a minimum.

14 CFR was intentionally written to be interpreted. The interpretation isn't left to the certificate holder. Legal interpretations are issued by the Administrator's Legal Counsel. These are available. Again, this was covered at length in the previous thread in the FAR forum. The FAA didn't establish what is in the CFR; it was established long before, and was mandated and created by congress. It was intended to be a loose guideline which permitted the administrator to conduct the mission of the FAA, and so it is. It is one of the smallest and most concise sections of federal regulation, and believe it or not, perhaps the easiest to understand. (Try diving into the tax code some time).

You don't need to be in instrument conditions at the FAF. You need to be flying by reference to instruments. This is an important distinction. Frequently an approach will be in visual conditions at the beginning, but may be descending into an obscuring layer, dust, smoke, fog, a black hole condition, etc. These may often be the most challenging of all. So long as the approach is conducted by reference to instruments, log it. How you determine that you've conducted it by referrence to instruments, is largely up to you.

If you intend to claim that you did it under simulated instrument conditions, list the name of your safety pilot. Problem solved.
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Logging approaches

You don't need to be in instrument conditions at the FAF. You need to be flying by reference to instruments. This is an important distinction. Frequently an approach will be in visual conditions at the beginning, but may be descending into an obscuring layer, dust, smoke, fog, a black hole condition, etc. These may often be the most challenging of all. So long as the approach is conducted by reference to instruments, log it. How you determine that you've conducted it by referrence to instruments, is largely up to you.
(emphasis added)

Works for me. That's where I've been coming from all along. And, I think, that's where we've all been coming from.

Thanks, Avbug.
 

hyper

We got "change" alright.
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
469
Total Time
6000
With all due respect Avbug, if it wasn't so open-ended and confusing, there wouldn't be so many long debates about it filled with uncertainty.

It may be cut and dry to you, but it's pbvious from this and other threads that it is not to others. (like soooo many other regs)

Just a thought.
 
Top