IFR contact approach question

cforst513

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so i'm studying for my instrument written and i come across "contact approaches". i feel ignorant, but after reading the description, i still have no idea what this is. can anyone shed some light on this? maybe apply it to a real-world situation by typing what ATC and the pilot say as well as what the pilot does? if i can visualize it instead of reading Gleim's crappy description, it might help. thanks!
 

Kream926

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do a search under training i asked this a while ago
 

aucfi

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Basically allows you to "disregard" a published approach to an airport as long as you remain clear of clouds and have at least 1 mile of in flight visibility. Also you must have a reasonable expectation of continuing all the way to the airport in those conditions and must maintain visual contact with the surface.

The benefit of doing a contact approach is time required due to the lack of published procedures you would normally follow. I have never done one myself so I am not sure of the ATC transmissions would consist of. Anyone?

this is from the AIM

5-5-3. Contact Approach
a. Pilot.
1. Must request a contact approach and makes it in lieu of a standard or special instrument approach.
2. By requesting the contact approach, indicates that the flight is operating clear of clouds, has at least one mile flight visibility, and reasonably expects to continue to the destination airport in those conditions.
3. Assumes responsibility for obstruction clearance while conducting a contact approach.
4. Advises ATC immediately if unable to continue the contact approach or if encounters less than 1 mile flight visibility.
5. Is aware that if radar service is being received, it may be automatically terminated when told to contact the tower.
[size=-2]REFERENCE-
Pilot/Controller Glossary Term- Radar Service Terminated.[/size]

b. Controller.
1. Issues clearance for a contact approach only when requested by the pilot. Does not solicit the use of this procedure.
2. Before issuing the clearance, ascertains that reported ground visibility at destination airport is at least 1 mile.
3. Provides approved separation between the aircraft cleared for a contact approach and other IFR or special VFR aircraft. When using vertical separation, does not assign a fixed altitude, but clears the aircraft at or below an altitude which is at least 1,000 feet below any IFR traffic but not below Minimum Safe Altitudes prescribed in 14 CFR
Section 91.119.
4. Issues alternative instructions if, in their judgment, weather conditions may make completion of the approach impracticable.
au
 
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cforst513

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ok, i did the search for kream's posts and it seemed to clear a lot up. thanks guys!
 

airksk

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Basically, it allows you to make a visual approach in less than visual conditions. ATC will never issue or even suggest this kind of approach, it must be requested by the pilot. If you ever do ask for one, make sure that you will be able to proceed visually to the airport, since you will not be flying any sort of published instrument approach.
 

chriskcmo

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It would sound something like this:


Cessna 123 "Request contact approach to XYZ"

ATC "Cleared contact approach to XYZ Airport".
 

NYCPilot

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Basically, a contact approach allows you to proceed to an airport visually, with 1 mile of flight visibility and remain clear of clouds throughout the approach and landing. It's very similar to a Special VFR clearance. You must request a contact approach specifically, and ATC must approve it.

Also, be aware that in order to conduct a "contact approach," the airport in which you will fly to MUST have an SIAP. The ground visibility must be reported to be at least 1 mile.

This clearance is only applicable to that specific approach. You cannot break off the approach once you're in the clear to land at any other airport either.
 

Geronimo4497

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Great question!

For the first time in my career, I finally got to shoot a contact approach a few weeks ago, thanks to my trusty co-pilot! We were flying into South Jersey (Mount Holly, NJ) and the weather was VFR, although we were in the clouds still. Neither of us had ever been into that particular airport before, so we requested the VOR/GPS rwy 26. The co-pilot was flying, thankfully.



