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  1. #21
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    You stated:
    If they aren't in a position to do the straight in approach, then they need to be at or above 4,500.


    The published holding pattern doesn't exist below 4,500, that is the minimum holding altitude by definition. If you clear someone for approach when below 4,500 from a position where they need to execute that course reversal, they aren't on a published segment of the approach once they cross CIRIX outbound per the clarification of Note 3, which in turn creates a violation of 4.8.1.b.2. Basically, they're in no man's land.

    Even if you argue "well, he stays at 4,000 feet until he hits CIRIX, and that's above my MIA, so it's ok," well...


    I disagree:
    Under Note 1 it states:
    NOTE−
    1. The altitude assigned must assure IFR obstruction
    clearance from the point at which the approach clearance
    is issued until established on a segment of a published route
    or instrument approach procedure.

    If you are complying with the MIA at 4000, you can clear for the full approach at 4000, you are assuring IFR obstruction. You are not violating Note 3, it just means the aircraft is not "officially" on a published segment of the approach until reaching the 4000 point on the approach.

    You may go deep into the weeds with TERPS, but controllers do not need to know TERPS rules.

  2. #22
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    You can definitely do the procedure turn at 4000. You can do it at any altitude above the MVA.

  3. #23
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    The problem with a number of these replies is they equate their version of safe with legal. As center controllers we are required to cross the initial approach fix at either the MVA or the published altitude on the approach whichever is higher. We are not allowed to substitute our judgement for the writers of the approach. In the example given the crossing is CIRIX at or above 4500. The initial question was what phraseology would you use to start the approach at 4000. There is none because it is illegal. Is starting the approach at 4000 safe. I'm sure it is for the reasons given but that is not the question. Much of our job in clearing for approaches (and I have cleared countless numbers over the last 30 years in moutainous terrain) is protecting ourselves in the inevitable accident. It doesn't matter in court if you say you were safe, it matters if you were legal.

  4. #24
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Quote Originally Posted by dialout View Post
    The problem with a number of these replies is they equate their version of safe with legal. As center controllers we are required to cross the initial approach fix at either the MVA or the published altitude on the approach whichever is higher. We are not allowed to substitute our judgement for the writers of the approach. In the example given the crossing is CIRIX at or above 4500. The initial question was what phraseology would you use to start the approach at 4000. There is none because it is illegal. Is starting the approach at 4000 safe. I'm sure it is for the reasons given but that is not the question. Much of our job in clearing for approaches (and I have cleared countless numbers over the last 30 years in moutainous terrain) is protecting ourselves in the inevitable accident. It doesn't matter in court if you say you were safe, it matters if you were legal.
    So you fundamentally disagree with my assertions about the straight-in approach and bypassing the Hold In Lieu as being a legal (and safe) way to clear someone in at 4,000?

    Can you show citations that support your assertion?

  5. #25
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Quote Originally Posted by atcone View Post
    If you are complying with the MIA at 4000, you can clear for the full approach at 4000, you are assuring IFR obstruction. You are not violating Note 3, it just means the aircraft is not "officially" on a published segment of the approach until reaching the 4000 point on the approach.


    You may go deep into the weeds with TERPS, but controllers do not need to know TERPS rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by NovemberEcho View Post
    You can definitely do the procedure turn at 4000. You can do it at any altitude above the MVA.

    ATC takes responsibility for terrain and obstruction clearance for ad-hoc holding patterns. TERPS has done work for ATC and pilot alike to ensure a given altitude is safe. And there are alternatives available to bypass the hold should the need or desire arise.

    A clearance below a minimum altitude of a published holding pattern means the aircraft isn't established on a published procedure, per Note 3 discussed previously. Would you agree?

    Sure, in the heart of Texas where 4,000' might be the highest MIA for hundreds of miles around, you might be able to get away with it. But that is not a safe generalization to make across the NAS.

    Why would a controller work harder to put themselves and the pilot in a dubiously legal and potentially unsafe situation when a little maneuvering to comply with the 90 degree rule combined with a straight-in-clearance gets you a definitive, express AOK from the .65?

