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IAP from a Hold

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Large Member
Jan 14, 2002
Ref. the following VOR approach:


The hold is at an intermediate fix (the VOR), and not directly aligned with the approach course.


If an aircraft is in the hold at the minimum altitude, and subsequently cleared for the approach, does the aircraft have to perform the procedure turn, or may it cross the VOR and proceed straight in?

Please reference any FAR's or AIM paragraph's.

Thanks in advance.

I cant provide a reference but the VOR is the IAF so you would intercept the course inbound at the fix. No need for a procedure turn since a procedure turn is used for course reversal. It would also depend on the exact wording of the clearance.

In this case, the depicted hold is part of the missed approach proceedure. A pilot flying the hold has not begun the proceedure, and while crossing the VOR in the hold, is not considered established. Unless given vectors to final, the pilot arriving at newberg in the hold must still execute the proceedure turn.

AIM 5-4-8(a) specifically states that "The proceedure turn or hold in lieu of a proceedure turn is a required maneuver." As the depicted hold is shown with light dotted lines and is taken to be part of the missed approach proceedure, it is not acceptable for course reversal. Therefore, after entering the hold at Newberg, one is still required to track outbound on the 166 radial to perform the proceedure turn.
Obviously a course reversal is required. However, in real life I believe most pilots would simply fly a racetrack pattern (AIM 5-4-8 a. 1. However the point at which the turn may be commenced and the type and rate of the turn is left to the discrection of the pilot. Some of the options are ...the racetrack pattern,... Some procedure turns are specified by the procedural track. These turns must be flown exactly as depicted). Admittedly that isn't the same as the published hold but it certainly is the easiest. Correct me if I am wrong (since I frequently am).:D
correct my if I'm wrong, but...You're already in the hold which is left turns so when you turn inbound for the vor, that is your IAF, no need for course reversal unless you were doing right hand turns. maintian 3000 until passing vor (FAF).

I dont understand why a procedure turn still needs to be flown if a course reversal is not required

5-4-8 (a) 4 states: "A procedure turn need not be established when an approach can be made from a properly aligned holding pattern"

In the case cited the inbound course for the hold is reasonably aligned with the approach course and can be intercepted without a procedure turn
Flydog and H2ok9,

You wrote:

>>>>VOR is the IAF


>>>>>>when you turn inbound for the vor,that is your IAF,

My response is yeah? What difference does that make that the VOR is the IAF? Except in the case of a procedure specifically designated Nopt, a procedure turn is required after the IAF. After being cleared for the approach, you pass the IAF and then you do a procedure turn.

As far as the quote from the AIM:

First, the standard response....The AIM is not regulatory, If the AIM cannot impose legal restrictions above the regulations, nor can it relieve a pilot from requirements of the regulations.

Going a little deeper. That is an unfortunate phrasing and has led to confusion before. That sentance is lifted verbatim from the TERPS, Chapter 2, para 234 (e). It's intent is not to instruct pilots how to fly, but to instruct the designers of approaches how to design approaches. That's what the TERPS are for. It is regrettable that it has been cut and pasted into the AIM. If you take a look at a current AIM, you will see that the confusing language has been removed (Hey, the FAA does fix things). That same 5-4-8(a)(4) now reads. " A holding pattern in lieu of a procedure turn may be specified for course reversal in some procedures."

"May be specified" means that it may be specified by the approach designers. If it has been specified, the holding pattern will be depicted in a heavy black line. Additionally there will be no procedure turn "barb" because the holding pattern has been specified "in lieu of" or in place of a procedure turn.

Bottom line, there's no heavy black line hold depicted, nor is there a Nopt route depicted. therefore you gotta do the procedure turn.

Last edited:
>>>>>Actually as depicted, there is no "required" method of flying the procedure turn.

Agreed, once cleared for the approach, the method of course reversal is at the pilot's discretion. however that doesn't change the fact that you need to fly a course reversal after the IAF. If you get approach clearence just before you hit the VOR inbound, could you you could take another turn in the hold, modifying the inbound leg to line up with the inbound course? I think that you could. Given the same situation, could you just proceed on the intermediate segment, without any kind of course reversal? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, not legally.

Waterdog and Flydog,

A Squared is correct. The bottom line is that the hold isn't depicted with a heavy line; it's part of the missed approach proceedure and may not be used to commence the proceedure. The designers intended that a proceedure turn be used, and a proceedure turn is required. Simply because one thinks it looks about right, doesn't make it acceptable. Yes, you pass over the VOR roughly lined up, but that does NOT make you established.

Clearly the designers of this approach mean for you to be established on course before crossing the VOR. You commence the approach at the IAF, which is the VOR, but you must proceed outbound, turn around, and then proceed inbound. The depicted hold is not shown as a way for beginning the approach; if you happen to be holding there, it's by coincidence, and it's not part of the proceedure for the purpose of commencing the approach. It just happens to be colocated with the IAF...strictly coincidence.

Weather one flies right or left turns in the hold, has nothing to do with anything. I don't see the logic of that question.

Flydog, AIM 5-4-8(a)(4) doesn't state, "A procedure turn need not be established when an approach can be made from a properly aligned holding pattern." Instead, it states that a holding pattern in lieu of a proceedure turn may be specified for course reversal in some proceedures. As A Square noted, the key element in this statement is "specified." An arbitrary holding pattern doesn't cut it; it must be specifically designed into the approach as such, and is part of the proceedure. The reference you provided states nothing about not needing to perform a proceedure turn, and wouldn't apply in this case, anyway.

I suggest a close reading of the first Refresher article referenced by TDTurbo. Wally Roberts covers the topic well, with several good references and examples.

AIM 5-4-8(b)(3) specifically addresses the hold in lieu of a proceedure turn, and references a depicted hold for the express purpose of course reversal, as part of the approach proceedure. It does not refer to missed approach holding patterns, or other patterns that may be arbitrarily colocated with the IAF, FAF, or other such fixes.

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