Initially, we were cleared for the approach from the east by going direct to LOUEY, one of the IAFs. APP was too busy for vectors to final (McGuire APP can be crazy busy sometimes). When we were about 5 miles from the fix, at 1800 ft, we were barley out of the clouds, skimming the bottoms and about 4 miles visibility. I could not see the airport, and would not have been able to accept the visual. APP then informed us that they could not allow us to continue because the PT would interfere with a departure out of McGuire AFB. The lowest altitude APP was able to give us was 1800 ft, and that is when good ol' trusty co-pilot spoke up and suggested we take the contact approach. Excellent thinking! Even better, we would not have to do the PT anymore. We requested the contact, and were immediately assigned it. We descended to the MSA of 1700 and followed the approach course inbound. Go figure, the APT appeared out the window at about 4 mile final.



This is probably not the most dramatic use of a contact approach by any means, but it certainly helped us out in this situation. If we had not done it, we would have had to circle to the south and setup for the GPS rwy 8, and we were already behind schedule, so it worked out wonderfully. CRM is great!


Rwy 26 - http://www.airnav.com/depart?http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0508/05871VG26.PDF

Rwy 8 - http://www.airnav.com/depart?http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0508/05871G8.PDF
 

Gutenberg

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IFR Magazine

This magazine has answers to all kinds of kooky IFR questions, and no ads. There was an article awhile back about contact approaches. It's a good CFI reference with lots of cutting edge stuff. Nice to not sound like an idiot when my students asks me about WAAS or something.
 

cforst513

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any idea on how we can find this magazine? just google it, i suppose?
 

Headwind

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OK lets say the reported weather is below VFR mims, but you have the runway in sight because it's clear on the approach side of the airport. You say runway in sight and ask for a visual, but the controller can't give it to you because of the report. You ask for a contact approach and this clears him and puts it all on you. He can not suggest it. He can give it only if you ask.

HEADWIND
 

GravityHater

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Correct me if I'm wrong but the biggy here I was told is that you can continue visually without cancelling; in less than vfr conditions.

If you cancel in less than vfr (technically imc because of cloud clearances or vis, but not 'in a cloud') can get you busted, and this has happened.
But if you do the CA, you are still on an ifr clearance - and you can legally find your way in visually during poorer conditions.
 

User546

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I had an instructor explain it best to me one time: "Legalized Scud Running"

For that reason, never EVER take a Contact Approach if the weather is poor (why you'd take one to begin with) and you're not familiar with the surroundings or area.
 

RichardRambone

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I used a contact on a hazy winter day into an airport near Chicago. We were getting vectors for the VOR approach which took us over the airport. We were about to turn outbound when we saw the airport, requested a contact approach and just chopped it and dropped it. Works great.
 

Singlecoil

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RichardRambone said:
I used a contact on a hazy winter day into an airport near Chicago. We were getting vectors for the VOR approach which took us over the airport. We were about to turn outbound when we saw the airport, requested a contact approach and just chopped it and dropped it. Works great.
That seems to be about the only scenario where it is worth doing: decent ceiling and visibility between 1 and 3 miles. I've done contact approaches following the localizer because I knew I would see the airport, but didn't want to hassle with a full procedure turn.
 

Flechas

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User997 said:
I had an instructor explain it best to me one time: "Legalized Scud Running"

For that reason, never EVER take a Contact Approach if the weather is poor (why you'd take one to begin with) and you're not familiar with the surroundings or area.
Couldn´t agree any more. I would only take a contact approach if I´m very familiar with the area.

The way geronimo did it sounds safe too, go down to MSA AND follow the procedure.
 

gkrangers

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Basically you want to be intimately familiar with the area...being able to navigate to the runway by streets,buildings, the McDonalds on the corner...etc...

In other words, I wouldn't do it.
 

Flibmeister

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Flechas said:
I would only take a contact approach if I´m very familiar with the area.
A good attitude, and the reason that (as has been mentioned, but perhaps not forcefully enough), no controller will offer or assign you a contact approach-- it has to be your idea. Same thing for Special VFR clearances-- the feds recognize that both procedures usually take local knowledge to accomplish safely, so they're only available upon pilot request.
 

Gutenberg

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Sorry, I should really link to something if I mention it. Thanks Flibmeister. Great reading for the porcelain throne.
 
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