  6. #26
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    If you’re MVA/MIA is 4000, then 4000 is a safe altitude otherwise it wouldn’t be the MVA. If the hold/pt goes into an area that the MVA/MIA is 4300, then it is not. And you can do published holding at an altitude other than published, that’s why you give an altitude along with saying hold as published. It is correct you are not established on a segment of the approach but that does not mean you can’t execute the approach or hold/pt at an altitude above the MVA/MIA and below the crossing altitude. Maybe it’s different enroute, but I’d do it all day everyday (and have) in Approach.
    Last edited by NovemberEcho; 08-30-2018 at 08:51 AM.

  7. #27
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    The question remains not "what is safe" or "what will work", the question is what is legal. Looking at it another way, can I hold at CIRIX as a fix at the MVA of 4000. Absolutely. Can I clear an aircraft to do a hold in lieu of in conjunction with the approach at CIRIX at 4000. No because the published altitude restriction on the approach plate is 4500. Does it make sense ? I have long ago ceased to look for logic in all the FAA does. My citation for my opinion is the approach plate and what I was taught the first day I was taught about them. If there is a solid line beneath a fix altitude it is an at or above altitude, period. I would ask what citation you have to violate this very basic rule. I have been blessed never to have been in court over an accident but some of my good friends have. An aircraft could land on another aircraft occupying the runway and the lawyers will gather like vultures. They will put the controller on the stand and dissect every syllable the controller spoke and you can bet they will ask why he cleared the aircraft to initiate the approach at 4000 when the approach plate clearly says 4500. The FAA lawyers will ask the same thing. It doesn't matter that it had nothing to do with the accident. Cover yourself and don't take shortcuts.

  8. #28
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    4-8-1 Approach Clearances

    b. For aircraft operating on unpublished routes, issue the approach clearance only after the aircraft is: (See FIG 4-8-1.)
    1. Established on a segment of a published route or instrument approach procedure.
    2. Assigned an altitude to maintain until the aircraft is established on a segment of a published route or instrument approach procedure.

    NOTE-
    1. The altitude assigned must assure IFR obstruction clearance from the point at which the approach clearance is issued until established on a segment of a published route or instrument approach procedure.

  9. #29
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    I have talked to several Center controllers at different facilities in the last couple of days since this was posted and my response. None of them have ever heard about using the higher altitude. There is no difference between Approach Control and Center controllers reference this situation. As long as you are at or above the MVA/MIA you can clear the a/c for the approach. There is nothing in the .65 that shows a difference between Terminal or Enroute. Where one of the above responders says you have to do it reference the higher altitude is incorrect. The only thing that could affect this is where the a/c is when cleared for the approach. If the MIA is 4000 where cleared but goes up around the Procedure Turn area, you would have to use the higher MIA from that area. It has nothing to do with the holding pattern altitude as long as your at or above the MVA/MIA for that area.

  10. #30
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Quote Originally Posted by atcone View Post
    I have talked to several Center controllers at different facilities in the last couple of days since this was posted and my response. None of them have ever heard about using the higher altitude. There is no difference between Approach Control and Center controllers reference this situation. As long as you are at or above the MVA/MIA you can clear the a/c for the approach. There is nothing in the .65 that shows a difference between Terminal or Enroute. Where one of the above responders says you have to do it reference the higher altitude is incorrect. The only thing that could affect this is where the a/c is when cleared for the approach. If the MIA is 4000 where cleared but goes up around the Procedure Turn area, you would have to use the higher MIA from that area. It has nothing to do with the holding pattern altitude as long as your at or above the MVA/MIA for that area.
    How do you ensure the holding pattern protected airspace is free of terrain/obstruction penetration in all cases?

    I agree in the case cited in this thread, where the highest MIA is 4,000 for dozens of miles around, it's hard to argue that the altitude needs to be higher than 4000 (the MIA).

