ICAO Approach Clearance

ratvis

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While proceeding directly to the the IAF, the center controller issued a descent clearance to FL060 aprox 80 nm from the field. About 30 nm from the IAF we were 'cleared for the VOR DME approach, report final, QNH 1015'. The altitude depicted over the IAF is 3000' with a descent to 2000' once established outbound before a descent to the MDA once established inbound.

In the States an approach clearence is acompanied by a 'maintain XXX' until established...', this clearence was not.

My interpretation is that we were to maintain the last assigned altitude (FL060) until established on some segment of the approach...my co-pilot disagreed and wanted to continue the descent to 3000' before reaching the IAF.

Who was right?
 
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Singlecoil

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In the States an approach clearence is acompanied by a 'maintain XXX' until established...', this clearence was not.

My interpretation is that we were to maintain the last assigned altitude (FL060) until established on some segment of the approach...my co-pilot disagreed and wanted to continue the descent to 3000' before reaching the IAF.

Who was right?
They don't have to state that in the states. In radar environments it seems they often state that, but non-radar it is hit or miss. If you were on an airway with a published MEA or MOCA, you can descend to that altitude (whichever is applicable) before reaching the IAF. If you were on a direct routing, then I would stay at 6000.
 

brokeflyer

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you are correct.....even if you are both unsure, what do you think the safe move would be?

start down to 3000? when you dont know if you can or not? Or stay at 6000 until you are sure.

Train that FO.
 

ratvis

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Thanks for the replies...we did the safe thing. Just wanted some other opinions before our next trip down that way!
 

SSDD

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In certain parts of the world you are expected to descend to the appropriate MSA altidude, when within 25 miles, and use that as your stepdown altitude.
 

brokeflyer

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Thanks for the replies...we did the safe thing. Just wanted some other opinions before our next trip down that way!
Your welcome.....like I said just do the safe thing and make the FO go sit in the corner until he get's his $hit together.
 

ratvis

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In certain parts of the world you are expected to descend to the appropriate MSA altidude, when within 25 miles, and use that as your stepdown altitude.
The AIM says the MSA is for 'emergancy use'. I could probably accept establishing a lower safe altitude based on an MEA or MOCA as previously stated, but I'm not sure about using the MSA.

Have you seen this written somewhere or is this based on experiance?
 

Amish RakeFight

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My interpretation is that we were to maintain the last assigned altitude (FL060) until established on some segment of the approach...my co-pilot disagreed and wanted to continue the descent to 3000' before reaching the IAF.

Who was right?
I'd say you were right.
 

AC560

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Why wouldn't you just ask the controller if you were unclear? Seems to me to be the safest option given you weren't sure whether you were correct or the F/O was.
 

ratvis

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Why wouldn't you just ask the controller if you were unclear? Seems to me to be the safest option given you weren't sure whether you were correct or the F/O was.
We had a safe solution to the question. Asking the controller if we could descend to 3000' would not have answered the initial question of whether her approach clearance implied a further descent.

Getting into a conversation about the finer points of an approach clearance with a foreign controller while preparing for a full procedure would probably not be the safest option.

Does that answer your question?
 

linder

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They don't have to state that in the states. In radar environments it seems they often state that, but non-radar it is hit or miss. If you were on an airway with a published MEA or MOCA, you can descend to that altitude (whichever is applicable) before reaching the IAF. If you were on a direct routing, then I would stay at 6000.
They do have to issue the altitude unless you are on a published "routing" which shows an MEA, etc. It is the result of the TWA accident in Virginia many years ago. ATP 7110.65, section 4-8-1 (b) (2).
 
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