    But in terrain areas, or any holding pattern remotely close to a higher MIA area, how do you ensure terrain/obstruction separation for any pilot using the maximum extent of the holding pattern airspace, which is their right to do?

    If the protected airspace of the holding pattern penetrates an adjacent, higher MIA/MVA, the entire pattern necessarily must have the higher MIA/MVA.

    If the holding pattern protected airspace is plotted on the scope or a chart whereby it shows the entirely of that airspace is within MIA/MVA area(s) lower than the published holding pattern altitude, then I could support using the highest available MIA/MVA within the holding pattern airspace and below the holding pattern altitude.

    Anything lower than that though would be illogical and arguably unsafe.

  11. #31
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Obviously if the holding pattern isn’t completely contained in the 4000’ MVA then you wouldn’t let them do it at 4000’ and no one is saying to let them do it if that’s the case. But that’s not what was said. In the example used the MVA in the area is 4000’.

  12. #32
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Instrument approaches are published routes and the altitudes depicted are not optional. They carry the force of law upon the pilot. I understand the argument that a straight in approach at 4000 in this case is allowed because the altitude immediately falls away after CIRIX. The idea that you can do the hold in lieu of at 4000 is so wrong as to be in need of immediate remedial. So the phraseology would be, "cross CIRIX at 4000, cleared rnav approach. What does the pilot do at CIRIX ? At CIRIX he would be no longer receiving altitude guidance from the controller. He would be required by law to abide by the published altitudes on the approach plate. This would require him to climb to 4500 to meet the clearly depicted required minimum altitude at CIRIX inbound. Here are a couple of examples of why the altitudes on an approach chart and center MEAs are not the same. LNP (Wise VA) RNAV24 starting the approach at LYDIC. The MEA at LYDIC and JUBTO are 4600 and 4800. The minimums depicted on the approach plate is 5400. Using the logic given we could cross LYDIC at 4600 cleared for RNAV approach. Surely this is safe and legal as it meets the MEA. But this puts the pilot 800 feet low at JUBTO in mountainous terrain. Why is there such a difference between the two ? I don't know. I don't care. I just know I am legal and safe if I do not violate the minimum published altitudes on the approach plate. 0VG (Jonesville VA) RNAV 7 starting the approach at ZOKAP. The MEA at ZOKAP and TILYU is 1000 feet lower that the published altitude at both fixes. Using the MEA instead of the published altitudes brings the pilot 1000 feet below the required minimums on this approach. It is dangerous and puts the pilot in a horrible position. He is required to follow ATC instructions. He is also required by law to not violate minimum altitudes on approach plates. I found these two examples in about 2 minutes. There are hundreds more. That is why I was taught on day one of approach lesson 30 years ago to use the higher of the two. Over the years at two centers, both of which provided approach service to around a hundred airports in mostly mountainous terrain, I have taught the same. My colleagues, our training department and the pilots in my area are unanimous in their agreement.

  13. #33
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Dude, the .65 says you can assign them an alititude to maintain until established on a published segment of the approach. If I assign him 4000, then he stays at 4000 until he hits he part of the approach where he would be descending through 4000. So long as it at or above the MVA/MIA/MSA/MEA until established it’s legal. Now, is it smart to do that in mountainous terrain? That’s a different story. But it’s also not smart to fly 100’ below a Bravo shelf, but it’s still legal.

  14. #34
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    I want to add that it doesnt really matter how long some of you have been doing this, it doesnt make any difference as far as who is wrong or right. I know a 25yr lvl 11 CPC that has only ever issued the MSA altitude on the approach plate when issuing an approach clearance because "thats how she's always done it and she's been doing this for 25 years and hasn't ever had an issue". Doesnt matter what the MIA or crossing alt for the IAF is.

  15. #35
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    Re: Starting IFR Approach Below the Crossing Altitude for IAF

    Vector aircraft to intercept no lower than minimum intercept altitude depicted on approach chart.

    No of course you would have to take into consideration the mva. So basically whichever is higher.

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